FORT MYERS, FL (January 21, 2009) – In an effort to make the Southwest Florida Green Futures Expo and Energy Options Conference a carbon neutral event, Charlotte County Government and event sponsor, Johnson Engineering, teamed up to plant 23 Cypress trees at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), to offset the event’s carbon emissions.

Charlotte County staff, Commissioner Dick Loftus and Johnson Engineering were joined by FGCU’s Vice President of Administrative Services Dr. Joe Shepard, FGCU staff and student volunteers from the FGCU Anthropology Club, to plant the 23 Cypress trees, which over their lifetime will continually capture and sequester carbon from the atmosphere to offset the emissions from the event, making the multi-day event carbon neutral.

As part of Johnson Engineering’s sponsorship, ecologists calculated the event’s total emissions, finding they were close to 30 metric tones of carbon dioxide (MtCO2). Event organizers were able to reduce the event’s carbon emission by 7% through careful planning and use of alternative technologies such as web conferencing, hybrid vehicles, energy efficient green buses, together with common sense practices such as car pooling, patronizing restaurants that use locally grown produce, and buying locally. To offset the emissions produced from the event, calculations determined 23 Cypress trees over their lifetime would continually capture and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. In an effort to keep the carbon offsets in the region, Charlotte County agreed to partner with FGCU, supporting the University’s mission to practice and promote environmental sustainability, nurture community partnerships and value public service. Donations collected at the event to promote a carbon reduction project in Florida were used in part to purchase the trees from DB Nursery in Port Charlotte.

The attendance at the first annual Green Futures Expo and Energy Options Conference proved this event was an overwhelming success, and revealed this region is on its way toward being known as the ‘Green Coast’. The multi-day event brought 2,000 Green Expo attendees and nearly 230 participants to the Energy Conference, which included renowned speakers Patrick Birley from the European Climate Exchange, Cisco DeVries from Renewable Funding LLC, Kevin Lynn from the Department of Energy, Syd Kitson from Babcock Ranch, et. al. provided Southwest Floridians a world-class level of discussion and information exchange on the importance of renewable and alternative energy and how the industry is poised to redefine economic development for the state and the nation in the near future. Also present during the conference were local and regional businesses that are making their mark in various areas of the renewable energy and sustainable development arena. Overall, the first annual Green Futures Expo and Energy Options Conference was timely and well-positioned as it showed how the private, public and various sectors of the community can come together to create synergy and bring in overall positive development for the region.

Charlotte County, Johnson Engineering and the event sponsors, Waste Management, The Mosaic Company and Innovation Future Energy Corporation, are excited about the promising future of the ‘Green Coast’. Waste Management of Charlotte County, the event’s platinum sponsor, services more than 80,000 residences and 2,400 commercial customers in the county. Waste Management Green Squad’s National Director, Jim Hall, was the keynote speaker at the conference. They work toward providing sustainability solutions to help organizations create efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance branding.

For more information about the Southwest Florida Green Futures Expo and Energy Options Conference, please visit