Category Archives: Going Green Fellowship Group

Rotary Council on Legislation Vote Today. Unfortunately PE 16-98 was voted down – see “Update 4/14” below

–submitted by Paul Riehemann


The RI Board released a statement opposition two days ago to our District’s Proposed Enactment 16-98.

We have modified our proposal based on their concerns – details here: ESRAG Open Letter to 2016 Council on Legislation Delegates.

We will keep you posted.

In Service,
Paul Riehemann and Karen Kendrick-Hands, Co-Chairs
Going Green Fellowship Group

Update 4/13, 6:15am from Dean Dickinson, District 6250 CoL Delegate:
I have been advised that with the amendment removing the language from the by-laws that the board will not come to the floor with an opposing statement.

Update 4/13, 2:30pm from Dean:
The Council adjourned for the day before it took up PE 16-98 and will resume at 8:00am tomorrow.  Great comments, keep them coming!!

Update 4/14, 2:45pm from Paul:
Dean just emailed.  He introduced the amended enactment.  Immediately an amendment came to bring back Article 25 to the bylaws and was voted down.  [we don’t understand why this amendment was made, this reversed the change we made Monday based on the RI Board’s Statement in Opposition.]  Immediately a motion came to postpone action on amended Enactment 16-98…this was voted favorable… our efforts came to an end.  [there was NO discussion – disappointing; we know many CoL Delegates wanted to make statements in support.]

Thank you Dean for representing this proposal.  You truly put your heart into it, and we appreciate that.

All Is Not Lost / What’s Next

ESRAG and all Rotarians can of course share information and generate dialogue on issues.  We suggest we all act “as if” PE 16-98 passed.  And, although we really wish it had passed because of the strong statement it would have made, the RI Board’s Statement in Opposition included:

“This legislation is not necessary to allow clubs to take this action. There is no current reason or restriction against clubs supporting environmental concerns. In fact, the Rotary Code of Policies Article 8.040.5. encourages clubs to consider environmental projects as part of their community service.”

Please take the time to read all of the smart and impassioned comments on this blog post.  In just the first 14 hours there were 44 supportive comments from Rotarians.

Rotary.  Proactive.

In the comments, Bruce Key from the Rotary Club of Belvoir-Wodonga in Australia made a critical point (paraphrased below) – being PROACTIVE needs to shape Rotary going forward:

There is no greater issue than climate change.  It is largely pointless for Rotary to be providing support for the victims of weather-related disasters, when such disasters worldwide have increased by 300% since 1980 (see chart), without Rotary also attacking the major cause – climate change.

Weather Related Chart

Stated another way –

Who wants to bale water out of the boat when there is a hole in the boat letting water in faster than we can bale?

Aren’t we smarter than this?

We will keep going – ESRAG’s purpose is too important.

ESRAG Purpose

Please keep adding your comments to this blog post!  Thanks.

P.S. – Dean shared later on that three Resolutions dealing with the environment came to the floor, were discussed and were voted down roughly 40-60.


We are not defined by what happens to us,
we are defined by our reaction and forward progress.

We Stand on the Shoulders of Giants


In 1990, under the leadership of then President Paulo V.C. Costa, RI launched ‘Preserve Planet Earth.’  Its purpose was to encourage 1,000 Rotary clubs to organize 1,000 environmental-awareness events that would provide 1,000 solutions to existing ecological concerns affecting their communities.

The Sustainability Trust (United Kingdom) has been working on environmental issues within Rotary for over eight years.  Kudos to them for their successes and many thanks to Peter Sephton and Peter Moralee for partnering with ESRAG.

ESRAG Update

Twenty-five years after “Preserve Planet Earth’…the ESRAG team (15 Executive Officers from 7 countries) submitted ESRAG’s Application for Recognition in August.  RAG applications require at least 25 prospective members from 5 countries.  We are happy to report that the ESRAG application included 600 prospective members from 55 countries and that close to 100 additional prospective members have joined since August!

    ESRAG’s purpose:  Proactively assist Rotarians in planning, implementing and evaluating service projects, building awareness, and inspiring action  toward environmental sustainability.

The Rotary International Board of Directors is considering our application at their meeting this week and we are anticipating good news on October 23 when we learn the Board’s decision.

Party!  (er… we mean fellowship) will be Wednesday, October 28, after work on the west side – stay tuned where & time.

