Climate Change & Resilience

As climate change has continued to unfold across the globe, both the human and natural communities of Southwest Florida have and will continue to be affected by its impacts.

The fingerprints of climate change in the region can be seen in increases of flooding from more heavy rain events, the greater number of intense hurricanes in a given season exposing us to damaging wind and storm surge, the continual uptick in extreme heat events, and the amplification of already problematic harmful algal blooms. These and other climate change-induced stressors impose significant challenges on our treasured local habitats and wildlife – like our mangroves, dunes, and marshes, our sea turtles and panthers – that must also respond in the face of other threats like development and degraded water quality.

This is why the Conservancy knows that it is essential to engage with climate issues as part of its mission to protect Southwest Florida's unique natural environment and quality of life...now and forever. The Conservancy also recognizes that our natural systems represent essential solutions in our local resiliency response. This includes the ability of mangroves, oyster reefs, seagrasses, and other natural features to help reduce wind and wave energy while also often locking up excess atmospheric greenhouse gases in their biomass and providing a suite of other invaluable benefits. We will continue to advocate for a balanced approach to addressing local climate challenges that works with and protects our local environment, as well as our local quality of life including our nature-based economy.

Watch the award-winning short film “The Urgency of Now” concerning the climate crisis in our region and some of the things we can do about it.

Learn more about how a changing climate is influencing SWFL

How has the Conservancy been engaging around climate change?

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida joined with Collier Community Foundation, the Collaboratory, ECOAmerica, and Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), with additional support from the Kapnick Foundation, to launch Growing Climate Solutions: Path to Positive SW Florida in 2017. The purpose of the initiative was to cultivate community leaders from business, health, civic, faith and non-profit sectors across the five-county region. These leaders would then engage their institutions and stakeholders in action needed to address both the causes and the impacts of our changing climate. During the 4-year project, dozens of initiatives and educational programs were launched to keep the public engaged and informed on how to be part of the solution and strengthen our community.

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This culminated post-Hurricane Ian, with the successful organization of the SW Florida Climate and Community Initiative, which hosted the first Climate and Community Summit in the region. The sold-out event powered by Hertz included leaders from multiple sectors and resulted in the publication of a landmark report of findings for our regional leaders to consider for public policy. With the sunsetting of Growing Climate Solutions, we are pleased to inform you that relevant materials and information from both Growing Climate Solutions and the SW Florida Climate and Community Initiative will be housed on the Conservancy’s website.While the Conservancy is hosting the SW Florida Climate and Community Initiative on our website, each of the organizations listed remain determined and active in the realm of sustainability, resiliency planning and climate mitigation efforts.

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Learn more about local climate concerns and possible solutions by: