On January 17, two hundred and fifty community members – comprised of a rare blend of business and civic leaders, residents, and public officials – filled the Arthrex Innovation Conference Center for the inaugural SWFL Climate and Community Summit. As the conference lights dimmed, all eyes turned to The Urgency of Now, a film commissioned specifically to open the Summit. Featuring interviews with local climate experts, the film vividly depicts regional climate challenges, including the impacts of Hurricane Ian, and some of the solutions we can employ to protect our paradise. It was a poignant opening to an event that sought not simply to inform our community about climate challenges, but to actively engage participants in identifying resilience and sustainability strategies and tangible actions to implement them.
Sponsored by Hertz, FGCU, Collier Community Foundation, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, and Collaboratory, and managed by Growing Climate Solutions and Priority Marketing, the 5.5-hour event included a luncheon panel on resilient rebuilding organized in collaboration with the SWFL Chapter of the Urban Land Institute. Solutions strategy sessions called on facilitators to guide 23 table-top conversations addressing 10 topics, as well as an afternoon plenary where attendees individually voted on selected strategies. The result was a ranking of the most popular strategy solutions by topic, available at www.swflclimate.org/summit. Recordings of most Summit sessions are available on our YouTube channel.
Also in January, Growing Climate Solutions hosted a Y & How Sustainability Workshop: Everything You Need to Know about EVs. Electric Vehicles are well-positioned to become a hot commodity, and there are a growing number of choices on the market. Ms. Alisha Lopez, the Clean Cities Coordinator for the Southeast Florida Clean Cities Coalition, presented on the role of EVs in mitigating climate change and shared tips on forthcoming charging infrastructure and new savings available through the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. Watch the workshop recording here.
And, in preparation for a spring field day, we organized an outdoor tree planting activity for high school students at Seacrest Country Day school, successfully potting up over 200 slash pine saplings. We expect to plant the trees in a county preserve to support native habitat restoration and resilience. A big thanks to Seacrest and to our partner Robbie’s Trees Fund for an excellent workday!