Rotary’s seventh – and newest – area of focus is Protecting the Environment, and District 5495’s new Environmental Committee invites Rotarians looking to make a positive impact on our environment to join the committee and help create district-wide challenges and projects. 
According to Committee Chair Mariel Olson of the Tempe Rio Salado/Camelback Crossroads Club, the committee hopes to have one representative from each club. Meetings will be held on the fourth Wednesday of the month, from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. on Zoom. 
“Our goal is to empower clubs and educate Rotarians and the community as to how we can positively impact the environment,” said Mariel. “We know a lot of clubs are already doing projects that are environmentally driven and want to highlight those along with giving ideas for new projects. We also want to bring clubs together doing joint projects/ challenges and learning more about what we can do as individuals.”
The committee’s first challenge to all clubs in the district: Pick up 2,000 pounds of trash.
Between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15, clubs are encouraged to consider a local community clean-up service project. With your club, choose a location: trails, streets, waterways, neighborhoods. Invite other clubs and non-Rotarians to join. 
Weigh your trash when you are done, send pictures, the total number of participants (Rotarians and non-Rotarians), and how much trash you picked up. Let's work together and make a difference.
Email your questions and results to 
For more information on getting involved with the committee please contact
September’s Focus Environmental Project is End Plastic Soup, a Global Environmental Project for Rotary. Started in 2018 by a Rotary club in Amsterdam, End Plastic Soup has a global initiative already supported by thousands of Rotarians and hundreds of Rotary, Rotaract and Interact Clubs worldwide.
Their goal is to eliminate by 2050 the plastic waste in the oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, forests, parks and streets. Watch to learn more: End Plastic Soup 
Rotary, Rotaract and Interact Clubs worldwide work together to solve and prevent plastic pollution problem.  End Plastic Soup also ties in with Earth Day along with Rotary Day of Service. For more information about End Plastic Soup, visit  
Contact Carrie Hemme, District 5495 Ambassador for End Plastic Soup. Carrie is available to speak (via zoom) at a club or advise of projects ideas. 
Photos: Members of the Rotary Clubs in Lake Havasu City partnered to promote Earth Day in April by conducting an “End Plastic Soup” project and cleaning up the areas surrounding Lake Havasu. In addition to Rotarians, volunteers from the local ASU campus as well as other non-Rotarians joined in the effort. Above: Carrie Hemme and Sally Walker of the Rotary Club of Lake Havasu City.