The environment we live in is critical to the health and well being of all of us.  It provides the air that we breathe, the water that we drink and supports the animals and plants we share on this planet.  Loss of habitat, endangered species, polluted air, reduced water quality and the effects of droughts and bushfires are evident in today’s world.  Our environment is changing partly due to our interaction and is a critical part of our world affecting our well being, and our economy,

The environment sustains all life on Earth and Rotary cannot effectively or sustainably serve humanity without also focussing on supporting the wellbeing of planet Earth.  Adding the Environment as a unique Area of Focus will enhance Rotary’s potential to develop, fund and implement projects to sustain the environment wherein humanity lives.

As citizens throughout the world rally to protect the environment and preserve the planet and all of its species, Rotary needs to have a focus on the Environment as well as its other six Areas of Focus to remain relevant.  By also focussing on the environment this is an opportunity to connect to and embrace a younger membership who are concerned about the environment and help them address significant issues.

When the United Nations (UN) in September 2015 adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals six related to the environment:  Affordable and Clean Energy; Sustainable Cities and Communities; Responsible Consumption and Production; Climate Action; Life Below the Water; and Life on Land.

Now the Rotary Foundation Trustees and Rotary International Board of Directors have both unanimously approved adding a new area of focus: “Supporting the Environment”.

More than $18 million in Foundation global grant funding has been allocated to environment-related projects over the past five years. Creating a distinct area of focus to support the environment will give Rotary members even more ways to bring about positive change in the world and increase our impact.  Supporting the environment becomes Rotary’s seventh area of focus, which are categories of service activities supported by global grants. It joins peacebuilding and conflict prevention; disease prevention and treatment; water, sanitation, and hygiene; maternal and child health; basic education and literacy; and community economic development.

Grant applications for projects will be accepted beginning on 1 July 2021. Gifts and commitments from Rotarians and others will be sought to provide global grant support for the new area of focus.

Environmental Sustainability Rotarian Action Group (ESRAG) assists Rotarians, clubs, districts and multi-districts in planning, implementing and evaluating service projects, building awareness, and inspiring action.  Our aim is to promote and initiate dialogue about environmental sustainability, link projects and ideas and support projects.  We have a number of environmental projects in Australia and New Zealand featured on our website.  

ESRAG can help you set-up an Environmental Committee in your Rotary District or Rotary Club in 2020/21.