On Thursday, you are welcome to join the scientists, lawyers and engineers gathering at the 2022 Southwest Florida Climate Summit in downtown Fort Myers, to learn more about how to protect our beautiful area and wildlife.
The purpose of the summit is to inform and engage community members on what they can do to be better prepared for future events like hurricanes, sea level rise and climate change.
Jennifer Hecker, the executive director for Coastal and Heartland National Estuary Partnership, says some of the topics that will be discussed at the summit include the science behind water and wetland impacts, and how people can make those wetlands and water resources more resilient. She hopes community members leave the summit knowing how they can prepare themselves, their families and communities for the impacts of climate change.
“This is happening right now,” Hecker said. “So, there is some urgency; we need to double down and really get serious about doing these investments right now to reduce the level of impacts that we are seeing already occurring and going to continue to occur in our communities.”
One of the presenters at the SWFL Climate Summit says more than 1,000 people move to Florida each day. The more people who move here, the more land that gets developed, and that can lead to things being built in areas critical to connecting wildlife habitats.
Joshua Daskin, the director of conservation at Archbold Biological Station, says it all boils down to building thoughtfully. He says planning ahead and using visions like the Florida Wildlife Corridor gives leaders an opportunity to get ahead of the game. At the summit, Daskin will give a presentation on how the Florida Wildlife Corridor is essential to wildlife resiliency, on plans for preservation and on being realistic about future development.
“Yeah, I think it would be naive to say that development is not going to happen or can be stopped,” Daskin said. “And I don’t think that’s necessarily required to have the sort of green infrastructure and the habitat needed by wildlife in Florida. What is needed, again, is to use careful planning and scientific data, which is available to plan where people should develop.”
The summit kicks off at 9 a.m. and runs until Friday at 4:30 p.m. You can watch it online or attend it in person at the Collaboratory, located at 2031 Jackson St. in downtown Fort Myers. Visit the summit website for details on registration and more.
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