We are transforming Indiana by promoting climate solutions.
Thanks to you, Carbon Neutral Indiana is a growing nonpartisan, financially sustainable, grassroots climate movement.
Nonpartisan - We are not a front for one political party. If you dig into most nonprofit funding you'll see what I mean. Some partisans want to own climate as an issue to have the moral high ground, but that polarizes and prevents us from reducing emissions as quickly as possible.
Sustainable - National climate philanthropy is ignoring Indiana. The state receives only 5% of the support it would if it was distributed equitably by population. If we aren't going to fizzle out like many efforts before us, we have to be creative and financially sustainable.
Our first program is helping households measure and clean up their "carbon trash." We sell carbon offsets as a fundraiser (like Girl Scouts selling cookies). These are verified by third parties and finance projects that reduce emissions.
But we're always looking for new ways to promote climate solutions...
Enter Donella Meadows, ecologist extraordinaire.
Dr. Meadows was an ecologist and systems theorist.
Her classic essay Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System describes 12 ways to shift any system -- like the human body, a corporation, or the entire state of Indiana.
One of her insights was:
One of the most cost effective ways to change any system is to change how information flows in that system.
This has to do with changing who has access to what information.
Did you know that for the entire state of Indiana -- with six million people -- we only have 3-4 journalists on the environmental beat?
What if we increased that number 10X? Wouldn't that transform Indiana?
Opportunity: sponsor students to cover climate solutions for college newspapers.
Take Purdue University. They are growing quickly -- student enrollment is up about 20% over 20 years.
But their student newspaper is dying. It's revenue per student is down about 60%.
The student newspaper wants to cover climate but lack the resources.
So last fall we sponsored one journalist at Purdue.
David and Katie Harting are a carbon neutral household in Westfield, IN. They sponsored Lucas Bleyle to write climate articles for the Purdue Exponent.
Here's a video we made and below are articles Lucas wrote:
- Aug 22, 2021 - How community members change their carbon footprint
- Sept 24, 2021 - Changing climate, changing coverage: How The Exponent hopes to improve its climate reporting
- Sept 26, 2021 - After years of protesting, high school students announce state legislative initiative
- Oct 18, 2021 - Presidential speaker sparks backlash among students and faculty
- Oct 19, 2021 - Steve Koonin speaks with Daniels in Presidential Lecture Series
- Oct 29, 2021 - Students march for Purdue carbon neutrality
And this spring we're expanding to sponsor five MORE journalists at Purdue:
The Exponent is published twice a week. It should have an in-depth climate article in almost every issue. If this goes well... what if we sponsored five such students at every college in Indiana?
Elise is a Junior studying both Natural Resources and Environmental Science and Creative Writing.
"I will be able to cover stories in a fair and balanced way by looking at and synthesizing nuanced points of view.
Honestly, I got really excited when I first learned about this position. It's my goal to find a balance between my love for science and my love for creative pursuits (which might explain why I’m an environmental science student minoring in creative writing). People often like to put science and creativity into two different realms, but I know that they are not mutually exclusive.
I thrive in places where I can be both scientific and creative, and I believe that I could do that as a Climate Solutions Reporter."
>> Connect with Elise on LinkedIn
Harini is a Junior studying both Industrial Engineering and Environmental Policy & Politics.
"Growing up in the Philippines, I have witnessed first hand the devastating consequences a global rise in temperatures has on a developing country — this has pushed me, both academically and through extracurriculars, to find platforms to advocate for climate action.
Here at Purdue, I’ve been on the Executive Board of Purdue Student Sustainability Council for three and a half years, with my most recent position as President. During this time, I’ve facilitated eight projects, launched and wrote for our blog platform, and worked with countless green organizations, student legislators, and PSG.
Consequently, I understand the ins and outs of what sustainability is at Purdue, the course it’s running, and the resources needed to discuss issues and initiatives at a deeper level. Outside of PSSC, I’ve led four projects within Purdue’s EPICs program that has allowed me to work with the West Lafayette government and other local communities in the greater Lafayette region to dissect and problem solve some of the prevalent climate related issues within our city."
>> Connect with Harini on LinkedIn
Reagan is a Senior studying Actuarial Science and Applied Statistics, Economics, Management, and Environmental Politics & Policy.
"My main focus of study is investment banking for renewable energy resources, carbon capture tech & sustainable companies on the NYSE...
I feel that I could offer a unique outlook on the reports that I would write, considering my focus is more based on the funding and capital flow of climate solutions."
>> Connect with Reagan on LinkedIn
James is a Sophomore studying Political Science. He's an Eagle Scout and participated in FIRST Robotics in high school.
"I grew up just outside Raleigh, North Carolina, and I have lived just north of Portland, Oregon for the past half decade.
Now living in West Lafayette, I have experience in political climates from across the country, especially pertaining to climate solutions.
With these differing atmospheres, I have the capability to look at all sides of a situation or in this case, a proposed climate solution, and its effects on those in the community…"
Emily is a Junior studying Environmental Geoscience, Environmental Politics & Policy, and Sustainable Engineering.
"I’ve been a team lead for Boiler Gold Rush [the freshman orientation program], served as a College of Science Senator, and built a plastic shredder with the Precious Plastics Committee at Bechtel Innovation Design Center.
Currently, I am researching how to combine policy and engineering solutions to reduce extreme weather events…"
>> Connect with Emily on LinkedIn
What topics will they cover?
First of all, they won't be doing traditional reporting. They'll be using a new framework called "solution journalism." This is a new way of doing journalism based on psychological science.
Put simply: if you hit audiences over the head with problems they will eventually shut down, feel despair, and give up. Instead, solutions journalism:
"[Reports] as rigorously on responses to problems as they do on the problems themselves. This approach heightens accountability by showing where and how people are doing better against a problem. It offers a more comprehensive and equitable view of the world. And it circulates timely knowledge that drives change."
This slight shift reminds the audience of their agency and creative potential to solve problems.
We're ironing out details but the topics they'll cover this semester include these themes. Some will be multi-part series which go deep into the issues:
Theme #1 - The History and Future of Wade Utility Plant
- Present situation (prices, market context)
- Innovations coming out of Purdue (nuclear, wind, solar)
Theme #2 - Transportation at Purdue
- Shifting Purdue’s fleet to EVs
- Alternative transportation (closing roads, opening bike paths, creating more charging stations, etc.)
- Innovation coming out of Purdue like Remora Carbon and Magment
Theme #3 - Other
- Purdue agriculture (fertilizer, methane)
- Landscape overview (which groups are doing what?)
- How can climate knowledge accumulate and be transmitted?