Concerned with the lack of sensible climate change legislation and action in Indiana, young people from across the state will hold a press conference and climate action rally Feb. 1 at 11 a.m. at the Indiana Statehouse to bring awareness to these issues.
“Act Now!” co-hosted by Confront the Climate Crisis and state Rep. Carey Hamilton (D-Indianapolis), will discuss the environmental issues facing the state, along with possible solutions including SB 335. This bill would establish a task force that would review issues related to sustainable and clean energy solutions. A hearing was just granted for this bill, but a date hasn’t been set.
A group of bipartisan legislators, advocacy groups and youth leaders will speak about the importance of enacting climate solutions for Hoosiers.
The Confront the Climate Crisis youth will advocate for pieces of legislation that expand access to community solar initiatives, clean energy and economic development projects, conserve wetlands and forests and establish a task force that will work toward a statewide climate action plan.
Confront the Climate Crisis was formed in 2020 and is a grassroots, statewide, youth-lead group that has been achieving climate action solutions in Indiana. It engages with students from communities across the state to educate them on climate literacy and resilience projects, and plans events to educate communities, such as climate strikes and intersectional events.
The group focuses on bringing youth to the forefront of state politics to create change needed to protect Indiana’s future.
This is the second legislative session during which Confront the Climate Crisis has advocated for environmental legislation. Last year, it worked with Sen. Ron Alting (R-Lafayette) on Senate Bill 255, but the bill didn’t receive a hearing from the Committee on Environmental Affairs. Even though their efforts weren’t successful, the members became even more galvanized to continue their advocacy, and their work attracted more young people to the organization.
“In the 2022 Legislative Session, we saw youth engagement at the Indiana Statehouse that we have never seen before,” said Rahual Durai a high school student from West Lafayette and co-executive director of Confront the Climate Crisis. “The fact that this energy did not stop — the fact that we have continued to see Hoosier youth push their schools, cities, state officials and federal officials on the issue of climate change — makes me optimistic that we will see some bipartisan action in the Legislature.”
Plans for this legislative session began in September 2022. Confront the Climate Crisis and climate justice nonprofit Earth Charter Indiana organized the Indiana Climate Policy Conference in Indianapolis.
Ashlyn Walker, a high school student from West Lafayette and co-executive director of Confront the Climate Crisis, said more than 125 people, including lobbyists, legislators, scientists and dozens of high school students attended the conference to discuss potential climate solutions for Indiana related to energy, industrial emissions, buildings, agriculture, transportation and forest conservation..
“This groundwork of bringing people together and developing meaningful policy ideas makes me feel excited and ready to advocate for climate action in the 2023 Legislative Session,” Walker said.
Confront the Climate Crisis members will be joined by many other advocacy groups Feb. 1, including Earth Charter Indiana and Just Transition Northwest Indiana. The rally will take place in the Fourth Floor’s North Atrium at the Indiana Statehouse.