Rotary International President-elect Ian H.S. Riseley made the case that protecting the environment and curbing climate change are essential to Rotary’s goal of sustainable service.
Riseley, a member of the Rotary Club of Sandringham, Victoria, Australia, unveiled the 2017-18 presidential theme, Rotary: Making a Difference, to incoming district governors at Rotary’s International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA.
Environmental degradation and global climate change are serious threats to everyone, Riseley said. “They are having a disproportionate impact on those who are most vulnerable, those to whom Rotary has the greatest responsibility. Yet environmental issues rarely register on the Rotary agenda,” he said.
Environmental degradation is one of the major threats listed by the UN’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change.
Riseley added, “The time is long past when environmental sustainability can be dismissed as not Rotary’s concern. It is, and must be, everyone’s concern.”
The president-elect challenged every Rotary club to make a difference by planting a tree for each of its members between the start of the Rotary year on 1 July and Earth Day on 22 April 2018. Trees remove carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the air, which slows global warming.
“It is my hope that the result of that effort will be far greater than the environmental benefit that those 1.2 million new trees will bring,” Riseley said. “I believe the greater result will be a Rotary that recognizes our responsibility not only to the people on our planet, but to the planet itself.”
To see the speech in full please click here:https://www.rotary.org/en/2017-18-ri-president-ian-hs-riseley-announces-his-presidential-theme