February kicks off the 2022 SWFL Climate Compass series, a three-part series of national speakers taking on climate and food, oceans and transportation. Since late December, we have worked on preparing the marketing materials, securing the generous sponsorship of NewsPress/ Naples Daily News and WGCU and reaching out to our partner organizations to help us get the word out about our signature speaker series. We hope our readership will sign up for February 16 presentation, when we’ll host Chef Moonen, a Master Development Chef with Perry’s Restaurants who will present ‘Sustainable Pescatarians: Ensuring Sustainable Practices in the Seafood Industry. On March 16th, we have the Ocean Conservancy’s Chief Climate Scientist Dr. Sarah Cooley and Florida Director, JP Booker talking about climate’s impacts on oceans, and we wrap up the series on April 13th with Ford Motor Company’s Global Director for Sustainability, Homologation and Compliance, Ms. Cynthia Williams talking about Ford’s commitment to electric vehicles. Mark your calendars and encourage friends and family to tune in by hosting your own watch party. Links to register for these and other events are embedded, are found on our website.
Concurrently, our monthly daytime Y&HOW Sustainable Living Workshops continues. On February 2nd, Ms. Dawn McCormick from Waste Management will explain Recycling Right and clarify the misunderstandings of what to recycle versus toss in the trash. March 2nd’s presentation on roof-top solar by Mr. Clifford Mitchem, a local independent solar advisor is a must, especially in light of the proposed Florida SB1024 and HB741 legislation that could fundamentally dismantle Florida’s net metering program.
Growing Climate Solutions also offers technical and organizational support for groups advancing climate action projects. On January 29th, we helped Cornerstone Methodist Church connect with Robbie’s Tree Fund and our partner, Cheney Landscaping to organize the repotting of 300 native tree saplings. The trees will be grown in pots until they are a suitable size for planting at a local Habitat for Humanity community. In late spring, the program will continue with a religious service focused on earth restoration and a tree give-away. The goal is to impress on participants the important role trees play in mitigating climate change, as well as how trees can feed your belly and nurture your soul. Enlarging our partner network helps us better connect with the community. We are thus delighted to welcome Naples Compost as a Leadership Circle Partner. Naples Compost offers subscription-based pick-up of compostable waste for clients that wish to live more sustainably.
Individual climate actions must be matched by systemic changes. In January, Growing Climate Solutions reviewed and sent public comments to the South Florida Water Management District regarding the Draft Sea Level Rise and Flood Resilience Plan. We are also following proposed changes to Florida’s Net metering program in Senate Bill 1024 and House Bill 741. The current ‘net metering’ program has been essential to encouraging roof-top solar by making the return-on-investment for these projects palatable to the homeowners. The proposed legislation supported and likely penned by the utility companies would fundamentally alter the economics of solar arrays for property owners and curtail solar adoption. Growing Climate Solutions urges our readership to become fully informed how each side views this complex policy issue and engage with elected representatives to express support for our growing solar industry, a sector that supports 40,000 jobs in the state, advances clean energy and generates $18.3 billion in economic impact, according to a report by Conservatives for Clean Energy.
Finally, Growing Climate Solutions also continues to help FGCU’s Water School jump-start the SWFL Regional Resiliency Compact. The “Compact”, an agreement among 15 southwest Florida jurisdictions to share information and coordinate approaches to climate adaptation had a kick-off meeting in October 2021. A second meeting focused on understanding how other Florida Compact’s operate and setting project priorities is being planned for February 17th.