How we started
In February 2020 a group of volunteers hosted Climate Action Blitz 2020 (CAB2020) in Highland. Sixty five individuals from thirteen communities across Northwest Indiana attended. The intention behind the event was to ask citizens from each community in attendance to pass a climate resolution by Earth Day 2020 — April 22nd.
Then the pandemic hit, and plans changed. In-person meetings and appeals to local council people were difficult to impossible. So the group’s focus shifted to what could be done rather than what was no longer possible… They chose as their goal to encourage local elected officials to become part of the Indiana University Resilience Cohort. The Resilience Cohort is an initiative that operates under the Environmental Resilience Institute and within the McKinney Climate Fellows Program at IU. They work with local governments to conduct a greenhouse gas inventory in the first year and create a climate action plan if the municipality chooses to participate in the second year.
As part of the 2021 cohort, NWI Region Resilience was able to partner with Earth Charter Indiana and the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) to host six climate fellows to conduct Indiana’s first ever regional greenhouse gas inventory. In 2022-23 the region continued working with IU to develop a regional climate action plan framework based on the data collected during the greenhouse gas inventory that is now part of NIRPC’s 2050 plan.
Where we are today…
The work continues in 2023 in a number of ways:
- Hosting Earth Charter Indiana’s Climate Leadership Summit 8 in Gary on Friday, September 8, 2023
- Leading the region’s initiative to become the nation’s first ever multi-county certified community wildlife habitat through the National Wildlife Federation
- Continuing to work with NIRPC to help communities build their own local climate action plans based on the framework developed
- Supporting formation of Sustainability Commissions within local cities and towns
- Introducing, facilitating, and supporting community building methods and decision making models such as Sociocracy, Permaculture and Asset Based Community Development (Timebanking)