Growing Climate Solutions: Path to Positive Southwest Florida has announced four new voices for its speaker series addressing climate change’s impacts and potential solutions that can be implemented throughout the region.

The SWFL Climate Compass Series will feature nationally recognized speakers and highlight key aspects of climate change, including changes in ocean systems, as well as how the seafood and auto industries are tackling the challenges. The 2022 series is free to attend and will be a three-part virtual event at 4 p.m. EST on the following dates:

  • 16: “Sustainable Pescatarians: Ensuring the Seafood Industry has Responsible Practices” will be presented by Chef Rick Moonen. Master Development Chef for Perry’s Restaurants.
  • March 16: “Unequivocal & Unprecedented: Climate Change in the Ocean” will be presented by Dr. Sarah Cooley, director of climate science at Ocean Conservancy, and Jon Paul “J.P.” Brooker, Florida director for the Ocean Conservancy.
  • April 13: “Leading the Electrification Revolution” will be presented by Cynthia Williams, global director of sustainability, homologation and compliance at Ford Motor Company.

“Empowering citizens and leaders to initiate change, building climate literacy, protecting natural assets, and ensuring a prosperous and healthy community are the principles for Growing Climate Solutions and the goals for the SWFL Climate Compass Series,” said Ana Puszkin-Chevlin, Ph.D., regional director for Growing Climate Solutions. “By increasing public understanding of how our oceans and their ecosystems are affected by warming temperatures and carbon concentrations we can develop technology and policy responses. By understanding and supporting innovation in private industry, like those in the transportation sector, we can accelerate solutions and their adoption by consumers. Our speaker series dives deeper into these topics as we hear from leading authorities in very different industries who share a common goal of advancing solutions for climate change.”

Growing Climate Solutions formed in 2019 as a partnership between the Community Foundation of Collier County, Collaboratory (formerly Southwest Florida Community Foundation), Florida Gulf Coast University and Conservancy of Southwest Florida. It has since expanded to include community leaders from the business, health, civic, faith and nonprofit sectors across the five-county region that work to engage stakeholders in climate education and projects to advance resilience.

Each of the Climate Compass speakers brings a unique expertise to the virtual conversations.

Moonen is the master development chef for Perry’s Restaurants, a premier steakhouse restaurant with over 20 locations across the country. Known as the “Godfather of Sustainability,” the American seafood celebrity chef is an early adopter of sustainable fishing practices, educating audiences on solutions to prevent illegally caught and sourced seafood. Moonen shares the best practices for “sea-to-table” cooking and serves up plenty of tips for delicious and sustainable seafood dishes.

Cooley is the director of climate science for Ocean Conservancy, an organization dedicated to creating science-based solutions for a healthy ocean. As director, Cooley combines science and communication skills to educate decision makers about ocean acidification, showing that the issue is relevant and impacting communities, cultures and livelihoods. Brooker is the Florida director for the Ocean Conservancy. Combining his deep experience on federal fisheries in Southeastern United States and on Capitol Hill, Brooker uses his expertise in coastal and conservation issues to help protect Florida, the state he was born and raised in. Together, Cooley and Brooker will educate on the climate issues happening in Florida’s backyard, as well as what citizens and communities can do to help.

Williams is the global director of sustainability, homologation and compliance for Ford Motor Company. She is responsible for sustainable business plans, environmental negotiations with regulatory bodies around the world, reporting on the company’s environmental and social performance, and engaging with non-government organizations and other external stakeholders. In 2021, Ford Motor company announced sweeping commitments to production of electric automobiles, investing more than $30 billion in electric vehicles through 2025. Over the next two years, Ford aims to emerge as the clear No. 2 electric vehicle maker in North America and then challenge the No. 1 spot as huge investments in battery and electric vehicle manufacturing come onstream. Within 24 months, Ford will have the global capacity to produce 600,000 battery electric vehicles annually and just recently announced that it will nearly double production of the F-150 Lightning™ pickup at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn to 150,000 trucks per year to meet high demand for the first all-electric version of America’s best-selling vehicle, the F-Series. Ford is tripling of production for the Mustang Mach-E and expects to reach 200,000-plus units per year by 2023, and its all-electric van, the 2022 E-Transit, goes on sale early this year. Williams will explain Ford’s commitment to fighting climate change, its goal to be carbon neutral worldwide no later than 2050, and how it’s working to accelerate progress and ensure that no one is left behind.

The SWFL Climate Compass Series is supported by media sponsors WGCU and Naples Daily/News-Press/LocaliQ.

Registration is complimentary and available at GrowingClimateSolutions.org/events.