Rotary Climate Action Team

Rotary’s Legacy, the Challenges of Climate Change & a Call to Action

From the Rotary Climate Action Team (RCAT) – August 2018
Its CO2, it’s us, and it’s urgent!  Rotary can’t be a bystander.  Let’s lead!
Climate change is an unprecedented challenge to humankind.   The more CO2 we pump into the atmosphere, the hotter our planet will permanently get.  It is that simple.  And there is no fixing it later, due to the long life of CO2 in the atmosphere and the enormous heat sink of the oceans.  We must act now to prevent it from getting even hotter, with more disruption to our weather and even higher sea level rise.
Many years ago, an individual Rotary club started the polio eradication effort.  Our Rotary Club is full of men and women of action and we believe there is an opportunity for the Northfield Rotary Club to take a leadership role when it comes to climate change.  If not Rotarians, then who?  If not in Northfield, then where? If not right now, then when? 

Are you in?

Climate Science summary:
1. Burning coal, oil and natural gas, adds carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere
2. Humankind is burning fossil fuels at an increasing rate each year
3. Due to the slowness of the natural carbon cycle, CO2 is increasing in the atmosphere, up 46% since the 1800s, increasing from 280 ppm to 410 ppm today
4. As a powerful, long-lived greenhouse gas, increasing atmospheric CO2 prevents some long wave radiation (heat) from escaping back into space, thus warming the atmosphere.
5. On the current trend line of increasing atmospheric CO2, global air and ocean temperatures are slowly rising, changing the climate as we know it, disrupting normal weather patterns and raising sea levels toward permanent coastal flooding. 
6. Impacts of climate change will impact the world’s poor first and hardest, putting Rotary’s good work in the world at risk!
7. Decreasing atmospheric CO2 is the main solution.  It IS possible, if we take action!     
See other side for actions you can take to make a difference! 
Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something
Rotary actions:
___1. Support our club’s Rotary Climate Action Team’s efforts
___2. Support and help the city’s efforts toward become carbon neutral, via its developing climate
            action plan. This will need Rotarian and business support.
___3. Spread the word on climate action to other clubs
___4. Encourage our district leadership to spread the word on the urgent need for climate action
___5. Encourage Rotary Int’l. to get involved with climate change education and challenges, to protect our  good work in the world, as our past Rotary Int’l. Pres., Ian Riseley, suggested every club do.
Business actions:
___1. Conduct an energy audit of your physical plant, find and implement ways to save energy, money and prevent CO2 emissions. For more details, google “Reducing my business carbon footprint”
___2. Reduce energy use: Lighting, office equipment, heating, cooling, etc.
___3. Reduce fuel use: improve gas mileage of vehicles, use public transit
___4. Fly less frequently: video conference whenever possible (business travel is a BIG CO2 source)
___5. Sustainable procurement: work with suppliers to decrease their carbon footprint in the supply chain
Individual actions:
 ___1. Join Rotary’s new Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group at
___ 2.Become well educated on the issue, based on scientific research:
  • See  & click
  • Read “A Farewell to Ice” by Peter Wadhams (Prof. of Ocean Physics, head of Polar Ocean Physics Group, at Cambridge Univ.  He made annual visits to the poles for 50 years of research and observation and believes action is URGENTLY needed to prevent more warming, ice melting, sea level rising and climate changes).  Read “Merchants of Doubt” by Oreskes.  
  • Subscribe (for free) to the on-line “The Daily Climate” for a brief, daily update on climate science and impacts here and around the world. 
___3. Join Organizations working on reducing CO2 emissions, like a
            non-partisan group. This adds your name & voice to their lobbying & education efforts.
___4. Work to understand and reduce your own “carbon footprint” (your family’s CO2 emissions). 
Google “Reducing carbon footprint” for ideas & methods.
___5. Spread the word
  • Help RCAT get speaking engagements with schools, service clubs, church groups, etc.  Two people in a living room or an auditorium full.   
  • Share your individual commitment to climate change with your family and friends.
Questions about climate change?  Ask a member of the Northfield Rotary Climate Action Team!
Alan Anderson, George Davis, Richard DeBeau, Lee Dilley, Rick Estenson, Bruce Morlan, Richard Schulte, Fred Rogers, Andrei Sivanvich, Larry Vorwerk, Steve Underdahl, Erica Zweifel
To reach us, email