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The Summit for Environmental Action was held to inspire action. As we move through the Implementation phase, the focus on action is paired with an open and transparent process. As we move through the implementation process, we will release reports from the Summit Implementation Committee's meetings. Click on Implementation Committees to read progress reports from each committee.


The Summit for Environmental Action was a day-long event held on February 29th, 2008 at Marie G. Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida.  The goal of the event was to come up with a handful of actions that our community could take to positively benefit our local environment. The event gave participants a chance to brainstorm ideas focused on positively affecting our local environment.   Since the Summit, participants and community members have been working on implementing these ideas.  

Participants worked in pre-assigned small groups that had a diversity of age, gender, occupational sector and viewpoint.  Each small group brainstormed ideas to improve our local environment in the morning and spent the afternoon narrowing down those ideas to a single idea that a group member presented in the closing plenary session. 

There were four possible topics for discussion: Water Issues, Energy Use, Living Locally and Florida-Friendly Landscaping.  Each group was able to discuss two of the four topics.  This meant that participants were able to give feedback on more than one topic, but it also meant that groups did not work with the same ideas the entire day.  Participants brainstormed many ideas in the morning, and then passed those ideas to another group to vet and flesh out.  The idea that each group presented to the plenary in the afternoon was originally created by a different group in the morning session.     

At the end of the day, a representative from each of the 16 small groups presented an idea for action and participants used instant voting technology to demonstrate their level of support for that idea.  The five action plans that received the highest percentage of support are the “Top 5 Ideas” and became the focus of the implementation committees.

Contact Kate Irwin for more information: (941) 365-8751 or [email protected].  


What issues did the Summit cover? 
Discussion focused on four environmental issues that provide an opportunity for measurable and actionable improvements in our area.

  • Florida-Friendly Landscaping: Landscape changes that save money & are safe for our wildlife, native plants, bays, rivers & streams.
  • Water Issues: Using less water & finding innovative sources for our water needs. 
  • Living Locally: Supporting walkability & local businesses to strengthen our area’s economy & build community.
  • Energy Use : Choosing appropriate energy strategies that will be more efficient, save us money & make us part of a national & global effort to address climate change.  

What were the outcomes?
The participants voted to support five action items:

  • Develop rainwater, stormwater, greywater and reuse as alternate water sources.
  • Require low impact development techniques for new development and incentives to retrofit existing development.
  • Fifty percent of Sarasota County buildings with solar hot water heaters in five years.
  • Attract sustainable/green manufacturing to the local area.
  • Redesign transit system in conjunction with targeted mixed-use redevelopment zones.  "Great Transit connecting Great Communities."

Who participated? 
Summit planners extended an invitation to interested parties to nominate someone for participation in the workshop; self nominations were encouraged. There was a balanced group of participants who represented diverse community groups, including: business, municipal, education, faith-based, environmental, and neighborhood as well as civic groups.

How were nominees selected? 
Nominees selected for participation were those who are likely to become catalysts for community action to implement the changes endorsed by the summit.

Can I still get involved?
Yes! Please contact Kate Irwin to get involved with the Summit followup.

How did the Summit come about? 
The Summit grew out of the natural environment indicators in the 2007-2008 Community Report Card developed by SCOPE.

Who was involved in planning the Summit? 
Community partners include: Aspire Green Branding and Social Marketing, Council of Neighborhood Association (CONA), Control Growth Now, Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County, Florida House Learning Center, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Institute of Public Policy and Leadership, University of South Florida, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Mote Marine, Marine Policy Institute, New college of Florida, Ruden McClosky, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, Sarasota Manatee Young Democrats, Sarasota Network for Climate Action, Science and Environment Council, SCOPE, Sustainable Sarasota, Sarasota County Government


In 2008, the Summit for Environmental Action was a grantee in the Make It Your Own Awards™ from the Case Foundation.  The Summit was selected from a nationwide pool of nearly 5,000 applications evaluated on subject matter and its strength as an example of positive “citizen-centered” change.  Each grantee received $10,000 and consultation with a Case Foundation Social Investment Manager.

Make It Your Own is an innovative grants program that forgoes the traditional grant application model to embrace a more grassroots, “citizen-centered” approach to seeking funding. 


Platinum Sponsors
Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Schroeder-Manatee Ranch
SunTrust Banks

Gold Sponsors
Aspire Green Branding & Social Marketing
Captiva Beach Resort
Carlson Studio Architecture

Florida Power & Light
Michael Saunders & Company
Pamela Hughes, Hughes Design Associates

Positive Change Media
Ringling College of Art and Design
Ruden McClosky

Silver Sponsors
Anything Arts

Demetra McBride
Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County
Sarasota Architectural Salvage
Sarasota Green Marketplace
, a Division of Sarasota Green Connection

Bronze Sponsors
Donna Krabill

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SCOPE ~ 1226 North Tamiami Trail, Suite 202 ~ Sarasota, FL 34236 ~ (941) 365-8751~ Fax: (941) 365-8592

Photos courtesy of Kazuaki Nagata & PolaBran Summers