Hoosier Resilience Index

Hoosier Resilience Index

Scientific evidence shows that the climate is changing in the Midwest. In Indiana, average temperatures have increased 1.2°F since 1895 and by late century are reasonably expected to increase by 6-10°F more. Precipitation is becoming heavier and more damaging in the winter and spring, and water may become less plentiful in the summer and fall, with implications for agriculture, ecosystems and flood frequency. 

An important initiative is underway at Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute to develop a dynamic resilience index that will be used by local government officials to assess vulnerabilities and preparedness for climate change.

The Environmental Resilience Institute is developing the Hoosier Resilience Index to help local government officials and employees: understand the path to making their communities more resilient to climate change impacts. This decision-making tool will:

  • present the risks specific to individual Hoosier cities, towns and counties;
  • provide information on which risks may be most harmful;
  • evaluate progress towards resilience; and
  • offer assistance in making decisions that lead to greater resilience.

The Institute intends for the Hoosier Resilience Index to be easy to use and understand, informative, objective, inspiring and accessible to the diverse array of cities, towns, and counties within the state and beyond. It will use Indiana-specific data about future environmental conditions. Although the tool will initially be designed for an Indiana audience, the Index is intended to be relevant across a range of community sizes in the Midwest. The Index will help communities understand where to focus their attention and provide a methodology for measuring progress towards resilience. The Index is intended to complement, not duplicate, existing tools for climate-related vulnerability assessments.

This tool will help users understand the gravity of climate change, that adaptation and mitigation are feasible and important, and that resilience is necessary, relevant, and unique to each community. The Index will allow communities to understand their specific risks, strengths, and weaknesses to help them set priorities.

Defining Resilience
Being resilient means we will be able to deal with change in ways that equitably protect the health, welfare and economic vitality of our human and ecological communities. Being resilient is not about running away from our way of life or waiting for the worst to happen, but growing toward stronger, cleaner, healthier, safer, and more vibrant communities. Communities in the Midwest want to become more resilient. When complete, this tool will allow communities to understand their specific risks, strengths and weaknesses to help them set priorities.

Hoosier Resilience Index Committee

Project Managers

  • Janet McCabe, ERI
  • Andrea Webster, ERI
  • Mariana Cains, ERI and SPEA PhD Candidate

Committee Members

  • Eduardo Brondizio, Anthropology
  • Beth Gazley, SPEA
  • Nathan Geiger, Media School
  • Michael Hamburger, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Heather Reynolds, Biology
  • Jim Shanahan, Media School
  • Jacob Simpson, Center for Rural Engagement
  • David Wild, School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering