Author: Jim Poyser, Executive Director of Earth Charter Indiana
This chapter details the remarkable convergence of numerous key players in the effort to inspire Indiana, finally, to take climate action. In the past four to five years, things are shifting — mostly at a municipal level. Our work at Earth Charter Indiana is part of a grassroots movement to motivate that process.
IU’s Environmental Resilience Institute along with the IN CCIA led by Purdue University have been essential to this citizen movement. These resources — and their helpful experts — provide rich, detailed, and accessible data, tools, surveys and educational platforms.
That’s vital, because our schools generally don’t teach climate and our statewide leaders remain silent on this important issue. Hoosiers have had to work hard to get up to speed on climate impacts. This self-education process is made easier thanks to IU and Purdue – but also other Indiana educational institutions like Earlham, Ball State, Indiana State University and Notre Dame. Of course, Mother Nature has been the most adamant and persuasive instructor, from frequent flooding to rising heat index to potholes. And who is listening most intently to these instructions?
Indiana’s youth, from third graders on up through college.
I have seen kids try to turn their cafeterias into zero waste systems, advocate for more climate education by meeting with their school superintendent and raise chickens, goats, tilapia, and vegetables of all kinds. I have seen kids advocate for solar power at their schools and less idling by school buses and parents’ cars.
I have seen kids testify at the Statehouse and in city council chambers all over Indiana. I have seen them deliver powerpoints on climate impacts to elected officials, speak poems of hope and despair, and I have seen them cry.