2020 grads collaborating with local leaders to pass climate resolution for Richmond
July 15, 2020
A team of recent Earlham College graduates have drafted a resolution encouraging local leaders in Richmond to develop a long-term plan to mitigate the effects of climate change.
The resolution is the culmination of the students’ capstone project as part of the College’s Environmental Sustainability Degree Program. These projects have advanced the common good in recent years by transforming city parks, revitalizing community resources, and expanding natural areas on campus. Capstone projects are intended to be a culminating academic and intellectual experience for students.
“This is a concrete document where the city agrees to work on climate efforts,” said Alyssa Guritz of Crown Point, Indiana. “It is a promise to create a more eco-friendly, safe, inclusive and beautiful city.”
The resolution focuses on reducing greenhouse emissions, expanding community partnerships, introducing new forms of public transportation, and more effectively managing stormwater to address the city’s flood plain. The team also encourages the city to hire a full-time sustainability coordinator.
The framework of the resolution was drafted after students conducted extensive conversations with Richmond Mayor Dave Snow, and representatives from the Richmond Environmental Sustainability Commission, the Economic Development Corp. of Wayne County, local schools, non-profits and multicultural organizations. The resolution underscores many of the items listed as priorities in the environmental protection section of the city’s comprehensive plan.
“My highlight during this project was being able to interact with marginalized community members,” said Sitashma Thapa of Kathmandu, Nepal. “The current climate crisis does not only effect one particular group of society. It affects everyone. People from marginalized communities and underrepresented groups are often the most vulnerable. It was a very rewarding experience to include their voices as well.”
Canela González of Kenosha, Wisconsin, Katherine Hill of Lorain, Ohio, Marcella Lanzillotti of Austin, Texas, and Chris Orozco-Fletcher of Miami, Florida, are also members of the team.
“I’m excited about the work that they have done,” said Alison Zajdel, a member of the Richmond Environmental Sustainability Commission. “The city will be using the resolution, along with our greenhouse gas emissions inventory to formulate an emissions reduction plan as part of a broader climate action plan.
“There are lots of moving parts, but I think the resolution will make it to council and I’m optimistic they will pass it,” she said.
Zajdel expects to introduce the resolution to council after additional feedback from youth, city officials, the Environmental Commission and Earth Charter Indiana, an organization that helps Indiana municipalities adopt youth-led climate resolutions.
Six other Indiana cities, including Indianapolis, West Lafayette, Goshen, South Bend, Muncie and Carmel, have already passed similar resolutions.
Brian Zimmerman, director of media relations