17 Apr In Their Own Words: Frederick Moon
I have been a life long environmentalist. As boy, I sailed with my family all along the East Coast from New York to Maine. As a young adult, I took my wife and daughters hiking and camping on the West Coast into the Sierras and the Southern California deserts. I have fished all sorts of waters, salt and fresh alike. These cumulative experiences have instilled in me a deep reverence for our natural world. We have been given a precious gift, this earth of ours. And I believe it is our duty to continue to listen and be committed to maintaining her health.
Fast-forward to 2018 and the growing acknowledgment of climate change. The stakes for our planet have never been higher. The scientific evidence in increasingly clear that we are facing growing probabilities of a wide range of extreme events – physical, biological, economic, social and political. Admittedly, there is uncertainty over the particulars. No one can predict which events will impact any particular population or their timing. But it is clear that the main greenhouse gases will stay in the atmosphere for a long time. Waiting for the symptoms to become ever more obvious is a risky matter. In matters of our own personal health, do we ignore the evidence of high cholesterol or blood pressure on our long-term health? No, we take relatively low cost insurance measures now. Similarly, there are relatively low cost insurance options available for our planet; for example, investments in renewable energy, flood-plain zoning, increased efficiency of energy and water use.
Environmentalist author Paul Hawken has written a 2017 book which details many of these options for us. It is called Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming. The book is full of the latest scientific findings from Hawken’s coalition of hundreds of scientists, academics and experts in the business and nonprofit fields. It is organized by solutions, and has become a bible for many groups all over the country wanting to work on these issues in a constructive, manner, both for the planet as a whole and for our individual communities. Courses are being developed using Drawdown concepts and Southwest Florida residents are in the vanguard of piloting these courses. A range of nonprofits is picking up on the concept of small group-driven activism and participant diversity. These include: Calusa Waterkeepers, Conservation 20/20, Riverwatch, FGCU, the Pachamama Alliance of SWFL, Citizens Climate Lobby and others. The circle is widening.
As a community philanthropic leader, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is including climate change in their list of cause areas. The new Foundation building that will open in downtown Fort Myers this summer is designed to be a place where community groups can gather and share both vision and action. Its name, The Collaboratory, reflects its mission: to create a place where community members and groups can collaborate in a refreshingly experimental way.
I look forward to having the new building activities include community activism around climate change solutions. There are so many local community concerns related to climate change: health (air and water quality), economic (fishing, agriculture and tourism), and security (displacement). As a lifetime environmentalist, I want to include my six grandsons in this work. They all share my concern that climate change issues are THE work of their generation. I’d like my passion in these matters to be a kind of hand-off. What’s the best those of us who have lived most of our lives can offer to those whose lives lay before them? My answer is: this honest, collaborative climate change work, for the health of our families, our communities and our planet. A win all-around.
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation has launched an Earth Day campaign to raise awareness and funds for the environment in Southwest Florida. The “Earth Day the SWFL Way” campaign is meant to engage locals on how they can save our unique environment and help be a part of the change by sharing what efforts they pledge to take in honor of Earth Day on April 22, 2018. By visiting https://floridacommunity.com/environment/ participants can take a poll and choose three things they plan to do in honor of Earth Day.
Frederick Moon is a resident of Fort Myers and a trustee of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.