The 2020 Resilience Cohort: Planning for Action will provide the opportunity for nine Indiana city, town, and county governments to analyze the results of their community greenhouse gas inventories and develop a climate action plan. Participating communities will receive support from the Environmental Resilience Institute, ICLEI USA, and have the opportunity to apply for a 10-week summer intern through Sustain IU’s Indiana Sustainability Development Program to boost staff capacity for the project.
Who is ICLEI?
ICLEI is a nonprofit organization that helps local governments pursue deep reductions in carbon pollution and tangible improvements in sustainability and resilience. For more than 25 years, ICLEI has helped communities reduce emissions and become healthier, stronger, more equitable and more prepared.
What is a climate action plan?
A climate action plan is a document used to set greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals and identify actions to meet these goals. Local governments will select actions based on data from previously conducted greenhouse gas inventories and using input from the public.
Examples of climate action plans
- Butler University Sustainability and Climate Action Plan
- City of Traverse City Climate Action Plan
- Dubuque Community Climate Action & Resiliency Plan
- Thrive Indianapolis
Examples of possible actions included in other Midwestern greenhouse gas reduction plans
- Energy efficiency and conservation measures
- Clean energy projects
- Waste reduction or recycling programs
- Public transportation upgrades
- Expansion of tree canopy coverage
- Embracing and supporting electric and alternative fuel vehicles
- Improved stormwater management and retention
- Encouraging adoption of alternative commute incentives by local businesses and organizations
Hire a Summer Intern to Support Plan Development
Apply for a Summer Extern through the Indiana Sustainability Development Program
To support the development of a climate action plan, 2020 Resilience Cohort participants are invited to apply for a summertime IU student extern through the Indiana Sustainability Development Program (ISDP). The deadline to apply for an extern is December 13, 2019. The application to participate in the 2020 Cohort, either with or without a Sustain IU extern, is combined with the Indiana Sustainability Development Program application.
Extern or Intern Engagement
Summer interns hired through ISDP and elsewhere will attend an in-person climate action plan training session and will start their placements in May. During their placements, these students will help develop the climate action plan by reviewing the greenhouse gas reduction analysis, coordinating community input and cross-departmental participation, prioritizing reduction actions, and drafting the plan. Summer interns will leave their host communities in August 2020.
2020 Program Timeline
The 2020 Resilience Cohort will begin in January. Environmental Resilience Institute staff and ICLEI USA will work with the staff liaison from participating communities to identify, evaluate, and begin to prioritize carbon-reducing opportunities. Institute staff will help the liaisons with greenhouse gas reduction strategy analysis and ICLEI USA will provide software and technical assistance through regularly scheduled webinars, individual consultation, facilitated peer networking, and guidance on specific tasks for target setting, forecasting emission reductions, identifying benefits and costs of greenhouse gas reduction actions, and selecting strategies to engage community members. Participating communities will select a greenhouse gas reduction target as a basis for prioritizing reduction actions.
While not necessary, summer interns are highly encouraged to boost staff capacity during the summer to help draft the climate action plan, coordinate community input and cross-departmental participation, and complete other analysis as needed. The community liaison will continue to lead the project. Local governments will be encouraged to complete their draft climate action plans by September 2020.
One last community review of the final draft will take place, in anticipation of going to the mayor, city or town council, county commission, or other approving body for adoption.
Costs to Participating Communities
ICLEI members - No cost
Non-ICLEI members - Based on community population size
- 50,000 people or less: $300
- 50,000 people or more: $800
- A dedicated local government staff person. ICLEI estimates local government staff time at 10 – 15 hours a month, on average, for nine months (January – September), plus the amount of time it takes to get the climate action plan adopted.
- Optional: If the community decides to host an IU extern to support Cohort participation, the local government will need to provide a computer, workspace, and phone for the extern, and will be asked to contribute to the partial cost of the student stipend.
The Institute thanks the McKinney Family Foundation and the Duke Energy Foundation for their generous support of the 2020 Resilience Cohort.
2019 Resilience Cohort: Community-wide Greenhouse Gas Inventories
The 2019 Resilience Cohort provided 14 Indiana cities, towns and counties with training, technical resources, a peer network and capacity to complete a community-scale greenhouse gas inventory. Communities chose between two inventory protocols: the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC) or the US Community Protocol. Participating local governments received access to ClearPath, ICLEI’s cloud-based inventory software, as well as an Indiana-specific training and online network, one-on-one technical assistance, access to ICLEI’s online peer networking community, and recognition through ICLEI’s Milestones Award upon completion of their inventories.
2019 Cohort Members
Delaware County / Muncie
The 2019 Cohort was part of Sustain IU's Indiana Sustainability Development Program (ISDP). The partnership connected undergraduate and graduate student externs with eight participating local governments to assist with the inventories.
Read the Institute’s press release announcing the 2019 Cohort.
What is a greenhouse gas inventory?
A greenhouse gas inventory is a fundamental first step to becoming a more resilient community. The process provides data on the amount of energy consumed, the diversity of energy supplied to the grid, a community's vehicle type and fuel usage distribution and more. Communities completing inventories can use the data to set a reduction target and develop a plan for reducing those emissions.
The Institute thanks the McKinney Family Foundation and Earth Charter Indiana for their generous support of the 2019 Resilience Cohort.
Resilience Cohort Staff
Planning for Action Coordinator
Lasher is a junior at Indiana University majoring in environmental sustainability studies and geography. This past summer, she was a Resilience Cohort intern for Evansville, where she conducted community-wide and local government operations greenhouse gas inventories. She also coordinated the Solarize Evansville program, which has resulted in dozens of new solar installations in the Evansville area. In her role with the Environmental Resilience Institute, Lasher supports the Resilience Cohort program.
Webster established the Resilience Cohort program in 2019, and continues to manage the program through participant recruitment, technical support, and strategy development. In her overarching role with the Environmental Resilience Institute, Webster connects Indiana mayors, county commissioners, and local government staff with research and resources to help them prepare their communities for climate change. She developed and manages ERIT, the Hoosier Resilience Index, and the Prepared for Environmental Change Webinar Series.