On Monday, the Indianapolis City-County Council will hold its first Full Council Meeting of the year. The meeting will begin at 7:00 PM at the City-Council building located at 200 E. Washington St.
There are twenty-five proposals on the agenda for Monday's meeting. Most of the proposals are Council Resolutions that reappoint individuals boards. There are a few Rezoning Ordinances, some Special Resolutions that recognize particular groups or individuals, and one that stands out; a Council Resolution to establish a study commission to review the status of the city's response to climate change.
The full agenda is here: https://citybase-cms-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/49d0646d924a46089819aceef67b5d30.pdf
The following Councilors introduced proposal Number One: Barth, Adamson, Potts, Boots, McCormick, Brown, and Carlino.
What is the Proposal Suggesting?
To Establish a study commission that is responsible for the following actions:
Review the status of the city's response to climate change, including the implementation of the "Thrive Indianapolis Plan."
Recommend any needed Council Proposals to advance the priorities of the Thrive Indianapolis Plan
Gather information from the environmental experts and community members to recommend additional policy changes to advance the cause of sustainability and resilience for Indianapolis
What are my thoughts on Proposal Number One?
First and foremost, I am firm is staying true to ensuring every citizen of Indianapolis has clean air, water, and soil. I am disgusted when I drive through my district, and it is littered trash. With a high level of confidence, I know if there were more concentration on litter and waste along our roadways, drains, and bridges, we would serve our waterways with a lot more dignity. I realized litter does not reflect the entirety of the intent behind the proposal, other factors such as the impact of wastewater, air emissions, and other unknown sources of pollution.
However, after talking with former Councilor Janice McHenry, I learned that there is an online tool that was launched by Indiana University's Environmental Resilience Institute that aims at helping local governments and Indiana residents understand how communities are vulnerable to climate change.
The tool is called "The Hoosier Resilience Index." and can be found here: https://hri.eri.iu.edu/. Being that we are concerned with Marion County, I selected it and found this information:
Based on the projected calculations of the Institute for the 2050s, Marion County is on track for an increase in the number of extreme heat events per year and the number of extreme precipitation events per decade.
What do we do about that?
After navigating around the site for a little bit, I stumbled across an entire Toolkit put together by the Environmental Resilience Institute. The toolkit lets you customize your search based on the findings from the Index.
As you can see, there are many options to choose from, and I picked the ones in the Public Health category.
I was immediately delivered more information than what I believe a Commission that the City-County Council is going to put together in X amount of time, ultimately I feel it is unnecessary to recreate the wheel when something so dynamic is already available.
Can we learn from this information?
Most certainly! There is so much information to consume. It would be an audacity if you made a campaign promise to ensure a better climate for the Citizens of Indianapolis and did not utilize this toolset and all the information that comes with it.
Is Indianapolis already doing something?
Indianapolis has an Office of Sustainability whose objective is to build a more sustainable city. This office developed what they call the "Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan" in 2018. This plan focuses on climate change by "preemptively identifying risks and the appropriate hazard mitigation projects that will reduce damage to a home, businesses, schools, and county infrastructure."
List of Successful Indianapolis Environmental Programs
Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Get the Dirt News
Letter Flanner House Garden and Flanner Garden (2014)
Cultural Trail 8 Mile Walk, Ride and Share through Metropolitan Indianapolis
Rail to Trails Monon Trail to the North
Green Building Trade Policies
Walk-Able Convention and Trade Center, Only a few in the World
Indy Bus Transit move to Natural Gas and Electrical
Buses Indy Parks Garden Program, Garden to Table Program
Felege Hiywot Center Urban Garden (2004)
Purdue Extension Office Urban Garden Program
IUPUI Indianapolis Campus, Greenspace Campus Project (2013)
10 Recycling Centers in Indianapolis
IUPUI Student Council Litter Pick it Up Program
IPL changed from coal to natural gas (2014)
What am I going to do?
Democrats and Republicans can come together and celebrate, enhance, and promote existing programs, private and public, that assist in environmental awareness. The City Council can move forward with providing support and incentives through funding, policy change, and visionary policymaking without forming another "commission" that will only talk about change. Indianapolis is the living example of "climate change" through the various programs already in place and making an impact.
Unless any new information gets to me before it is time to vote, my vote is "No." I believe it is an unwise use of time and funds to create a commission for something that already exists. Additionally, Indianapolis already has an Office of Sustainability with efforts focused on climate change. It is more critical to focus our efforts and resources on the communities impacted by the influx of crime. Improving the livelihood of the African American Community in Indianapolis is worth a "Yes" Vote.