Green Minute: Rotary’s Focus on Environmental Sustainability

By: Patrick Hanrahan, ACRC Member

In the spirit of October’s Green Minute, we turn our attention to Rotary’s commitment to protecting the environment. With a vision to foster harmony between people and the natural environment, empower communities, and combat climate change, Rotary has embraced the challenge of environmental sustainability. In this article, we’ll explore how Rotary’s dedication to protecting the environment is making a positive impact on local economies and communities.

Rotary’s Areas of Focus: Protecting the Environment

Rotary International’s projects are not only about community development but also about promoting environmental sustainability. Here’s how Rotary is making a difference:

  1. Fostering Harmony with Nature: Rotary believes in striking a harmonious balance between human activities and the environment. This includes taking steps to ensure that the projects and initiatives undertaken by Rotary do not harm the natural world.
  2. Empowering Communities: Rotary empowers local communities to find solutions that work best for them. This approach allows communities to take ownership of their initiatives and ensure they are environmentally friendly.
  3. Spurring Innovation: Rotary’s commitment to mitigating climate change and reducing environmental degradation goes hand in hand with fostering innovation. By seeking new ways to address environmental challenges, Rotary is at the forefront of the fight against climate change.

Growing Local Economies Through Environmental Sustainability

Protecting the environment is not just about saving trees and wildlife. It has far-reaching impacts on local economies and community development. Here’s how:

  • Thrifting is a Capitol Idea
    • The ReStore: In Austin, the ReStore stands as a prime example of environmental sustainability in action. This discount home improvement store and donation center diverts valuable, reusable items from landfills, promoting the principles of “reduce, reuse, and recycle”. Additionally, the ReStore supports Austin Habitat for Humanity’s affordable housing programs. You can get involved by shopping online or in-store, donating items or volunteering to support the cause. Visit the Austin Habitat for Humanity ReStore here
  • Produce with a Purpose
    • New Leaf Agriculture: The Multicultural Refugee Coalition (MRC) started as a volunteer community center but has since evolved into a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization employing refugees, immigrants, and asylees in fair-wage, dignified work through two social enterprises: a textile manufacturing studio and an organic farm. These enterprises combine the traditional skills of sewing and farming that refugees bring with the growing market for local textile and food production.New Leaf Agriculture: Located in Elgin, TX, this 20-acre organic farm and community garden connects refugees to sustainable farming opportunities, further promoting environmental sustainability and community integration
    • Learn more about MRC and New Leaf Agriculture
  • Styrofoam Project
    • The Rotary Club of Austin-Southwest is taking a hands-on approach to environmental sustainability by collecting, cleaning, and drying styrofoam for recycling. They then deliver this material to the City of Austin’s Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center on behalf of the community.
    • The project kicked off on October 7th, and Rotarians, their families, friends, and neighbors are encouraged to join two events on November 4th and December 2nd, with two shifts each day.
    Get involved with the Styrofoam Project

Rotary’s commitment to protecting the environment is a testament to its dedication to fostering harmony between people and the natural environment. By empowering communities, supporting innovative solutions, and promoting environmental sustainability, Rotary is not only contributing to a greener planet but also strengthening local economies and communities. It’s a reminder that we all have a role to play in protecting the environment and building a sustainable future for all.