For many of us, 2021 can’t come soon enough. Growing Climate Solutions is also excited for the new year. We have ambitious programs planned for the winter and are hopeful that by late spring or summer we’ll be able to safely convene our network of partners and stakeholders for in-person events and celebrations of positive climate actions.

What’s Coming in 2021

After the holiday celebrations, mark your calendars for February 24th, March 24th, and April 21, as Growing Climate Solutions introduces The SWFL Climate Compass series, a 3-part speaker series that will address climate through the lens of bi-partisan collaboration, military security, and real estate values.  Our first speaker, Former South Carolina Congressman, and CEO of RepubliEN Bob Inglis will chart the bi-partisan path forward on climate, looking at the role of the EcoRight in advancing climate policy solutions. Next, retired (Navy) Rear Admiral Jonathan White, an oceanographer and President/CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership in Washington, DC will talk about the Navy’s assessment of climate change and ocean issues on US national security, including military readiness, great power competition, the Arctic, and the maritime economy. The April speaker, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business Professor Benjamin Keys will explain his latest research on housing values along Florida’s coastline and how this asset accumulation should be addressed to foster greater resilience. The SWFL Climate Compass series aims to bring diverse perspectives on climate and spur thoughtful dialogue among our stakeholders.

Concurrently, Growing Climate Solutions continues to work alongside FGCU’s Water School to help realize the SWFL Regional Resilience Compact.  Under the leadership of Professor Mike Savarese, the Compact’s Memorandum of Understanding was approved by Charlotte County, and the cities of Punta Gorda, Sanibel, Estero, Naples, Marco Island, and Everglades City in late 2020.  The region’s remaining jurisdictions will consider the Compact’s MOU in early 2021, and Growing Climate Solutions stands ready to drive awareness of the initiative and explain the benefits to be gained by formalizing inter-jurisdictional collaboration on climate resilience.  These benefits include the development of more data and scientific analysis of regional climate impacts, access to training for staff and elected leaders, coordination of policy and infrastructure investments, and increased competitiveness of the region for state and federal funding.  As Professor Savarese presents the Compact to elected leaders in the remaining jurisdictions, we hope that our network of partners can take a moment to express support for the initiative by emailing your councilmembers, or attending and speaking up at the public meetings. Growing Climate Solutions will try to email everyone the council meeting dates as they are established.

Asking for your Input

Growing Climate Solutions aspires to serve as a clearinghouse of information on regional climate issues, sustainability advances, and resiliency efforts.  In October and November, a one-page electronic flyer was sent out highlighting educational offerings related to climate and regional environmental matters. Let us know if you enjoy these offerings, and whether we should continue curating these suggestions.  Likewise, the events page of the website is intended to highlight local meetings, presentations, or events hosted by our partners or other trustworthy organizations. Send us information on events that should be posted here.  Finally, Growing Climate Solutions is in growth mode. We want to grow the network of partner organizations in all community sectors – business, faith, civic, not-for-profit, educational — and most importantly, we want our partners to be representative of the region’s diverse demographic.  If you know of a group or business that should be part of our network, please introduce us and let me know so I can extend a welcome. As all our partners know, there is no cost associated with being a supporter, we simply ask our partners and supporters to commit to advancing climate literacy and engaging in sustainable actions.

Growing Climate Solutions was launched in March 2020, at the start of the COVID19 pandemic. We are grateful for the commitment it has received from our community partners, and the engagement of many community members, that in spite of the distractions from the pandemic and the election cycle, have taken time to attend climate presentations, read our newsletter, and helped us grow during this turbulent year.  We are excited for 2021 and look forward to your continued engagement as we elevate the public discourse on climate solutions and advance a holistic and equitable vision of climate resilience.