Earth horizon

12 months is a long time and we have made up a lot of lost ground and yet there is still so much to do. Should we continue? Most definitely. For the sake of our future generations we must persevere. Can we do more? We now have an organisation structure in place and with the expanded network and resources we are enabled to do more if so desired. Can we do better? With more Rotarians committed to the vision and striving to achieve the mission of District PPE we can only improve year on year.

By launching the Green Rotary Club District Award we have further increased the awareness of Rotary’s responsibilities towards the environment and sustainability within the District. This initiative gathered momentum as the PPE Committee talked to the DMC, JPM and individual Clubs. A direct approach proved to be far more effective in teasing out the support for the environment which was always strong but just waiting to be aroused. Twelve Clubs were successful in gaining the Green Rotary Club status in the Rotary Year 2013/14. Some started but failed to satisfy all the criteria within the set deadline line for District Award.

The drive to increase the awareness and getting commitment to support Sustainable Seafood was one of the major initiatives of the PPE Committee where we put in a substantial effort and resource.

There were two key elements to this initiative. The first was to increase the awareness through education and gaining commitment from the public via the Sustainable Seafood Ambassador Programme (SSAP) was the second element.

Educating the current and future generation across a wide spectrum on sustainable seafood was considered an essential and important step to make positive improvement on the sustainability of our seafood. Therefore the committee sponsored the Aberdeen Kai Fong Association’s Inter-school Annual Public Speaking Competition stipulating “Sustainable Seafood” as the main theme for the competition. Thereby increased the awareness of two thousand students participating in the competition from over 120 schools in Hong Kong. In early February conducted training season for 65 volunteer ambassadors for the SSAP at VTC’s HK Design Institute with a large contingent from the VTC Environmental Group. For the Rotarians in the District we also conducted a sustainable seafood education and identification session on the 2nd day of the District Conference in February as part of the Rotary Service Day initiative.

The SSAP was only made possible with team work, creativity, perseverance and forbearance.  For the successful completion of the SSAP we are grateful to the eight final year VTC PRMB students who co-organised the event, the volunteers from the Centennial College Rotaract Club, the St. Peter Secondary School Interact Club and students from Wah Yan College, Mr. Stanley Shea from Bloom to act as our Marine Conservation advisor and trainer and last but not the least WWF (HK) for the 2013 Sustainable Seafood Guide. We must also acknowledge the generosity of the two companies which provided their premises to us free of charge to conduct the SSAP.  They are The Link and Hysan Development. Over the two weekends, 26 & 27 April at Kai Tin Shopping Mall, Lam Tin and 16 & 17 May at Hysan Place, Causeway Bay our well trained volunteers reached out to the public and gained their commitment to support sustainable seafood. We had over 800 individuals signed up to pledge their support.

In order to promote the protection of our natural environment on land, particularly the newly recognised Global Geo-park in Hong Kong we sponsored the Asia Pacific Geo-tourism Asia Pacific Conference 2013 held on 30 November in the HK Convention and Exhibition Centre.

In our own small way your District PPE Committee with your support contributed to preserve the planet Earth. The land, sea & air benefited, little it may be, from our effort but it would be significant if we all do a little to help sustainability.

We must try to work harder with other agencies & the government, engaging more Clubs in the District, instil a responsible behaviour in all Rotarians towards the environment and strive to become a Green Rotary District.

We all benefit from the environment, suffer from its abuse and our actions in our life time have a significant impact on future generations. In the coming years we hope to see more action, more awareness and more education.