SWFL Sustainability Summit

After over a year of hard work and sleepless nights, we finally concluded the inaugural SWFL Sustainability Summit yesterday at Harborside in downtown Fort Myers.

I have joked with people several times when they asked me why I did it. I tell them that my friend Terry Cerullo asked me to take over his event as his friend and help him make it a success. I then tell them that I’m not sure if I should thank him or pray that his bathtub leaks in his home.

There is a special, deep sense of gratitude that I have for the people that supported the event and me personally through this process. Although Terry “privatized” an event through my small firm, his marketing genius came through several times with different ways so that we could make the event better and better. Mei-Mei Chan, President and Publisher of the News-Press in Fort Myers humbled me several times – first with her involvement, then repeatedly with her support, and at last with undeserved compliments to me personally.

There are countless others who have supported this endeavor and made something that begins to look like “wisdom” take firm root in our local conversations. My personal goal in supporting and organizing this Summit over the past year has been to raise up our level of proactive civic engagement by energizing the conversation and translating it for general consumption. Sustainability is not for the elite. Sustainability is not for the wingnut.

Sustainability is for the people.

And after yesterday, it appears that the people are for sustainability. People are ready to think deeply about what they care about and stop all the wasteful noise that they hear all the time.

Now if you ask me what has been at the core of why I have done this (and wiser men than me have in the past suggested that asking that question is not prudent), I would tell you that it was in support of my friends who had tried and failed to accomplish this Summit and start this conversation. A base for wise community-driven discourse needed a home.

Additionally, I would tell you that I think that people deserve better; we have the right to think innovatively and needed a venue to do it effectively, without nonsense and unnecessary dramatics.

I would also tell you that this success was not from me.

Martin Luther once said something to the effect that you should “work as if there is no God, then pray as if there is nothing you can accomplish.” That about sums things up for me. That’s about where I land on this.

Am I proud? I am. But I’m proud in this sense – the sense that God would let his servant accomplish something so far out of his reach that it’s absolutely absurd that it actually happened. But, hey, that’s pretty common for God.

I’ll leave you with this thought when it comes to vocation and success like this. It ties in nicely with the short quote that I attributed to Luther above. It’s where I stand on how successful the Sustainability Summit is now and will become in the future.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21).

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