Thursday, June 12, 2014

Establishing a Climate Action Plan for Indiana

In September of 2013, I became executive director of Earth Charter Indiana, Inc. This happy concatenation of coincidences and, well, a bit of magic, has been catalogued elsewhere. Suffice to say I was hired to launch a youth program, which we did so in May, called Youth Power Indiana.

Our tagline: Youth-driven climate stewardship and civic leadership.

While Youth Power Indiana has been engaged in all sorts of sustainability actions and celebrations, i.e. climate stewardship, our first real act of civic leadership took place on June 11, when we approached the Environmental Rules Board with a Petition for Rulemaking, with the goal of establishing a Climate Action Plan for Indiana.

Indiana is in the minority of states in the US without a Climate Action Plan. Thirty-four states have one, 16 do not.

From left to right: Zalika, Julia, Lex, Rosemary, Bri, Jim and Jackson.
Above, here we are after the presentation — pretty happy looking, aren't we? Well, we should be. Each young person took on their challenge beautifully, turning their messages into a request for leadership and hope for partnership.

I'll speak solely from my impressions. The board members were kind and attentive. They listened deeply to each speaker, showing respect for our young people.

Afterward, a number of us approached board members with handshakes and smiles. I saw our youth team doing the same thing — I was so impressed with their maturity and poise!

We believe we have jumped thru the legal hoops of this formal process called a Petition for Rulemaking. We have over 200 bona fide signatures — from climatologists, doctors, teachers, lawyers, writers and artists. We believe our proposal has merit: climate change is real and threatening our lives.

We will hope that the Environmental Rules Board feels the same and allows our proposal to continue so that everyday Hoosiers can make their voice be heard. Next step would be a public hearing in the coming months.

Want to support these youth? Then sign our petition!

It took a lot of work to put together our finished product:

This 300 page behemoth contains our proposal, our Statement of Reasons and our Petitions, along with CVs of the petitioners. A CD contained in the package provides our support materials in electronic form. We hated to use so much paper as it was!

Putting this all together was an epic, two-day affair.

Jackson goes thru the single-line petitions.

Fortunately, we were able to move the operation into the Krannert room at the Indiana Interchurch.
We were running out of room!

Left to right: Lex, Jackson, Cami and Bri go thru the resumes.

Time to stretch!

Painstaking work to get each petition matched with its resume.

Even my son Julian stopped by to help!

Growing evidence of our progress.

Making sure each package is complete.
On day two we moved locations to house where the three-hole punching fest began. We were fortunate to receive some other materials — beautiful drawings rendered by some local children.

The binding process: Lex, Jackson and Zalika.

Checking out the menu for Jockamo Pizza!

We had to complete over two dozen binders.

Lex is feeling pretty good!

A well earned reward: great pizza! Also joining us that day, Lindsay, far right.

Signing on the dotted line, Rosemary and me.
Maybe I'm living in some kind of Frank Capra film, but right now — even 24 hours later — I'm feeling ebullient. A Climate Action Plan gets us all in the same room to discuss how we're going to preserve our environment for future generations. At the same time we can discuss the economic challenges and opportunities. Together we can work this out, transcend our dichotomies and disputes.

Our young people are counting on us.