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SWFL Climate & Community Summit set for Jan. 17

SWFL Climate and Community Initiative logo

Hosted by SWFL Climate & Community Initiative and powered by Hertz, the inaugural SWFL Climate & Community Summit will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Arthrex Conference Center, 1 Arthrex Way in Naples.

Postponed following Hurricane Ian, the event is open to the public and features a dynamic program that brings together national and regional experts, environmental innovators, elected officials and Southwest Florida community and business leaders to address solutions that protect Southwest Florida from changes in weather, land, water and lifestyle.

“The Summit builds on the success of the ‘Save Our Water Summit,’ presented in 2019 by USA Today Network-Florida (The News-Press and Naples Daily News) and The Water School at FGCU, and brings residents, experts, community leaders and businesses together to educate and inspire action,” said Dr. Greg Tolley, the executive director of The Water School at FGCU. “Our goal is to gather the entirety of Southwest Florida to answer two questions: What can we do individually? And what can we do together? By uniting our community, Southwest Florida aims to be a leader in implementing creative solutions to achieve successful results that protect our paradise.”

The SWFL Climate & Community Summit is sponsored by Hertz with support from The Water School at FGCU, Collier Community Foundation, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Collaboratory and Everglades Foundation. The Initiative is led by a consortium of community organizations and businesses including Collaboratory, Collier Community Foundation Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Growing Climate Solutions, The Water School at FGCU, Naples Daily News, The News-Press and WGCU.

Two workshops called “Climate & Conversations” were held in Lee and Collier counties to help shape the direction of the Summit.

“It is clear from these workshops, as well as a recent survey of residents, that Southwest Florida’s vulnerabilities to heat, flooding, severe storms, water quality and impact on infrastructure are the greatest areas of concern,” said Rob Moher, president and CEO, Conservancy of Southwest Florida. “What’s encouraging is that workshop participants were engaged and solution-driven, and suggestions were flowing. Our hope is that the Summit will further escalate awareness and engagement, and bring forth solutions that can be implemented by consumers and residents, as well as adopted at the professional and governmental levels. We must work together as a community to adopt real solutions to protect our paradise for tomorrow.”

Sessions presented during the event will include an overview of the current global and local climate challenges that Southwest Florida is experiencing and the impact on the regional economy, health, topography and weather, as well as existing public perceptions. The luncheon panel, organized by ULI’s SW Florida Chapter, will address rebuilding resiliently after Hurricane Ian.

Additionally, the event will showcase current Southwest Florida resiliency efforts, and attendees will hear from those who are on the frontlines of statewide and local efforts, as well as learn how the community can become involved and support various efforts.

The Summit will include multiple table-top discussions. This interactive community exercise will be professionally facilitated and include the participation of residents, business and civic leaders, and regional elected officials. The purpose of this exercise is to prioritize the region’s actions for combating climate challenges and protecting our paradise. The documented results of these discussions will be shared with local government leaders for policy consideration.

About SWFL Climate & Community Initiative
The SWFL Climate & Community Initiative is a region-wide movement to bring education about our changing climate and realistic solutions to the people of Southwest Florida. With a focus on air, land and sea, the goal is to inform the Southwest Florida community of the unique challenges the region is facing, as well as the steps each individual and the community collectively can take to make a real difference. For more information, visit SWFLclimate.org.

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