Indiana is taking a significant step towards a more sustainable future by initiating its first-ever Climate Action Plan. With an initial federal grant to start the planning process, the Hoosier State has the opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and harmful air pollutants, enhance resilience to environmental challenges, and protect natural resources.
This exciting development paves the way for additional federal funding to bring these climate solutions to life. However, the success of this endeavor greatly depends on grassroots community engagement. Below, we outline how you can get involved in shaping Indiana's climate future.
Opportunities for Engagement
Attend a Public Meeting: One of the key ways to participate in this transformative process is to attend an upcoming public meeting. These meetings provide a platform for community members to express their views and ideas for developing a comprehensive climate action plan. If you plan to attend a meeting, come prepared to speak up for climate solutions that are important to you and your community. Keep an eye out for upcoming meetings here.
Take the Survey: Indicate your priorities for your community by participating in IDEM's survey. Your input is valuable and will play a crucial role in shaping the climate action plan. The deadline for survey participation is November 29, 2023.
Spread the Word: Share this information with your community and encourage others to participate in shaping Indiana's climate action efforts. Houses of Worship and community gatherings can be great platforms for raising awareness and inspiring others to get involved!
Submit a public comment to IDEM staff at email@example.com.
Preparing Your Comments
When it comes to providing your input through public comment, it's important to be well-prepared. Here are some tips to consider when preparing your comments:
Share Your Experiences and Concerns: Speak about your personal experiences and concerns related to climate change and pollution in your community that you'd like to see addressed in the plan.
Vision for the Plan: Share your vision for what the plan could accomplish and how it can benefit your community.
Local Focus: Address issues that are particularly important to your community or region. Each area may have specific needs and concerns.
Expertise is Not Required: You don't need to be a scientific expert to make meaningful comments. Your perspective as a community member matters!
Personalize Your Comments: Consider personalizing your comments to address issues that are close to your heart. Storytelling is a powerful part of effective advocacy.
If you need inspiration on what to focus your comments on, Here are some key topic areas that are typically addressed in a Climate Action Plan:
Carbon Sequestration in Agriculture and Forestry
Urban Tree Cover
Generation of Electricity
Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Energy Efficiency and Solar Panels for Residential and Commercial Buildings
Waste and Materials Management
You can also explore IDEM's Draft Action List to review the specific actions under each topic area. This will help you decide what to comment on, whether you want to express strong support for certain actions, express concerns about others, or suggest additional actions.
Here are some examples of how to expand and personalize your comments:
Local Climate Action Plans: Ensure that grant money is directed to local planning efforts and that robust resources are provided to community stakeholders for successful implementation.
Support for Low-Income and BIPOC Communities: These communities have historically carried the largest burdens from industrial pollution and climate change—often lacking the resources to fully benefit from the transition to renewable energy. Advocate for a comprehensive Climate Action Plan that directs resources to communities that need it most so that they can equitably participate in the clean energy transition.
Expand Access to Solar for All: Advocate for community solar projects to make solar energy accessible to the nearly 50% of all households, churches and businesses that cannot put solar panels on their own roof or property. With community solar, residents can subscribe to a solar project in their community and receive a credit on their utility bill for their share of the electricity that is generated by the panels.
Support Schools: Stress the importance of funding for local schools to install solar panels, phase out their diesel bus fleets, and replace them with electric vehicles. This will reduce air pollution, benefiting students, neighbors, and taxpayers.
Protect Wetlands: Highlight the importance of protecting wetlands, which can help mitigate household flooding intensified by climate change.
Above all else, remember that your voice matters! Indiana's Climate Action Plan is a chance for Hoosiers to shape the future of their state. By actively participating in the planning process, you can influence the direction and priorities of this critical initiative.
Your comments, concerns, and ideas will play a vital role in ensuring that Indiana's response to our shared climate crisis is effective, inclusive, and sustainable. Don't miss the opportunity to make a difference in your community!