RI Convention – Seoul, South Korea:  ESRAG Breakout Session?
We hope you are planning on attending the 2016 RI Convention in Seoul South Korea and are happy to report that the Co-chair of the Seoul Convention invited ESRAG to apply to present at a breakout session.  An ESRAG Team has submitted our proposal.  We’ll learn in November if our proposal was accepted.

Let’s Grow!
“RAG Membership is open to Rotarians, their family members as well as participants and alumni of all Rotary and Foundation programs.”  (includes Rotaractors of course)  The more members, the more ‘horsepower’ to make a difference.  By Saturday, October 31, please work to have two or more people join ESRAG HERE – takes less than 1 minute.  When everyone does, we’ll have over 2,000 members…


  • Mary Beth Growney Selene (USA), 2013-2015 RI Board of Directors – wisdom, drive and sharing.
  • Christopher Puttock (USA) for volunteering to be ESRAG Executive Director – buckle in Chris!
  • Gordon Crann (Canada) and the District 7070 Environment Committee for joining forces toward our common goal.

In service,
Paul and Karen
Going Green Co-chairs

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Going Green Update

–submitted by Paul Riehemann

Going Green District Logo

The Good
We are happy to report that the Rotary International Constitution and Bylaws (C & B) Committee approved our Proposed Enactment after we amended it according to their suggestions.  RI legal staff has assured us it is unlikely that the RI Board would change any of the C & B’s recommendations at this point and it will be forwarded to the RI Council on Legislation in April 2016 for discussion and a vote.  Amended document HERE.

TRICON was terrific!  30 more Rotarians, many from Districts 6220 and 6270, signed on to Going Green (see new logo above).  Also, several Rotarians from The Sustainability Trust have signed on so now it’s an international fellowship group!

ESRAG header - 1

Paul will be representing the Going Green Fellowship at the Rotary International Convention in Sao Paulo, Brazil, this month, in support of the formation of a proposed Environmental Sustainability Rotarian Action Group.  His presence there is also important because it is the last RI Convention before the April 2016 Council on Legislation vote.  Job #1 will be sharing our Proposed Enactment and working to gain support.

The journey toward creating the Environmental Sustainability Rotarian Action Group (ESRAG) has begun.  What is a Rotarian Action Group?

Rotarian Action Groups help Rotary clubs and districts plan and carry out community development and humanitarian service projects in their area of expertise.

A main purpose of ESRAG:

Building awareness and generating action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate disruption.

Karen has been working with RI staff and met with them earlier this month in Evanston, Illinois.  Many thanks to member Jim Walsh with Insty-Prints for creating this smokin’ 32″ x 67″ display banner for Sao Paulo  for a fraction of the regular cost.  And, a ESRAG.ORG webpage is being created!  Will be ready next week.  Purpose:

  • share information on the GG initiative and Proposed Enactment
  • provide a way for Rotarians to sign up for ESRAG online – even with their phones!

The Bad

[We really wish there were not so many strong signals that developed countries need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions yesterday.]

It’s official: 2014 was the hottest year in recorded history, Washington Post, January 16, 2015

The Ugly

Climate Change: March Temperatures Break Records; 2015 Hottest Year  To Date, International Business Times, April 18, 2015

Indians Urged to Stay Indoors as Sweltering Heat Kills More Than 1,300, New York Times, May 27, 2015

“Temperatures surpassed 116 degrees in some places in recent days, and were higher than normal even in coastal districts that are typically cooled by easterly winds.”

in service,
Paul and Karen
Co-chairs Going Green Fellowship Group

Our Proposed Enactment – “…subject to two or more inconsistent meanings” ??

–submitted by Paul Riehemann and Karen Kendrick-Hands

Going Green Logo

We received a reply from Rotary International on the Going Green Fellowship Group’s (GGFG) Proposed Enactment which was endorsed by the District.  It’s not good.

The Proposed Enactment asks that Clubs and RI be able to support the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate the global warming humanitarian crisis.


Letter to the District from RI’s Constitution and Bylaws [C&B] Committee –

2016 Council on Legislation: File 163-E.  Excerpts:

The Committee has tentatively determined that file 163-E, proposed by the Rotary Club of Madison, is duly proposed, but defective under RI Bylaws section 7.037.2:

(a) it is subject to two or more inconsistent meanings

If the RI Board agrees with the Committee’s determination as to the status of your proposed legislation, it will not be transmitted to the 2016 Council for consideration. Even if it is transmitted to the Council, a member of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee may comment at the Council that the proposed legislation has been determined to be defective.

