EcoSummit much more than composting and recycling

By Jason Koler


EcoWeek in the Florida Keys is adapting.

What began with organic dinners and a Green Home Expo has morphed into a four day summit that shifted from how to find green products and recycle milk cartons to adopting green measures that increase profits, promoting green leadership and how to capitalize on the growing green movement.

The four-day EcoSummit will begin this Wednesday, Nov. 2 at the Tennessee Williams Theater with a Meet and Greet followed by a film, “The Story of Stuff,” by Annie Leonard and a presentation by the Eco Chamber’s President and Founder, Tia Diaz-Balart.

During the EcoSummit, participants will showcase the integration of environment, economics, equity and energy concepts – known as E4 – while addressing how to integrate the mission with real life in practical, affordable ways. And, it’s not all work. There will be a wide selection of eco-excursions that contribute to the local economy in socially responsible ways, while showing off the beauty and bio-diversity of the Florida Keys.

Balart’s 45-minute slot will show how “simple steps can reap large rewards on the bottom-line, employee morale and customer loyalty, let alone our immediate and even expanded environmental health.”

Eco Week board member Christi Allen said the main objective for this summit “is to inspire those who have the power to make a change.”

“We’re now on a grand scale – there is economy and ecology,” Allen said. “You can have a profitable business or entity that also has high levels of executive leadership in regards to green measures.”

Other notable presenters include Dr. Honey Rand, President of Environmental PR, who will discuss “how do you tell your story, position your product or service, or get the credit you deserve distinguishing yourself from the “noise” that is virtually everywhere.”

Rand is the former Director of Public Communication at the Southwest Florida Water Management District and author of Water Wars – the non-fiction book describing the fierce competition for the limited water source among the communities of Tampa Bay.

Other presenters include noted environmental professors from universities like Duke, Miami, Louisiana State and executives from private firms specializing in green initiatives as well as Jupp Baron Kercherinck zur Borg – President of the Shark Research Institute.

His lecture, Unintended Consequences: A Shark History, shows how sharks preserve the biological balance of the ocean.

“Without sharks,” his class description notes, “the fish populations, which are necessary for human consumption and vast industry will decline, and the balance in the oceans will be lost and could create the largest ecological disaster in the history of mankind.”

The summit begins at 8:30 am and concludes at approximately 4 pm each day through Saturday, Nov. 5. Break and lunch are provided, and on Thursday evening, participants are invited to a cocktail reception at El Mason De Pepe during the Mallory Square Sunset Celebration. Other leisure activities available during the summit are designed to showcase the natural beauty and unique eco-system of the Florida Keys.

Registration for the full conference is limited and available for $375. One-day registration is $150. For a complete EcoSummit agenda, visit or shoot an email to

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