ECI Night at the Pacers
by Jim Poyser
Earth Charter Indiana Night at the Indiana Pacers is our annual opportunity to help the Pacers launch their NBA Green Week participation. We’ve done this event three years in a row now, and it’s great fun because, thanks to supporters such as The Indianapolis Foundation, the McKinney Family Foundation and Republic Services, we’re able to gift dozens of tickets to young people who might otherwise not be able to attend a Pacers game.
This year’s ECI Night was especially significant for the following reasons:
• Having made progress in the past 12 or so months in our climate recovery resolution work in Indiana, we were able to invite active youth teams from four cities: Gary and Greenwood, currently working on climate projects, Indianapolis, who passed their resolution February 2017, and Lawrence, who passed theirs last September.
• Teaming up with Republic Services, the Pacers now have recycling bins placed in the Fieldhouse at key areas. As part of our service that night, our youth stationed themselves at the bins, guiding sports fans to deposit their used cups, napkins, etc. to the proper destination. Some of our attendees, students from School 91 and Oaklandon, are currently working on zero-waste cafeteria projects, so this was a sweet connection to make.
• We learned at this event that Second Helpings, in partnership with Bankers Life Fieldhouse venue staff and Julia Spangler, Sustainable Events Consultant, achieved a zero-waste milestone for their March 14 Corks & Forks fundraiser. According to the press release, “Corks & Forks 2018 achieved a waste diversion rate of 92%. This means that 92% of the waste generated by the event was recycled or composted, and only 8% were disposed of as trash.” Our Indiana Pacers/Fieldhouse friends were proud of this, and they should be, as it bodes well for the continued development of their sustainability actions.
• Finally, the event was noteworthy for the fact that our friends from Steel City Academy in Gary decided to spend the day with us. They arrived around noon to the Peace Learning Center at Eagle Creek, where we enjoyed a vegan lunch provided by Vegesaurus, investigated the PLC’s Be the Change museum and took a nature hike.
Sometimes I feel a little guilty at how sweet my life can be. It’s a roller coaster experience for me, to follow climate news (always bad, faster-than- usual, apocalyptic), not to mention (though I clearly am) the chaotic nature of our federal politics, then to see such amazing kids working so hard to reduce waste, fight climate change, and become more civically engaged in the process. I don’t always have a clear sense we can solve our enormous challenges, but on days like last Monday, the 19th, I’m certain we will give it all we have.