The Climate & Community Summit was rapidly approaching on October 6th when Hurricane Ian slammed us, upending the lives of our residents, the livelihood of our businesses, and destroying or damaging the places we cherish in our community. For Growing Climate Solutions, the summer months were all about engaging our community on this unique program. As of October 4th, the Climate and Community Initiative Steering Committee has decided to postpone the Summit for the spring of 2023, allowing time for the community to recover and for the Summit team to incorporate hurricane resilience conversations and rebuilding planning into the program.
Storms like Hurricane Ian are a harsh reminder that climate change is predicted to make hurricanes more frequent and destructive, as they will tend to intensify rapidly, move slower, hold more rain, and generate greater storm surge. The loss of life and property, societal disruption, and even simply the preparation and evacuation costs and general angst should not be underestimated. While informed preparation can save lives and help to reduce damages, we must also aim to build back smarter to stay climate-resilient and maintain our unique quality of life.
In addition to the Climate & Community Summit preparations, in August and September, we continued to provide educational programs to groups that request a speaker. In September, Dr. Puszkin-Chevlin spoke to the Gateway Women’s Club, the Rotary Club of Cape Coral, and the members of the RESET Center. She also recorded a segment with journalist Tom Baylas that will be shown during the Volo Foundation’s Florida Climate Week in October. In Glades County, Ms. Washburn worked with several public officials to complete an informal county resilience assessment – a series of questions used as a tool to evaluate and help identify resources the community would need to accurately assess, protect and improve both natural and built infrastructure. These types of assessments support informed decision-making and can help to ensure the sustainability and resilience of natural resources and local infrastructure systems.
Growing Climate Solutions also continued to support the Interfaith Climate Action Team, which was formed earlier this summer and led by Hilary Stecklein Kobrin. The Interfaith team is working on a small joint tree planting event to help foster a sense of community among the participants. Most recently, the Conservancy’s Rob Moher had an editorial published in our local papers, featured at the bottom of this newsletter.
As we look ahead, we ask you to mark your calendars in advance. On November 2nd, we hope to kick off the second season of the online Y&How speaker series with an hour-long lunchtime presentation focused on edible gardening with Ms. Kamala Perez. In December, Julia Herbst will address the benefits of joining a solar co-op. With fall upon us, the calendar is filling up – stay tuned for opportunities to get involved and engage in local climate action!