Guest Post by Rosemary Spalding, Earth Charter Indiana board president. (Part 1 of 2).
Like most folks, I am concerned about a number of serious issues, but when it comes to climate change, my passion has turned into a kind of internal panic. My panic builds when I read reports that it is happening much faster than scientists were predicting less than 10 years ago.
Atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations have increased so much that we’re no longer talking about avoiding tipping points or reversing global warming. We’re now talking about slowing the process as much as possible and adapting to the inevitable.
I think about the beautiful, bright children of my nieces and nephews and about the grandchildren I hope to have someday, and I am terrified for them. To what kind of existence are we condemning them and their children?
Most of my votes, letters, and phone calls to government leaders at all levels have been completely ineffective. Earth Charter Indiana recently petitioned the Indiana Environmental Rules Board (ERB) to adopt a rule to develop a climate action plan for Indiana.
Despite the fact that over a thousand Hoosiers have signed the petition, the board dismissed it at their last meeting. Board members thought a climate action plan was someone else’s job—certainly not their job.
The ERB would not even grant a public hearing on the petition (which Earth Charter Indiana believes it is required to do under Indiana’s law permitting citizen rulemaking petitions).
That citizen petition (with extensive supporting documents) took months to prepare. The articulate and passionate young people of Youth Power Indiana respectfully submitted the petition to the ERB. But board members were unmoved.
I must confess that the ERB’s casual dismissal has shaken my fundamental belief in the integrity of our democracy. We are disheartened—but we are not done advocating for change. See the note at the end of this post to lend your support.
In the meantime, I had hoped to go to New York City to participate in the People’s Climate March—but the ERB’s cavalier rejection of a citizen petition cemented my resolve. I wanted to join with others to tell our government and world leaders gathering for the United Nations summit that we demand action—NOW.
I have participated in lots of climate change rallies in Indianapolis as well as the march in Washington, DC last February, when 40,000 people turned out in the frigid cold to protest the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. But those experiences did not prepare me for what we experienced at the People’s Climate March last Sunday…
(To be continued in Part 2).
Note: If you are an Indiana resident dismayed by the Environmental Rules Board’s lack of attention to a citizen petition, please consider attending the next ERB meeting in support of a climate action plan.
When: Wednesday, November 12, 1:30-4:00 p.m.
Where: Indiana Government Center South – Conference Room A (check for meeting or room changes here.)
RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org or 317.371.2788
Want to do more? Contact Indiana Environmental Rules Board Members today to urge them to hold a hearing on the Petition for a Climate Action Plan for Indiana! Find contact information for board members here.
Rosemary Spalding is board president of Earth Charter Indiana and a founding member of the Irvington Green Initiative. She is an attorney with Spalding & Hilmes, PC, which is located in Irvington and concentrates its practice in environmental law.