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Young representatives craft climate change resolution for Indy

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Kid representatives in support of the Climate Recovery Resolution get their pictures taken after the resolution was passed by the Public Works Committee. - MICHELE WHITEHAIR
  • Michele Whitehair
  • Kid representatives in support of the Climate Recovery Resolution get their pictures taken after the resolution was passed by the Public Works Committee.

Indiana lawmakers are currently deciding the fate of multiple bills regarding the environment as we speak. There’s SB 309, which would remove net metering from businesses and residences that invest in wind and solar energy. There’s also HB 1494, which seeks to deregulate the construction of commercial farms and a whole host of other bills aimed at regulating or deregulating Indiana’s approach to the environment.

Some Indianapolis residents, though, are looking to address environmental issues and climate change in their city by committing to a climate action plan.

On Feb. 9, the Indianapolis City-County Council’s Public Works Committee heard a Climate Recovery Resolution put forth by Earth Charter Indiana and its youth program, Youth Power Indiana.

“Regardless of how you feel about it, this is the right thing to do,” City Councilman Jeff Miller said during the meeting.

The resolution is, “a proposal for a special resolution to reduce carbon emissions, increase energy efficiency and renewable energy use, to create a climate change-resilient City of Indianapolis that will protect the children and grandchildren of the community,” according to the press release.

“Humans created this problem and we need to fix it,” said Ella, one of the kids who spoke in favor of the resolution. Ella is 10 years old and spoke about the reasons behind climate change.

Nine of the speakers for the resolution were representing Youth Power Indiana. Ages of those speakers ranged from 10-year-old Ella to a sophomore at IUPUI.

“It would have been easy to have a lot more [speakers] than that,” said Jim Poyser, the executive director of Earth Charter Indiana and the director of Youth Power Indiana, “but that was what the request was…so we wouldn’t overwhelm the committee with too many speakers.” 

Cora Gordon was another speaker at the meeting. She is a sophomore at North Central in Indianapolis. 

Gordon spoke about how one of the main concerns of the young people she spoke to while working on the resolution was climate change. She said she wanted to speak about the resolution because “in the current political climate, a lot of kids feel helpless.”

“It was important to me to get up there as a role model for not only those kids, but also my brother and peers,” she continued.

Other speakers mentioned that passing the resolution would set Indianapolis as a model for other cities in the state and country to adopt similar resolutions.

“It’s an act of leadership for a city to pass a resolution saying we have to pay attention to climate change,” Poyser said. “This is not happening in a lot of cities in Indiana on an official basis.”

After each of the kids spoke, they handed over a petition signed by students at their schools in support of the resolution.

A total of 682 signatures were handed over.

Poyser said the group has been working for the last year on the resolution, meeting with scientists and city leaders.

“The resolution is a combination of setting benchmarks for carbon neutrality in city functions, looking out over time, but it’s also about how the city can be of inspiration to its citizens to be more carbon aware,” Poyser said.

The resolution included amendments, one of which gave a deadline of 2050 for the city to be carbon neutral.

After the kids and others in the community spoke, the committee voted on the resolution, unanimously voting to send it to the City Council. The kids who were gathered at the meeting were met with two standing ovations to celebrate their work.

Poyser said he was told the resolution would be heard by the whole City Council on Feb. 27.


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