Indianapolis is an Emerging Leader in Sustainability
Apr 01, 2014 01:14AM
By Lanette Er
Turn on the news and one can see it is rife with reports about genetically modified foods, global climate change, pollution, diminishing access to water, and the damages caused by fossil fuel harvesting. A large majority of scientists concur we can no longer deny that the unsustainable practices of the last century and earlier have destroyed ecosystems and possibly caused irreparable damage. Each of us can only do so much to change the circumstances of our planet, yet there are beacons of hope.
As the science becomes more firm that local sustainability initiatives benefit economies and create positive lasting change, leaders are emerging, organizing activities and encouraging communities to be proactive.
In October 2008, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard launched a program designed to aggressively move Indianapolis forward as one of the most sustainable cities in the Midwest. The SustainIndy Program has set a new bar for improving the quality of life of residents. It includes changing policies and ordinances to foster a cleaner environment— expanding recycling services, incentivizing green building practices and energy efficiency, incorporating green infrastructure into sewer and transportation projects and increasing access to fresh food through urban agriculture.
SustainIndy set the stage—it encourages the private sector and city residents to take note and act accordingly. And it is working.
The free market in Indianapolis has exploded with businesses and organizations offering sustainable innovation. There is a vast network of community-supported agriculture and farmers’ markets throughout the metropolitan area. Organic and locally sourced food can be delivered right to your home. Charging stations are being installed to accommodate an expanding market of electric vehicles. There is a push for access for bicyclists, pedestrians and improved public transportation. A myriad of local businesses are offering everything from eco-friendly cleaning services to products and facilities that help minimize the city’s carbon footprint.
Going green is not a passing fad; it is not popular simply because it is trendy. It’s a growing movement because it is necessary to combat the damaging practices of the past. It may not be easy to conduct the many necessary activities but it is getting easier.
As CEO and co-founder of Natural Awakenings Sharon Bruckman states, “Each large and small choice in favor of natural health and environmental sustainability counts toward enhancing our own standard of living and supporting a higher quality of life on Earth. It all starts with individuals waking up to conscious living and connecting locally to make measurable differences in their own homes and communities. They are role models of wellness. They are eco-stars.”
Many of these eco-stars have put down roots in Indianapolis. Seek them out and reward their good works. Ask friends and neighbors for referrals. Look for them between the pages of this magazine. Start the conversations and then continue them. We will be a city of eco-stars: a city that attracts new and emerging talent and one that other cities will strive to emulate. We will be a city full of leaders in the revolution of sustainability. When that happens, we will, more than ever before, be beacons of hope.
For more information on SustainIndy, visit SustainIndy.org.