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Denham to attend summit on climate prosperity

By Staff | Feb 16, 2009

Leading thinkers are asking, “What if we could turn the climate change crisis into an opportunity to build a better world?” This is the promise of the Climate Prosperity Project – to create a more sustainable world for our children and grandchildren.

On Thursday, Feb. 19, Sanibel Mayor Mick Denham will accompany Fort Myers Mayor Jim Humphrey and two representatives of the Southwest Florida Planning Council to San Jose, Calif., otherwise known as Silicon Valley. The group will attend a two-day gathering to learn first-hand about the first pilot of the Climate Prosperity Project (CPP).

Humphrey and Denham were invited based on their roles as chair and vice chair, respectively, of the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council. Accompanying them will be SWFRPC executive director Ken Heatherington and planning director David Hutchinson.

Travel expenses are being covered courtesy of the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation. Established just 15 months ago, the CPP is a joint effort of the Foundation and Global Urban Development, a non-profit organization dedicated to better urban planning. Seven cities or regions in the United States have been selected for pilot projects. In addition to Silicon Valley, Calif., they are: State of Delaware; Denver, Colo.; St. Louis, Mo.; King County/Seattle, Wa.; Montgomery County, Md. and Southwest Florida.

Global Urban Development, founded in 2001, is a growing international network of dynamic urban leaders. The focus of the CPP is on education, research and action to promote policy ideas that help generate more sustainable urban development throughout the world. Climate Prosperity holds the view that environmental protection need not come at the expense of economic growth or living standards. Rather, the current climate crisis is an opportunity to create new classes of jobs and grow the economy while enhancing our quality of life and providing solutions to the pressing problem of climate change.

The long-term goal of the CPP is to shift American public opinion such that the concept of Climate Prosperity becomes the mainstream perspective. By promoting Green Savings, Green Jobs and Green Profits, Climate Prosperity can save money for everyone because, through increased conservation and efficiency, less will be spent on energy.

As of the end of January, 62 participants had signed on from all parts of the United States. The agenda will include panel discussions, presentations and tours.

Denham theorizes that Southwest Florida was selected based upon the region’s struggling economy, its potential for solar energy due to abundant sunshine, and the leadership shown by the SWFRPC in such areas as establishing initiatives to protect the environment from pollutants in ground water runoff, pesticides and fertilizers.

“I believe it is important for leaders to investigate every opportunity for improving our environment and jump-starting our local economy,” he said. “We will be traveling with open minds and hopefully gaining some helpful perspectives.”

For more information, visit www.globalurban.org.