A collaboration between three Rotaract MDIOs across the globe is raising awareness of Rotary’s newest area of focus – protecting the environment.
By Jack Campbell
RDU Journalism Intern
During the devastating 2021 wildfires that burned across the Mediterranean, three Rotaract Multi District Information Organisations (MDIOs) – Rotaract Oceania, Rotaract Mediterranean and Rotaract Europe – came together to raise awareness for environmental concerns.
The catastrophic effects of the ‘summer of fire’ was the catalyst for the ‘MDIOs Unite for the Environment’ project, a collaboration between the three MDIOs. Over the past year, three online events have been held via Zoom, with the aim of educating and informing audiences on the impacts of climate change and pollution, as well as the importance of environmental sustainability.
The first event, held on August 21, 2021, focused on climate change. The second, held on November 27, 2021, tackled pollution. The third event took place on February 19, 2022, and was centred around the relationship between different cultural values and environmental sustainability.
Each event was broken down into three parts – a scientific approach through the participation of specialists in each field, a highlight of actions carried out in the different MDIOs, and a Rotaract/Rotary panel to discuss the possible actions we can take to contribute to a healthier world.
“During the devastating 2021 wildfires that burned across the Mediterranean, three Rotaract Multi District Information Organisations (MDIOs) – Rotaract Oceania, Rotaract Mediterranean and Rotaract Europe – came together to raise awareness for environmental concerns.”
The events featured a host of guest speakers from around the world with a passion for creating a better world for generations to come. From scientists, engineers, lawyers and students, the diversity of the expert panel has allowed for varying perspectives and ideas aimed at provoking change.
Around 120 people signed up for each event, and President of Rotaract Oceania Becky Giblin said she was pleased with the reception.
“We have had incredibly positive feedback and made valuable connections to continue projects,” Becky said.
The February session also delved into the tragic volcanic eruption in Tonga, which had taken place just one month earlier. Associate Professor of Environmental Health and Co-director of the International Volcano Health Hazard Network, Carol Stewart, was a guest speaker. Rotary’s involvement in helping those affected by the disaster was also highlighted.
“Guest speakers have brought incredible insight to the issues faced around the world and it’s been very interesting to find the similarities even on opposite sides of the world,” Becky said. “Carol gave us incredible insight into the Tonga disaster, and we were able to raise awareness about what was happening here.
“The second session, in partnership with End Plastic Soup, was fascinating. I was a panellist for that event discussing the impacts plastics have on the world and things we can do to lower our dependence on them.
“The event also raised awareness for Rotary New Zealand World Community Service’s fundraiser, with donations used to support those affected by poverty and natural disaster, including those in Tonga.”
The next event, which was scheduled for May, has been put on hold while Rotaract teams provide relief work in Ukraine.
For more information and updates on series four, visit and like www.facebook.com/rotaractoceania