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Speaking for the environment

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Hamburg convention puts environmental projects on display as Rotarians focus on cleaning up plastic waste, protecting our vital resources

By and

Few issues have the global, far-reaching consequences of environmental protection. From addressing climate change that threatens entire food systems to fighting pollution that clogs our air and water, protecting our environment is a daunting task.

Rotarians are well-suited for the challenge. Rotary members in Germany and throughout Europe have been shaping the conversation about environmental protection. They use their connections to find creative solutions and take action to safeguard our vital resources. The 2019 Rotary International Convention is putting several of these efforts on display, as members from around the world share successful projects and get ideas for new ones.

Dutch Rotarians have been tackling the vexing problem of plastic waste. The End Plastic Soup project started with a cleanup in the canals of Amsterdam and has expanded to collecting and recycling plastics and raising awareness of plastic waste in the Netherlands and nearby countries. The project sponsors are sharing their successes in the House of Friendship, with a goal of creating a global movement to end plastic pollution.

  • 8.30

    Billion metric tons of plastic produced worldwide in 2015

  • 8.00

    Million metric tons of plastic that ends up in oceans yearly

  • 80.00

    Percent of wild plants pollinated by wild bees

Anyone can help bees — with a bit of manual skill, some material from the hardware store, and a balcony or garden, you can create a proper home for the bees to rest their wings.

Member of the Rotaract Club of Hamburg-Altona

Another effort that’s creating a buzz is Bee Alive. German Rotaract clubs and their sponsoring Rotary clubs have been working to educate people about the importance of bees to our environment. The club members are also taking steps to stem the bees’ decline, including by building wooden “bee hotels” where wild bees can safely make their nests and lay eggs. Bee populations have been declining because of the widespread use of toxic pesticides, the practice of growing a single crop in given area, and climate change. But bees play a vital role in the ecosystem. According to Greenpeace, they pollinate more than 80 percent of agricultural and wild plants. A third of the world’s food production depends on bees.

“As pollinators, bees are our important partners and helpers,” says Julian Müller, a member of the Rotaract Club of Hamburg-Altona. “But they are losing their habitat. Anyone can help bees — with a bit of manual skill, some material from the hardware store, and a balcony or garden, you can create a proper home for the bees to rest their wings.”

Related events:

  • Visit the End Plastic Soup booth in the House of Friendship.
  • End Plastic Soup will join RI Treasurer Peter Iblher, the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group, and members of Rotary and Rotaract to remove plastic from the Binnenalster lakefront on Saturday, 1 June, 17:00 to 18:00.
  • Ludovic Grosjean, a Rotaractor and founder of a company that’s developing technology to monitor pollution and remove it from waterways, will be speaking at the breakout session, Meet Rotary’s People of Action: Young Innovators, on Monday, 3 June, 14:30-15:30, Hall A1, Room A102.