Coming to the rescue of bees

Huge bee sculpture

Dieter Erhard sculpted a huge bee to draw attention to the plight of bees and the BeeAlive project.

By Gundula Miethke

Every year Rotaract clubs throughout Germany look for a common initiative to participate in on a country-wide basis to demonstrate their commitment to social action. This effort includes hands-on activities, lectures, and public awareness around a single issue. This year, that issue centered on an environmental theme, protecting wild bees.

A Swiss documentary “More than Honey” left a lasting impression on one Rotaractor, who convinced other Rotaract and Rotary members about the menacing problem that these little superheroes find themselves in, one that impacts us as humans as well. The hard-working wild bees are responsible for pollinating more than 75 percent of our crops and wild plants. If they die out, we cannot survive either. Continue reading

What’s all the buzz about bees?

German Rotaractors build hotels for wild bees as part of the BeeAlive project.

By Henrik Thiele, a member of the Rotaract Club of Paderborn, Germany, and president of the Rotaract Germany Committee 

Recently, Rotaract clubs throughout Germany were looking for a signature project and decided to concentrate on the environment. After watching a Swiss documentary on bees, “More than honey,” one Rotaractor became passionate about focusing our attention on protecting these little superheroes. Did you know, for instance, that wild bees are responsible for pollinating more than 80 percent of our crops and wild plants? We can’t survive without them. Continue reading

Climate change and The Four-Way Test

Rick Olson and children

Rick Olson visits with children in Tanzania.

By Rick Olson, Rotary Club of Prior Lake, Minnesota, USA

Climate change is an impersonal, ambiguous term, which denotes negative impact on people around the world. But on a recent trip to Tanzania in Africa I met some of the innocents who will be most affected by the increased droughts caused by carbon dioxide emissions. Continue reading

Rotary EcoClub offers diversity, variety

By Steve Solbrack –District 5950 New Club Development Chair and a member of the Twin Cities Rotary EcoClub, Minnesota, USA

We chartered our new Rotary club in February 2019 with 25 members and a focus on the environment. The EcoClub is a non-traditional format designed to attract a segment of the population not currently served by traditional clubs. We began with 48 percent of our members as women, 44 percent under the age of 40, and an average age of 42. In North America, those demographics are unheard of in a service organization of any kind. Continue reading

A Rotary Peace Fellow’s journey to Antarctica

Women scientists on Antarctica

Emilse Anabella Palacios joined other women scientists as part of the Homeward Bound expedition to Antarctica.

By Emilse Anabella Palacios, Rotary Peace Fellow 2009-11

My relationship with Rotary began as a Rotary Youth Exchange student and member of a Group Study Exchange. Later as a Rotary Peace Fellow at Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009-11, I began a process of learning about leadership that will continue throughout my life.

On the last day of 2018, I set sail for Antarctica with 89 other women scientists from 26 countries as part of Homeward Bound, an initiative that aims to heighten the influence and impact of women in making decisions that shape our planet. On board the former research vessel MV Ushuaia, we represented the largest female expedition ever to that continent. Continue reading

Rotary-supported story contest gives Tacoma youth a voice

The first-ever Tacoma Ocean Fest Youth Story Contest invited youth to write about the ocean and what it means to them.

By Rosemary Ponnekanti

At first, Hope was reluctant. She was on the verge of flunking school through poor attendance. But when Kathleen Figetakis, literacy chair at Tacoma Sunrise Rotary, Washington, USA, asked the Tacoma senior for one little favor – to put up posters in her school for the Tacoma Ocean Fest Youth Story Contest – Hope agreed. Six months later, she had not only won second prize in the contest, but she also graduated from high school – and helped the inaugural contest to be a wave of success. Continue reading

Together we transform, one mangrove at a time

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By Hope A. Sealey, president, Rotary Club of East Nassau, Nassau, Bahamas. Photos by Alyce Henson, Rotary International.

Storm damage and coastline erosion are threatening many shores around the world, especially islands in the Caribbean. On top of these concerns, climate challenges are vastly affecting the natural ecosystems of these islands. And the island of New Providence, Bahamas, is no exception.

Bonefish Pond National Park, which was established in 2002, has one of the last remaining mangrove systems on New Providence island. During the time of its establishment, part of the park was a dumping ground but the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) – a non-profit organization that manages the country’s national parks – has been working ever since to clean up the park and turn it into a thriving mangrove area.

Some people might ask, why mangrove trees? Continue reading

Rotary alum turns trash into treasure

Binish Desai’s company makes bricks from industrial waste otherwise destined for the landfill.

By Binish Desai, a member of the Rotary Club of Bulsar, India, and a former Rotary Youth Exchange student 

I started my journey in Rotary as a Youth Exchange Student in 2009-10, hosted by the Rotary Club of Waukegan, Illinois, USA. I’m now a member of the Rotary Club of Bulsar, India, and Rotary helps me live out my dream, a dream I have had since age 11 – giving back to my community in service.

In 2005, I created my first brick using industrial paper waste and chewing gum. Similar bricks of recycled materials would go on to make thousands of stand-alone toilets for rural communities by 2015. Continue reading

Why plant trees when you can plant seaweed

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By Parry Monckton, president-elect of the Rotary Club of Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia

In early March, members of my club joined the Operation Crayweed team at Mona Vale Beach to restore the denuded reef on the Sydney shore coastline. We decided to help plant a Crayweed forest as part of our unique response to RI President Ian Riseley’s challenge for Rotary members to plant trees around the world. Underwater trees, you see, are just as important, if not more so, to restoring the health and vitality of the world’s oceans. Continue reading

How small clubs make a big impact – with trees

Rotarians in Tempe plant 124 trees in one day. Photo by Shawna Wolf Photography

By Laura Higgs, chair-elect of the Satellite Club of Camelback Crossroads, 2004-05 Rotary Youth Exchange Student

Our club in Phoenix, Arizona, is a small one. We have about 25 members total, between our morning and evening segments. While cacti typically cover the arid landscape, tree shade in parks is an important aspect of community development in Arizona, and we knew planting one tree per Rotarian was one of RI President Ian Riseley’s goals for the Rotary year. Continue reading