Prepared for Environmental Change Webinar Series

The Prepared for Environmental Change Webinar Series provides cost-free trainings for local government officials and staff on topics that support local government leaders as they prepare their communities for higher average temperatures year-round, increased precipitation during spring and winter months and all of the impacts that occur as a result. Topics are selected for a Midwestern audience. 

The series is hosted by the Environmental Resilience Institute, Accelerate Indiana Municipalities and the Association of Indiana Counties. These webinars are sponsored by Health by Design and the Indiana Public Health Association.

The Connections Between Racial Equity and Climate Change

Oct 14, 2020; 12 - 1 PM Eastern

Environmental issues and racial inequity have been intertwined for decades, and climate change is no exception. During this webinar, speakers will review the various ways people of color and low-income communities bear an unfair portion of the burden of environmental issues. They will also suggest policies and other approaches to rectify this inequity.

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Addressing the Burden of Energy Costs on Low-income Households

Nov 11, 2020; 12 - 1 PM Eastern

The term "energy burden" describes how much household income pays for heating, cooling and transportation. Energy bills can be a major financial burden for some families, and can have real implications on the health and well-being of individuals. As Indiana gets warmer, bills for air conditioning will increase, though heating needs may diminish. How will this affect Hoosiers? Attend this webinar to learn more about this topic and identify tangible ways to address this issue in your community.

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Future Topics

  • Reducing energy use in city water movement
  • Incorporating climate change into comprehensive plans
  • Incorporating climate change into multi-hazard mitigation plans
  • Building up local food systems through the lens of equity
  • Effective communication strategies to constructively engage the apathetic and unconcerned
  • Addressing heat-preparedness in underserved communities
  • Using the built environment to minimize the impacts of climate change

These topics were identified through the annual webinar topics survey. To submit your input, sign up for the Environmental Resilience Institute's public and local government e-newsletters.

One of my favorite things about the webinar series is that it's specific enough to be relevant to my work but general enough to appeal to people in other fields

Katherine Moore Powell, a climate change ecologist at the Field Museum in Chicago

Hearing experts address an Indiana and Midwest audience and hosted by an Indiana institution is very helpful to me in making the case for the importance of these issues

Therese Dorau, the City of South Bend’s Director of Sustainability

Indiana's New Model Solar Ordinance - Held September 9, 2020

View this webinar to learn about the details of a model solar ordinance designed for local governments in Indiana and hear from a local government in Indiana that has already adopted solar energy systems standards.


  • Bob Thompson, Director of Development and Stormwater Management, Porter County 
  • Brian Ross, Program Director, Great Plains Institute 

Managing Extreme Heat - Held July 8, 2020

View this webinar to learn how extreme temperatures can impact your community and strategies for developing extreme heat response plans.


  • Colleen Moran, Bureau Strategic Initiatives Coordinator, Wisconsin Division of Public Health
  • Vivek Shandas, Principal, CAPA Strategies

The Economic Value of Preparedness and Resilience - Held June 10, 2020

View this webinar to learn about resources that help local governments make informed decisions on where to allocate funding, and how to weigh outcomes versus expenditures.


  • William Liao, Crisis Technologies Innovation Lab, Indiana University Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering
  • Jessica Davis, Director of Sustainabiltiy, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Communicable Diseases and Environmental Change - Is there a Connection? - Held May 13, 2020

Hear directly from scientists on how environmental change can exacerbate the spread of new viruses and diseases.


  • Dr. Gabe Filippelli, Chancellor's Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Director of the Center for Urban Health, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
  • Dr. Stephen Jay, Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Public Health, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Effectively Communicating with the Public During a Crisis - Held April 8, 2020

Learn about effective communication strategies for extenuating circumstances.


  • Jennifer Wagner, Founding Principal, Mass Ave Public Relations
  • Allison Barber, Indiana Red Cross

FutureWater: A New Resource from ERI - Held April 6, 2020

(Note - this webinar, which is not part of our regular webinar series, is targeted towards an audience familiar with technical water data analysis.)

Learn how FutureWater research data could help advance solutions in agriculture, wastewater treatment, land use, and species migration, among other applications.


  • Chen Zhu, Professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Indiana University
  • Marlon Pierce, Director, Cyberinfrastructure Integration Research Center, Indiana University

Responding to Floods - Held March 11, 2020

Learn more about critical concepts and action steps local governments need to know to respond to a flood once it has happened.


  • Jason Kauffman, City of Goshen Stormwater Coordinator
  • Manuela Johnson, Indiana Department of Homeland Security State Disaster Recovery Program Administrator

Zoning Code and Comprehensive Plan Strategies for Climate Resilience - Held December 11, 2019

Learn how local governments can build more resilient communities through planning and zoning code updates and ordinance best practices. Due to technical difficulties, we do not have a recording of this webinar. See the live tweets from the webinar and the speaker's presentations below. Contact ERI at eri@iu.edu or 812-855-8539 for an accessible version of the presentations. 


