Nature and culture set stage at the 2023 EcoSummit and Green Living Expo

Renowned Florida author Hiassen to speak on Dec. 5

Florida author Carl Hiaasen. Contributed photo by Elena Seibert

For more than two decades, the Science and Environment Council (SEC) of Sarasota — a not-for-profit consortium comprising the 40 leading science-based, environmental nonprofit and governmental organizations in Sarasota and Manatee counties — “has convened discussions, informed policy, and enhanced public awareness about science-based conservation and sustainable practices to protect and restore our natural environment,” a news release points out.

In early December, the SEC will host the largest environmental event ever produced on the Suncoast, the release adds. The programs have been designed to inspire members of the community “to connect on environmental issues and engage in more sustainable practices in their homes and businesses,” the release says.

During the event, the Green Living Expo will highlight green solutions for energy conservation, waste reduction, water protection, local food production, and conservation of nature, the release continues. The two-day trade show will feature ideas and demonstrations focused on how to reduce human impacts on the environment, the release adds. It will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 2-3 at the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium in downtown Sarasota.

The Expo will offer free admission to those who register in advance; otherwise, the fee will be $5 per group at the door.
Along with the Expo, the EcoSummit “will feature lively, solutions-oriented lectures, panel discussions, storytelling, and music. Dozens of national, regional, and local experts will share fascinating insights and future-forward innovations for recharging our environment and reducing our impacts — crucial to sustaining our coastal community’s environment-based quality of life,” the release points out.

The EcoSummit will open at 5 p.m. on Dec. 4 at The Bay Park Nest with a free outdoor screening of the film 2040. The film’s creator, award-winning Australian documentary filmmaker and EcoSummit keynote speaker Damon Gameau will be present; that event will end at 8 p.m., the release notes. Then, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 5 and Dec. 6, the EcoSummit will continue at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in downtown Sarasota.

Additionally, from 7 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 5, Florida Stories with Carl Hiaasen will be presented, the release says, calling Hiaasen “Florida’s most savagely funny, riotous, and cathartic storyteller.” The master of ceremonies for that event will be award-winning journalist Craig Pittman. The program also will include local storytellers and a musical guest, the release notes.

“A Florida native, Hiaasen has been writing about the Sunshine State since his father gave him a typewriter,” when Hiaasen was 6, the release continues. “Thirteen books and nine national bestseller books later, his fiction is not far from the bizarre truth he found in his Florida reporting for the Miami Herald from 1985 until 2021,” the release adds.

EcoSummit ticket options are $155/Standard, $185/Premium (includes the Hiaasen event), and $285/VIP to add on the Hiaasen pre-show reception and premium seating. Standalone tickets to see Hiaasen are $85/general admission and $185/VIP Experience, with the pre-show reception and premium seating, the release points out.

“Over the past century in Florida, population growth and development patterns have increased pollution and decreased the environment’s capacity to process it,” said Jennifer Shafer, SEC’s co-executive director, in the release. “Our natural environment is the foundation of our economy and quality of life; by working together to educate and activate the community, we hope to bolster efforts to conserve and restore our treasured natural resources — and protect quality of life for generations to come,” she added in the release.

Among other events associated with the Green Living Expo and the EcoSummit, the release points out, will be the family-friendly Ever-GREEN Days at The Bay Sarasota, also in downtown Sarasota, “with a weeklong schedule of interactive and eco-friendly (and free!) experiences,” such as guided tours and hands-on eco-educational activities from Nov. 30 through Dec. 6.
To learn more about the planned events, visit