UT to Host Worldwide Climate Change Summit Oct. 11

Published: Sep 10, 2008

Hundreds of people from around the world will meet — physically and electronically — at The University of Tampa on Saturday, Oct. 11, to discuss locally based solutions to climate change.

The Earth Charter Climate Change Community Summit, coordinated by Earth Charter U.S., will highlight sustainability initiatives in business, education and government from more than 25 locations, including Portland, Ore., Honolulu, Hawaii, New York, N.Y., Senegal, Africa, Temagami, Canada, Okinawa, Japan, Hamburg, Germany and Bournemouth, UK.

Earth Charter U.S. is coordinating the summit in celebration of the United Nations’ International Year of Planet Earth, and is underwriting the Web connection among participating cities. Earth Charter is an international declaration of values and principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society.

The all-day event at UT will feature videoconferences, workshops and lectures. Highlights include:

  • Alexander Likhotal, president and CEO of Green Cross International and advisor to Mikhail Gorbachev, will speak at UT at 11:05 a.m.
  • Lunch and “Webcast Global Round-Robin,” in which each city will give a two-minute presentation on its commitment to addressing climate change, will run from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m.
  • From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. children can participate in Earth Scouts, a scouting program for boys and girls ages 3-13. The festival features children’s hands-on activities in human rights, respect for nature, economic justice and a culture of peace. For more information, go to www.earthscouts.org.
  • A post summit party, with live music, food and beverages, will be held at 4:15 p.m. for registered attendees.

The public is invited to the free day-long summit, which will be held in Falk Theatre and the Vaughn Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration begins at Falk Theatre at 10 a.m.

In 2001, UT helped launch Earth Charter U.S., which was striving to create a national movement focusing on sustainability. Its initiatives were broadcast via satellite from UT to 12 U.S. cities. Today Earth Charter U.S. is a volunteer community-building organization based in Tampa.

Partners for the summit include United Nations-Habitat, Physicians for Social Responsibility, International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives-US, Northwest Ecological Institute, Citizens’ Network for Sustainable Development and the U.S. Earth Charter Community Alliance.

For more information about the summit, visit www.earthcharterus.org.

Sustainable Business Awards luncheon and award ceremony

The day before, on Friday, Oct. 10, Earth Charter U.S. and UT will host a luncheon at which the Sustainable Business Awards will be announced. The luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Vaughn Center at UT.

The awards will recognize 15 Bay area businesses in three different categories whose efforts have demonstrated sustainable business practices that embrace social, economic and environmental responsibility. In addition, the event will serve as the initial step in the formation of an Earth Charter Sustainable Business Coalition. The coalition, comprised of top executives and corporate officers, will help to shape Tampa Bay’s sustainable economy.

A team of graduate students from UT, under the guidance of Daniel Verreault, UT associate professor of accounting, developed the criteria for the awards.

The keynote speaker will be Eric Maltzer, a leading consultant at Esty Environmental Partners (EEP), which produced Green to Gold, a template for CEOs and managers who want to make sustainability a core element of strategy — and profit from it.

Tickets cost $50 for individuals. For more information or to register, go to www.earthcharterus.org/summit-wkend.html.