After a summer break, the Environmental Resilience Institute's Prepared for Environmental Change (PfEC) Webinar Series is back for its 2021-2022 season. The first webinar, "Community Solar Projects to Enhance Resilience and Promote a Just Energy Transition," is set for 12 p.m. EST Wednesday, Sept. 8. The presentation will focus on Indianapolis' initiative to provide solar panels to low-income households and what it means to carry out a just energy transition.
"This year we definitely decided to dedicate a lot of our time to environmental justice and equity issues, which are really important," said ERI Resilience Toolkit Coordinator Beverley Thompson, who helped organize the series. "We're continuing on with that theme and trying to add an equity and justice component to every webinar that we're doing."
Launched in 2018, the PfEC series dives into environmental topics relevant to local governments throughout Indiana and the Midwest, such as local food systems,energy efficient water use, and public crisis communication. Each event features presentations from local government staff and subject matter experts, with time at the end for questions. All webinars are free and open to anyone who registers.
This season's webinar lineup was inspired by the results of a community survey conducted in June. ERI staff paid particular attention to which topics local government-affiliated survey respondents said were the most important to them. "We know local governments are doing a lot to figure out how to make their communities more resilient to climate change," Thompson said. "What they want to know more about is really important."
ERI Resilience Cohort Coordinator Steven Chybowski is also involved with the planning of the webinar series, but his experience with the series stretches back to a previous job with the City of Fishers.
"I used to tune into these webinars to help me brainstorm projects and get ideas for things I could be working on," he said. "I think it's a great resource for local governments in Indiana."
For Chybowski, one of the primary benefits attendees receive from the webinar series is hearing about other Midwestern communities' experiences tackling the long-term challenges posed by climate change.
"It also helps communities' network with other local governments that are working on these issues of climate resilience," Chybowski said.
Anyone with topic ideas for future webinars can email email@example.com with the subject line "Webinar Series Idea."