Indiana received $3 million from the federal government to develop a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The state Department of Environmental Management held the first of several public meetings Tuesday night in Indianapolis.
Some of the projects the agency is considering include ways to expand clean energy, improve energy efficiency, increase electric vehicle use, expand access to public transit and reduce food waste.
About 40 cities in Indiana already have — or are working on — climate action plans. Shannon Anderson works with cities and youth activists through the nonprofit Earth Charter Indiana. She said it’s important that the state fund and serve the communities already doing this work.
“I think moving some of that work back into our communities not only helps build equity and resilience, but it also serves people," Anderson said.
Several participants expressed concern the state might prioritize big companies and institutions that can more easily apply for funding.
Anderson said Indiana should also consider projects that making solar and electric buses more available to schools — which can empower disadvantaged communities.
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Shawn Miya is the city of Bloomington’s assistant director for sustainability. She said the state needs to do more to educate Hoosiers about climate change — what causes it and what they can do to lower emissions.
“How climate change is impacting our health, our economy, our infrastructure, our emergency services — so that they are more motivated," Miya said.
A participant also mentioned the need to combat misinformation about renewable energy in rural communities.
IDEM will also hold public meetings in Fort Wayne, Portage, and Ferdinand. They’ll also be streamed online.