2015 Rotary International Convention – Canary in a Coal Mine?

–submitted by Paul Riehemann

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Today more than 13 million inhabitants of São Paulo, Brazil find themselves on the edge of an unprecedented public calamity.  As is usual in calamity situations, the most vulnerable, poorest communities are likely to pay the highest price with their health and their dignity.  More and more scientific studies show the link between deforestation in the north and the reduction of rainfall in the southeast, presenting further evidence of how the effects of climate change are already upon us.

excerpts from: Brazil drought: water rationing alone won’t save Sao Paulo          —The Guardian, Feb. 11, 2015

The drought is interfering in several ways with the Rotary International 2015 Convention which starts on June 6th in São Paulo.  One is dengue fever:

   Drought-Stricken São Paulo Battles Dengue Fever Outbreak
    –Wall Street Journal, March 3, 2015

      The tropical mosquito-borne virus, which often results in high fever, intense
muscle pain and convulsions, has killed at least 17 people in São Paulo state in the first six weeks of 2015. That’s up from just three deaths through mid-February of 2014, according to national health officials. Suspected cases have surged tenfold to 51,849 over the same period.

There were warnings:
Severe Droughts in Amazon linked to Climate Change, says study    CBS NEWS, Jan 2013

Many thanks to Roth Judd and Karen Kendrick-Hands for pointing out this RI Convention/climate change connection.

What to do?

Rotary can be a leader in helping to solve global humanitarian crises being caused by climate change.  Urge your District representative to the 2016 Council on Legislation to support District 6250’s Proposed Enactment (File 163-E-D).  It empowers Rotary to work to mitigate these crises by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


Another Call to Action

 Researchers Link Syrian Conflict to a Drought Made Worse by Climate Change   –New York Times, March 2, 2015

“What began as civil war has since escalated into a multifaceted conflict, with at least 200,000 deaths.

The United Nations estimates that half of the country’s 22 million people have been affected, with more than six million having been internally displaced.”


2 responses to “2015 Rotary International Convention – Canary in a Coal Mine?

  1. What a worthy effort for Rotary!

  2. Paul Riehemann

    Update from The Economist, March 28 –

    “The situation is gravest in the state of São Paulo, where 124,000 people have been diagnosed since January, an eightfold increase on last year. São Paulo has seen 67 confirmed fatalities.”


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