Earth Charter Indiana presented the summit with the sponsorship help of multiple companies and organizations committed to the cause.
The representation from the side of local government was bipartisan and mutual in the respect the mayors shared between them.
“I think that you’ll hear from mayors today at the local level about how we know we have to get things done,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett in his opening remarks. “Once elected, we know we gotta put all that partisan stuff aside and start working together.”
The morning program included an address from Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard — a Republican who, despite the greater attitude of his political party, is dedicated to reducing the carbon footprint left by society.
“Change starts at the local level by making sure citizens have the best quality of life,” said Brainard.
He openly questioned the positions of his fellow Republicans in Washington regarding climate change, noting the former GOP presidents who championed environmental legislation in their administrations — Theodore Roosevelt created the national park system and Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency, just to name a few.
The mayors from Kokomo and Whiting joined Brainard to talk about the individual things they have done to make their own communities less dependent on energy and more sustainable. All of the mayors agreed that there is more that can be done on the local level than people realize. And Brainard encouraged summit attendees to get involved at the local level.
“Get involved in the design of cities,” said Brainard. “That’s where change happens if cities are designed from the beginning to not require so much energy.”
The first ever Climate Leadership Summit brought environmental leaders, city planners and mayors from all over the state to Indianapolis for a one-day event. The goal of the event was a simple one — to unite all of those interested in taking action to address the issue of global warming with local level government officials who recognize the cause and are doing what they can.