Let's Salute the ESRAG Volunteers at RICON 2023

ESRAG Chair Pat Armstrong (second from right) with some of ESRAG’s fabulous volunteers in the House of Friendship

By all accounts, the Rotary International Convention (RICON 2023) in Melbourne, Australia was a wonderful success. Regrettably, I came down with Covid two days before the Convention began and so was only able to attend the activities for two days. But they were two wonderful days, during which I experienced the enthusiasm and commitment of all the ESRAG volunteers at the Convention. The ESRAG booth in the House of Friendship was very popular, well-supported by other nearby environmental booths: Colin Scobie’s amazing Oyster Reef Restoration Project; Clari Nolet’s inspiring Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Program; and John and Liz McCaskill’s We’re for Bees and Other Pollinators, which created a great buzz.

I also missed the wonderful collection of events and tours conducted by the ESRAG Oceania team, led by Ted Waghorne. You can read about some of these events and tours in other articles:

  • The Environmental Action Summit held at the Melbourne Town Hall,
  • A Green Line tour to see ecological projects along the Yarra River,
  • A visit to the Royal Melbourne Botanic Gardens,
  • A walking tour along the Yarra River to marvel at a colony of Grey Headed Flying Foxes,
  • A visit to the Donations in Kind warehouse in Footscray, and
  • A day trip to explore an off-the-grid farm near Daylesford and the Hepburn Springs wind turbines.
  • On the social side, there was a packed out ESRAG BYO lunch gathering and an ESRAG dinner at the Red Emperor Restaurant in Southgate, Melbourne.

All these tours and events could not have happened without the efforts of our ESRAG Oceania team, who spent over six months in the detailed planning. The efforts were well-appreciated by all the visitors to the booth and those people who attended the tours and events. Not only did they help raise awareness of ESRAG, but they helped forge new friendships and led to many people joining ESRAG.

In addition to the booth, the events and tours, ESRAG was well represented in three well-attended breakout sessions: Adopt a River (ESRAG and UNEP) by Salvador Rico; Stop Plastic Pollution – Of Mothers, Children, Plastic and Waste by Karen Kendrick-Hands, Ann Marie Kimball, and Vic Grosjean; and A Plant-Rich Diet: Delicious Climate Action by Ambaree Majumder. Thank you to those three presenters.

As a bonus, at the Environmental Action Summit, the amazing Vic Grosjean launched the Green Events Handbook. Download your copy at Handbook. Special thanks to Karen Kendrick Hands and Kris Cameron, who edited the Handbook, and to Jennifer Weitzman for the design.

I would like to give my grateful thanks to the following people from the ESRAG Oceania planning team for all their efforts over this time: Ted Waghorne, Fabienne Nichola, Rosemary Waghorne, Barb Sheahan, Rob Anderson, Faye Kirkwood, Leslie McCarthy, Ian Dempsey, Thelma Raman, Peter Berg, Pam Dittmar and Elaine Mead. Of course, there was a band of over 20 loyal ESRAG volunteers who looked after the booth during the five days of the Convention. Thank you all.

For promotion of all the ESRAG activities at RICON, may I thank our ESRAG volunteers from afar: Laurie Zuckerman, Ariel Miller and Mike Terrelonge.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge the three years of hard work by the sustainability expert team who supported the Host Organizing Committee for the Convention: Vic Grosjean, Deniz Vural, Barb Sheehan, Fabienne Nichola and Ted Waghorne. To learn more about the ESRAG activities at RICON, go this site: RICON 2023.
We salute you all. Or as we say in Australia, “Cheers mates, thanks heaps”!