Posted on Dec 02, 2019

EcoEducation: My Climate Story Workshop

30 years is a long time right?  It's so long that it is hard to think urgently about affecting something that might come to fruition in three decades.  Bethany Esse, Climate Reality Leader and EcoClub Member shared with us a picture of herself and her sisters that had been taken when they were very little.  Then she shared vivid descriptions of the day the picture was taken and why she remembers it so clearly.   It was easy for all of us in the room to transport ourselves back to when we were the ages depicted in the photograph.  We understood in an instant on a gut emotional level how a few decades can pass in the blink of on eye. 
Any message that you want to get across when talking with others about your passion for the environment and saving our planet will be better received on an emotional level if you can connect it to a personal story.  Measurement is important, but we relate to stories better than to numbers by themselves.   
Bethany gave us a few story telling techniques to try to incorporate when crafting our own climate story including: suspense, imagery, metaphors, including dialog, and being vulnerable.  The first step is understand the message that you want your audience to leave with.  Then consider your own personal history, stories within your community, or even stories from the news that give that same message.  Last, make the connection between the story and climate change and the environment. 
This was a fun meeting (a testament to the engagement factor of stories!)  How about this for a story: Steve Solbrack opened the meeting by bringing us back into the Rotary archives to the year 1993.  This is when a group in Brazil started the first ecoclub with goals including service and an environmental focus.  The effort didn't capture the hearts and minds of the greater Rotary organization and sustainability was an after thought until 2017 when it was identified as one of the four primary goals of Rotary.  It is now being considered as an area of focus for the future.  Kind of startling that the need was recognized almost 30 years ago, but did not have traction.  Connect that to Bethany's Climate Story!  So what's your climate story?  Send it to Lexa Hoffner and let her know if we can include it on our social media sites.   
We also were joined by the 5950 District Governor, Russ Michaletz.  Russ shared with us how district funds are allocated.  He noted that District 5950 has a specific goal to focus on value to the membership.  This focus led to a decision to encourage the growth of theme clubs that are not tied to geography. Our EcoClub is an example of a theme club and we are fortunate to be able to tackle a signature service project with the help of District funds.  Read more about this project and how you can contribute.