By Luke Miller
Environmental Policy Intern
On May 21, Lee County Climate Reality Chapter co-founder Bob Moore and SCCF Environmental Policy Director James Evans hosted the first meeting of a new Renewable Energy Working Group. The group brought together an impressive collection of local civic leaders, businesspeople, climate activists, and educators to discuss opportunities to address climate change through local renewable energy policies.
“The aim of this group is to make Sanibel a model for climate policy, similar to the way the Sanibel Plan has been a model for sustainable community development,” said Evans.
By collaborating with a group of local leaders in the fields of renewable energy, conservation, water quality, and business, we aim to educate and engage our communities on cost-effective energy policy with the focus of establishing greater climate resiliency. “We want to encourage the transition to renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind energy, in order to lessen our impact on rising global temperatures and sea levels,” said Moore.
The group’s renewable energy plan brings many benefits to the Sanibel community. Their work will focus on viable solutions to reducing greenhouse gases, economic benefits of renewable energy, reducing energy costs to businesses, municipalities, and residents, and mitigating long-term impacts and costs of the accelerating effects of climate change such as sea level rise, increased storm intensity, and impacts on water quality.
Climate change is a multifaceted problem that will require solutions from various disciplines. The group is starting at the local level with its focus on Sanibel, but the hope is that over time it will drive progress on the regional, state, and national levels by highlighting Sanibel’s success as a model community.
In addition, the group will work closely with members of the Southwest Florida Regional Resiliency Compact in their ongoing efforts to make Southwest Florida more resilient to the effects of climate change and sea level rise.
“By combining efforts across Charlotte, Lee, and Collier counties, we will be able to capitalize on the expertise of Compact members and educate a wider range of communities throughout the region,” added Evans.