The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce welcomed Everglades Trust Executive Director Kimberly Mitchell as guest speaker of the business luncheon Sept. 13 at Sundial Beach Resort & Spa. Mitchell spoke about how to save the Everglades by uniting to fight a giant.

“We the people must have the same message, be on the same page, to be effective,” Mitchell said. “The Now or Neverglades declaration is that message.”

The Sanibel & Captiva Chamber hosted a Now or Neverglades Declaration signing in August, while the City of Sanibel was among the first cities to enact an ordinance in support of saving the Everglades. Mitchell explained the problem with Lake Okeechobee discharges flowing east and west instead of south, as nature intended.

“The Everglades is in a state of collapse right now, from not enough fresh water,” Mitchell, whose father was the sixth man to walk on the moon and her inspiration to fight for the Everglades, said.

Mitchell is a former West Palm Beach City Commissioner who served from 2002 to 2015. During her Commission tenure, she was a leading proponent of water supply management for the city and region. Mitchell’s understanding of the need for Everglades restoration is rooted in her leadership during numerous droughts, water shortages and polluted water releases from Lake O.

Mitchell’s well-rounded career also includes working as a governmental affairs professional in Tallahassee where she specialized in local and state representation, and management of local, state and national campaigns.

Adventures in Paradise sponsored the October business lunch. Owner Evelyn Stewart gave away a cruise for 50 passengers aboard any of Adventures in Paradise vessels.