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Youth-led Climate Recovery Resolution Passes City-County Council

March 17, 2017

 

When the Indianapolis City-County Council passed the Climate Recovery Resolution (with a 20-4 vote) in late February, Earth Charter Indiana and members of its youth program, Youth Power Indiana, were in attendance.

 

The Resolution was heard in the Public Works Committee on Feb. 9, and passed on Feb. 27. At that hearing, nine young people (ages 10 to 20 years old) from eight schools were represented. Many schools signed a petition supporting the Resolution, resulting in more than 700 signatures.

 

Two IPS schools participated in gathering signatures: Sidener Academy for High Ability Students and Rousseau McClellan School 91. Students from Rousseau McClellan and Shortridge International Baccalaureate High School testified at the Public Works Committee.

 

“I am overjoyed that Indianapolis will stand as an example for our residents and other cities against the causes of global climate change,” said City Council Vice President Zach Adamson, the sponsor of the resolution. “I’m proud to have played a small role behind the extraordinary drive and effort of these young Hoosiers who will inherit the world we leave them.”

The Resolution also featured democrat Duke Oliver and republican Jeff Miller as co-sponsors.

“The past year of my life or so has been dedicated to the climate recovery resolution project, and Monday, February 27, we made history,” said Maddie Brooks, a sophomore at Herron High School and one of the youth leaders. “Knowing that Indianapolis is now taking steps to protect the youth's future is incredibly uplifting and brings hope to my heart.”

 

Dr. Gabe Filippelli, professor of Earth Sciences at IUPUI said that the day the Resolution passed, Indianapolis took a huge leap forward toward reducing reliance on fossil fuel, limiting our impact on global climate, and improving the health of citizens and our own environment.

 

“By committing to addressing climate change on the local level, Indianapolis is now an active voice adding to a groundswell of cities across the country who are taking climate action into our own hands,” said Dr. Filippelli, an academic advisor for the Resolution.

 

To prepare for this Resolution process, Indianapolis youth met over the past year with city officials from the Department of Public Works, the Office of Sustainability, and with members of the City-County Council, along with local climate change experts and formal educators. Consequently, their understanding of climate science along with a sense of how municipal government works were both greatly enhanced.

The Climate Recovery Resolution states: “A proposal for a special resolution to reduce carbon emissions, increase energy efficiency and renewable energy use, to create a climate change-resilient City of Indianapolis that will protect the children and grandchildren of the community.”

The Resolution calls for carbon neutrality in city functions by 2050; the creation of a climate action plan for Indianapolis, a process to begin within 30 days of passage; and recognition of the need for community involvement and input, including the youth voice, in determining Indy’s future.

“I’m grateful that our youth leaders were heard. I hope more adults begin listening to their message so that we can begin the real work of aligning action with the desire that I believe we all share: to provide a healthy and positive future for our children,” said Kristina Hulvershorn, an adult mentor and Indianapolis program manager for Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers (HEART).

 

Youth Power Director Jim Poyser, who also serves as Earth Charter Indiana’s executive director, said, “Given that Carmel, Indiana, passed a similar resolution the week before ours passed, I’d say Indiana is a state where elected municipal officials are getting serious about climate change, regardless of party affiliation. Don’t our kids and grandkids deserve that?”

 

Earth Charter Indiana is a statewide nonprofit formed in 2001, to advance the principles of the Earth Charter, a global blueprint for peaceful, just and sustainable living.