Leaders in the Fort Worth community are developing a complex with the potential to become the epicenter for tackling global environmental challenges.
The International Environmental Complex, also known as Ecoplex, will house a diverse community of scientists, academics, business owners and entrepreneurs in hopes to revolutionize the global sustainability standard.
“Ecoplex would become a place for sustainability industries and corporations to office down the hall from NGOs and non-profits,” said Becky Johnson, Ecoplex board member and professor of environmental science at TCU. “This has never been done before — bringing great minds into the same space makes great things happen.”
The Ecoplex mission is to bring environmentalists together from different industries to take on the world’s urgent environmental issues, separate from the government. “This idea de-politicizes sustainability,” said Ecoplex President Joseph Horn. “Ecoplex looks to be the anchor to take on sustainability issues separate from Congress.”
Ecoplex’s unique star-shaped layout will house five main centers for sustainability. The first center is America’s first-ever environmental science museum, the National Environmental Museum. The museum will become the outreach piece to educate the community.
Merritt Coleman, a senior environmental science major said, “The museum could help people see that sustainable practices are the future. Sustainability is all about increasing awareness on an individual level—the museum is a great idea.”
The Center for Innovation and Applied Solutions will merge science and business to inspire entrepreneurs to find sustainable commercial solutions.
The Earth Epicenter will become a shared office complex with industry officials, scientists and environmental non-profits.
The Center for Global Resilience will focus on climate change education and preventative measures to keep humanity from an environmental catastrophe.
Finally, the Ecoleaders Institute will educate youth and help put youth in leadership positions within the sustainability community.
“The problems we have created are now the future generation’s problems,” said Horn. “The youth get to have a say on voting in our Ecoplex board members—we want a board that represents all interests.”
The International Environmental Complex also plans to pave the way for sustainable operation. The complex will process its own waste, generate its own energy and recycle its own water on the building site. “By doing this, we will decrease our reliance on the Texas energy grid and become more self-reliant in hopes to model how others can as well,” said Horn.
Fort Worth is an ideal place for Ecoplex to break ground. “Fort Worth is doing a lot of great things in sustainability, but it doesn’t get recognized,” said Johnson. Most sustainability non-profits are located on the coasts, so building Ecoplex in middle America would create exposure without increasing competition.
“Texas is known for oil and gas,” said Horn. “But Texas is also a leader in wind and solar energy; leaders in Fort Worth are pro-sustainable growth, and I think the city leaders would support this project.”
Ecoplex is now in the funding stage and looking for donors to support the building of the complex. The completion date is unknown, but the members of the board are optimistic and are excited for the future.