In their review of the legislation, the Committee made the following comments:

During its review of file 163, the Committee believed that this proposed
change would be inconsistent with the constitutional documents, as it could be
considered political in nature and would be in conflict with article 13, sections
1 and 3 of the Standard Rotary Club Constitution.

You may wish to be aware that the deadline to submit amendments to proposed legislation is 31 March 2015. Please respond with any amendments to your legislation as soon as possible.


District 6250 Reply –

With the support of many District and Club leaders, District Governor Dave Warren forwarded this REPLY.  Excerpts:

  • “It appears that the Constitution and Bylaws [C&B] Committee’s declaration of File 163-E-D to be defective was in error and contrary to Rotary International’s governance procedures.”
  • “The C&B Committee has furnished no evidence or basis for the proposal’s susceptibility to two or more inconsistent meanings.  That finding, we believe, is incorrect.
  • “To bring its decision into compliance with RI’s governance procedures and to render an action that is “Fair to All Concerned”, Rotary District 6250 urges the C&B Committee to reconsider and alter its “tentative” action on File 163-E-D to advance the District 6250’s proposal for consideration at the 2016 Council on Legislation.”
  • “District 6250’s Going Green Fellowship Group proceeded precisely as then President Elect Gary Huang advised when he spoke at the Rotary Club of Madison, saying that initiatives in Rotary “must begin with the club.”  We are deeply disappointed that the C&B Committee is considering keeping our duly proposed and endorsed enactment from reaching the 2016 Council on Legislation for their consideration.”


RI Response –

The Committee will review and discuss your letter at their April 28-29 meeting. Based on the results of that discussion, the Committee would be able to extend the deadline for amendments, to allow your district time to address any concerns.


We’re confident that the C&B Committee and Rotary will follow the Four-Way Test here.  We are not going to make any amendments at this time since we don’t have any feedback on the concerns raised.


The Proposed Enactment asks for an exception to Rotary’s non-political stance to fully empower RI and Clubs to support the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate the global warming humanitarian crisis (GWHC).  Some believe that the GWHC is not political.  Under these dictionary definitions of “political” we believe action on the GWHC is political, as is Rotary’s successful campaign to assist in the eradication of polio.


  1. relating to the government, the state or the public affairs
  2. of or relating to citizens
  3. having a definite policy

Additionally, some solutions will require legislation – see the Group’s Open Letter.

We’re heartened by the support of so many in District 6250 and our Club and will keep you posted.

2015 Rotary International Convention – Canary in a Coal Mine?

–submitted by Paul Riehemann

Going Green Logo


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.”


Vote Results a ‘Go’ and a Model to Initiate Dialogue

Going Green Logo.jpg

We are pleased to share that District 6250 voted to endorse Enactment “A”: to mitigate global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  You can read the endorsed proposed enactment for the 2016 Council on Legislation here.  Many thanks to all that participated in this process.  As District Governor Dave Warren said in his email announcing the results, “This exercise in Rotary Governance has once again confirmed that everything that happens in Rotary is not only initiated, but also decided by our clubs.”

A Model for Dialogue

The purpose of this project is to generate dialogue within Rotary on the global warming humanitarian crisis.  Why?  To share information and gain support for action.  From our Open Letter on September 29, 2014:

Abraham Lincoln.jpg

Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.
–Abraham Lincoln


Here’s the model we’ve used; we hope others will consider using it in their organizations and/or local government:

  1. Create a group within your organization that wants to work to mitigate the effects of global warming.
  2. Learn how to propose that your national/international organization support reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Propose a change to your organization’s governing documents?
  3. Make a formal proposal – be bold.
  4. Through sharing of information and dialogue, have your local group approve your proposal (in Rotary we needed approval from District Clubs) and then share it with your entire organization.
  5. Work to have it passed by your entire organization by sharing information and dialoguing. –  this is what it’s all about!

Next Steps

We are working to share information on the Proposed Enactment throughout Rotary so it is approved at the 2016 Council on Legislation.  This will include discussions and finding partners to help create a Climate Change Rotarian Action Group.

In service,
Paul Riehemann and Karen Kendrick-Hands, Co-chairs

P.S. – note over 10 members from District Clubs have signed on to Going Green (GG).  The logo above is a District logo.  If you’d like to join, please email us at bobblock1014 at  Meetings are held the first Wednesday each month after our Rotary meeting (Inn on the Park, on the Capitol Square in Madison).  Rotary meetings are noon-1:25 and GG is 1:30-2:15.  Attend meetings if you can; by joining you’ll receive our emails and be kept in the loop on progress.