The Hoosier Resilience Index: Understand Your Community's Preparedness - Held November 13, 2019

Learn more about how the Hoosier Resilience Index can help your community become more resilient to climate change. Not sure which initiatives to focus on to better prepare your community for climate change? Watch this webinar to find out.


  • Janet McCabe, Director, Environmental Resilience Institute
  • Andrea Webster, Implementation Manager, Environmental Resilience Institute

Identifying Public Health Solutions for Climate Change Impacts - Held October 9, 2019

Learn about solutions that highlight how local communities can prepare for the health effects of climate change.


  • Paul Schramm, MS, MPH, Climate Science Team Lead, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Dr. Ted Smith, Deputy Director at the Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute and Director of the Center for Healthy Air Water and Soil

Ticks, Asthma and Allergies: How the Changing Climate Affects our Health - Held September 11, 2019

Learn about the impact of climate change on human health, and how climate responsive design can help mitigate climate change and address environmental challenges to improve the health of individuals and communities.


  • Melissa Widhalm, Operations Manager, Purdue Climate Change Research Center, Purdue University
  • Dana Habeeb, Assistant Professor, Department of Informatics, Indiana University

Lessons from North Carolina: The Unexpected Consequences of Urban and Rural Flooding - Held August 14, 2019

Learn about North Carolina’s post-Florence experience, how flooding can impact local communities, and the unexpected consequences of flooding.


  • Blakely Hildebrand, Southern Environmental Law Center
  • Nick Torrey, Southern Environmental Law Center
  • Jen Schmitz, Triangle J Council of Governments

Planning for Electric Vehicles - Held July 10, 2019

Learn how Crawfordsville, Indiana, installed their first EV charging stations, and what resources are available for you to get started. General information on electric vehicles and charging infrastructure is also discussed.


  • Phil Goode, General Manager, Crawfordsville Electric Light and Power
  • Leah Thill, Senior Environmental Planner, Michiana Area Council of Governments

Funding and Installing Solar Energy in Your Community - Held June 12, 2019

Learn about resources, tools, and funding opportunities for how your community can start and expand solar projects, and hear from the Ben Davis High School project manager who coordinated their recent 7,200 panel solar project.


  • Leah Thill, Senior Environmental Planner, Michiana Area Council of Governments
  • Therese Dorau, Director of Sustainability, City of South Bend
  • Pete Just, Chief Operations and Technology Officer, MSD of Wayne Township

Achieving Flood Resilience in Indiana Rural Communities in the Face of a Changing Climate - Held May 8, 2019

Learn how your community could be impacted by flooding, and what kinds of approaches local officials can consider in order to evaluate and prepare for rural hazards.


  • Bob Barr, Research Scientist, Center for Earth and Environmental Science, IUPUI
  • Siavash Beik, Vice President and Principal Engineer, Christopher B. Burke Engineering, LLC

Installing Wind Energy in Your Community - Held April 10, 2019

Learn how to make wind farms a part of your community, and to hear from a county commissioner who facilitated wind farm installations and lives near them as well.


  • Beth Soholt, Executive Director, Clean Grid Alliance
  • Steve Burton, County Commissioner, White County, Indiana 

Managing Storm Sewer Flooding - Held March 13, 2019

Learn about South Bend, Indiana's use of smart sewer technology to manage stormwater, and about the Iowa Watershed Approach, a $97 million statewide program aimed at reducing flood risk, improving water quality, and building community flood resilience.


  • Larry Weber, Co-Founder of the Iowa Flood Center
  • Kieran Fahey, Department of Public Works, City of South Bend

Using Greenspace and Vegetation as an Adaptation Strategy - Held February 13, 2019

Learn about the City of Gary’s comprehensive green infrastructure plan and data collection, and mapping efforts underway in other Midwestern cities to increase community-wide understanding of related costs and benefits.


  • Brenda Scott Henry, Director of Environmental and Green Urbanism & MS4 Coordinator, City of Gary, Indiana
  • Heather Reynolds, Associate Professor of Biology, Indiana University Bloomington
  • Jeffrey Wilson, Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Geography, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Identifying Your Community's Vulnerabilities to Environmental Change - Held January 8, 2019

Learn how to assess your community’s vulnerabilities to environmental changes such as higher and more frequent precipitation in the winter and spring with less soil water available in the summer.


  • Jason Cervenec, Education and Outreach Director, Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, State Climate Office of Ohio
  • Melissa Stults, Sustainability and Innovations Manager, City of Ann Arbor

An Introduction to ERIT - Held November 13, 2018