Youth Power Indiana emphasizes the agency of youth at the juncture of climate stewardship and civic leadership. YPI’s main activity is Climate Recovery Resolutions. Our youth leaders believe if we don't dramatically confront the impacts of climate change, their future is imperiled. It’s time to work together to reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions while increasing energy efficiency and community engagement.
Watch this short video to hear from one of our most successful youth leaders, Iris O’Donnell-Bellisario.
We are proud that Indiana leads the country in the number of youth-led city climate resolutions: SIX.
The first Climate Recovery Resolution success in Indiana was the unanimous passage of the Climate Recovery and Resilience Resolution on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017, by the Carmel City Council. See press coverage here and here. Go to the Promise Project page for a full accounting of the momentous action.
One week later, Indianapolis City-County Council passed a similar resolution, Proposition 21, 20-4, which was another victory for young people and their quest for a livable future. A short, award-winning film, Little Warriors, about this Indianapolis effort is available here. Sam Miro’s 20 minute documentary was invited into several film festivals in 2017-2018, winning numerous awards along the way.
The adoption in Indianapolis led the city to launch Thrive Indianapolis, which seeks to create an equitable, community-wide Climate Resiliency Plan for the city. In late December, 2018, the Indy Star published a story, telling the tale of this youth-led process, and how our climate activists are feeling about Thrive Indianapolis and their prospects for a livable future.
To further support the process of growing Indy’s climate readiness, the city is partnering with ECI on the Thriving Schools Challenge, in support of school sustainability projects, such as Zero Waste Cafeterias.
Indiana’s third city followed quickly, with Lawrence passing its youth-led Climate Recovery Resolution on Sept. 5, 2017.
In 2019, in South Bend, students, from age 10 to Notre Dame college students, presented to their Common Council about the need for climate action. On April 22, the South Bend Common Council unanimously passed this climate recovery resolution.
The next night, April 23, Goshen’s Youth Caucus, a group of high school students who advise the mayor and the city council, delivered a presentation on the challenges of climate change and the need for Goshen to become a sustainable city. This resolution passed unanimously as well!
On June 12, Bloomington became the sixth Indiana city to pass a youth-led climate resolution. This vote was also UNANIMOUS. The Bloomington project is noteworthy for the comprehensive approach the students took in engaging with numerous city departments and commissions. We expect to have a package of information available for those of you who want to take a deep dive into their process.
On Oct. 7, 2019, West Lafayette became Indiana’s seventh city to pass a youth-led climate resolution. It was a packed house in West Lafayette as city councilors unanimously adopted this resolution. We are particularly proud to say that this effort was led by Iris O’Donnell Bellisario, who became involved in Earth Charter Indiana’s Climate Camps six years ago when she was fifteen. Now, here she is, leading an effort to make her city more prepared for the climate crisis. Way to go, Iris!
If you are interested in starting a Climate Recovery initiative in your town, or want to see the different versions of these cities’ resolutions, contact our director, Jim Poyser.
Youth Power Indiana participants engage in many other activities, including climate camp, pollinator counts, tree plantings, service learning, school sustainability projects, and awareness building actions like public marches, such as the This Is Zero Hour March in July, 2018: