Planning for our SWFL Climate Compass Speaker Series is well underway! The goal of the SWFL Climate Compass Series was to attract folks who typically have not been interested in climate issues by introducing the subject through diverse perspectives germane to local audiences. I’m excited to thank our Leadership Circle and our local media partners, WGCU and Naples Daily News/The News-Press Media Group/LOCALiQ for doing a wonderful job at promoting the series.

At the end of most of Growing Climate Solutions’ climate education presentations, we stress the importance of talking about climate topics with friends, neighbors, and colleagues. This is because your circle of acquaintances typically values your ideas and is willing to explore new ideas and concepts that are introduced by people they trust. When you share your knowledge about the changing climate, and how you are making sustainable choices in your life, you can influence others to follow your example.

But the question remains, how do you engage people that have little to no connection to climate issues in a positive dialogue on this topic? This is where our local media is playing a pivotal role! WGCU and the Naples Daily News/ News-Press/LOCALiQ have been reliable reporters of environmental topics and climate challenges. Their steady and objective coverage of climate impacts, climate policies, and new technologies is important to connect this global threat to local concerns. Whether it’s a reference of how today’s temperatures or rainfall amounts compare to historical averages, or explaining King Tide coastal flooding in October, the media is an important partner in connecting climate change relevant to local lives.

  • The SWFL Climate Compass Speaker Series examines the issue from three points of view. The first speaker, former US Congressman Bob Inglis, looks at the role of a carbon tax and how it prices carbon emissions in a way that allows economic market forces to drive emissions down.  He will outline how members of all political viewpoints can collaborate for effective solutions.
  • In March, we’ve invited retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Jonathan White to talk about issues of climate security and how oceans are impacted and can be the focus of climate solutions. Issues of ocean-driven meteorology, ocean energy and climate refugees may be raised.
  • Finally, our April speaker, Wharton School of Business Professor Benjamin Keys, recently published a study on Florida property values along vulnerable coastlines. He will discuss the findings of his study and how the public sector can protect values with resiliency investments.

I am encouraging Growing Climate Solutions supporters to ask their friends, colleagues, and neighbors to join them (in a socially distanced and safe way!) at each of the three speaker events and then, if possible, talk about the ideas that were introduced. The additional discussion, as any teacher will attest, makes the event more meaningful. It starts a genuine dialogue, which is needed to bring communities together on climate action. Finally, tell us what you liked, disliked and learned by completing the survey we send out the day after the event.  Completing the survey helps us fine-tune the presentations and gives us ideas about other topics that could make.  To register for the three events, visit www.growingclimatesolutions.org/events