Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of reflections on Rotary’s Vision Statement: Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.
By Paddy Rooney, governor of District 7390 (Pennsylvania, USA)
Just recently we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, the first time any human had stood on another world. But as remarkable as that event was what I remember most from that whole period was the earlier flights from the Kennedy Space Center and, above all, that remarkable photograph of Earth taken from the module which was the first time any of us had seen our planet as a whole from a distance. There it was, splendid in its suspension in the midst of the black space which surrounded it, a remarkable view of our world which took your breath away for its beauty and its wonder.
Our Rotary Vision Statement says we see “a world” and that, in itself is true, for “a world” is different from “the world” for who can say whether, in this vast expanse of universe, there are other worlds apart from ours. But what we do know is that, moon landings aside, this is the only world we have for now, the only world on which we live and the only world which we will ever call Earth.
Which means that this world is not only our home but it is also our responsibility. And we Rotarians take this responsibility seriously. When we see our world we see its beauty and its astounding, almost breathtaking, uniqueness.
But we also see that which mars that beauty – the poverty, the hunger, the daily difficulty of living, the wars and conflicts and the disasters, both human and natural, which cause so much suffering. And having seen these things in our world we respond in ways that only Rotarians can. This is not always easy but we have not been deterred in the past and we will not be put off by the future.
Sometimes the problems and the issues in our world seem to be getting larger and more out of our control. But our commitment to our world is such that we will not loose heart but will continue until we have achieved our goals.
For we have made this world of ours some promises. We have promised that we will defeat this insidious disease called polio. We have promised to help communities throughout our world to have clean water or sanitation or economic development to help them in the future. We have promised to help resolve the many conflicts which plague our world and to bring reconciliation.
We have promised to bring hope for the children of our world and for their future. This world is our world and together we see this world and promise that when we are done, this world of ours will be left in just a little bit better shape than when we came into it.
Learn more about Rotary’s vision statement and Action Plan
Read other posts on the vision statement by District Governor Paddy Rooney