Guest blog by Kris Cameron, a member of ESRAG's Plant Rich Diet Task Force, and Environmental Sustainability Chair for Wenatchee Confluence Rotary.
Rotary International has adopted environmental sustainability as an organizational focus. As a 110 year-old organization with 1.4 million members in over 200 countries, it is facing increasing challenges to its humanitarian efforts around the world due to environmental degradation.
Rotarians refer to themselves as “people of action” because they don’t just talk about problems, they act to solve them. When it comes to the environment for example, you may have recycled glass at Chelan Rotary’s Glass Rescue Project, which recovers and repurposes glass rather than sending it to a landfill. You may have fished in East Wenatchee Rotary’s Annual Pike Minnow Derby, a project to help keep Columbia River fish populations in balance.
Rotary clubs throughout North Central Washington and British Columbia are currently working with community partners to install a network of native pollinator-friendly gardens to help these vital pollinators recover from major population losses. And six local Rotary clubs - Chelan, Cashmere, East Wenatchee, Wenatchee, Wenatchee Confluence, and Wenatchee Sunrise - are proud sponsors of this year’s Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center’s Environmental Film and Speaker Series.
The international Rotary Action Group for Environmental Sustainability (ESRAG) has officially partnered with Project Drawdown, an organization that focuses on solutions to climate change. It has identified reduction of food waste and adopting plant-rich diets as the two most immediate and effective means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In her most recent blog for Sustainability NCW, board member Dr. Joan Qazi explained the importance of reducing food waste and the local efforts of Winton Manufacturing to address this problem. ESRAG also has gleaning and food waste diversion programs that we hope to explore locally as well.
But how does a plant-rich diet impact the environment? Although it is often overlooked in discussions about climate, industrial agriculture, particularly factory farming of animals, contributes more to global warming than transportation. Simply by reducing the amount of animal products we consume - meat/dairy/eggs/fish - we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, terrestrial and marine biodiversity loss, soil degradation, and air and water pollution. Simply by making changes to what we put on our plates, we can even address the growing problems of antibiotic resistance, future pandemics, and chronic illnesses.
Please join local Rotarians and others via livestream or in-person for the local kickoff of the ESRAG 15 Day Plant-Rich Diet Challenge at the Museum on October 13th at 7:00 pm. The co-creators of The Challenge will explain the powerful impact our food choices can have on our personal and planetary health, and explain how The Challenge itself works. The evening will include a plant-based tasting bar, giveaways, and a local panel of experts that will include Sustainable NCW’s own Dr. Qazi.
To register for The Challenge kickoff event, click on the events tab at wenatcheevalleymuseum.org.