:Sustainable Indiana 2016 was launched in 2006 as Earth Charter Indiana’s Bicentennial initiative. For several years it was ECI’s major project until 2013 when Jim Poyser became Executive Director of ECI and launched Youth Power Indiana. For three years now these two projects have become the public face of Earth Charter Indiana.
It was intended from the beginning that SI 2016 would be retired December 31st of 2016. That time has come. This newsletter marks the completion of a 10 year run. What was accomplished? What is next?
First, the numbers:
- 200 “Green Lights” (an umbrella term for sustainable models, green innovations, and climate solutions) documented, celebrated, and inducted into the Bicentennial Green Legacy Hall of Fame.
- 24 Green Legacy Communities (cities, towns, counties, villages, and institutions) documented and enrolled in the Bicentennial Green Legacy Hall of Fame.
- 170 Page book, Explore Sustainable Indiana: Hoosier Solutions to the Climate Crisis, containing stories, pictures, poetry, and commentary that inform and inspire.
- 16 Hoosier singer-song writers contributed to the album, Songs of Sustainable Indiana.
- 280 Engaged volunteers as Transition Teams, Green Ambassadors, College and University Interns, Regional Coordinators and Consultants, ECI Board of Directors, Journalists, Artists, Musicians, Editors, and Celebration Co-Hosts.
- 250 Trees of Hope planted and commemorated.
- 1 major documentary, The Greening of Middletown, and several shorter videos.
- 15 Bicentennial Green Legacy awards to clubs, congregations and classrooms.
- 240 Green Legacy Gardens celebrated with Bicentennial signage.
- 3000 Hand Tracings representing pledges to protect Indiana’s air, water, food, energy and bio-diversity into the next 100 years in the Hands on Indiana Collection.
- 2500+ followers on social media!
Numbers alone, however, cannot measure the connections made between green practitioners, the awareness that Indiana is getting greener, and the hope generated by simply knowing that scores of Hoosiers are engaged in sustainable solutions. Nor can numbers assess the collaborative relationships forged with government, civic, academic and faith leaders across the state. For me, personally, meeting these good people of all around Indiana has buoyed me up when I felt down and inspired me to keep going when I felt like giving up. All this begs the question, what is next?
The Earth Charter Indiana Board of Directors has concluded that the outcomes of Sustainable Indiana 2016 combined with the vibrant Youth Power Indiana movement constitute a useful resource to communities striving to become more resilient in mitigating and adapting to climate change. To that end a Climate Leadership Summit was convened on August 24 to exchange ideas with and among local government leaders and their delegations. Thirteen cities were represented including 7 mayors. Youth from several schools also participated. Altogether there were 100 attendees.
Follow up meetings with the attending Mayors reinforced the Board’s intention to launch a four year Resilient Communities Campaign that will assist and connect 20 communities in learning collaboratives toward carbon neutrality, waste reduction. green jobs, local food and water security. Youth advocates will work with government and civic leaders in each community to craft Climate Recovery and Resilience Resolutions.
The social excitement around this new campaign is based on the prospect of inter-generational perspectives, expanded partnerships, inclusive solutions and equitable quality-of-life upgrades. The environmental excitement is centered on the prospect of safe and sufficient air, water, food and energy.
So, yes, this is farewell to SI2016. Many thanks to all of you who helped track and celebrate the green movement in Indiana as a Bicentennial legacy. Now, let’s take it to a whole new level, together.
John Gibson, State Coordinator SI2016