Environmental conference goes virtual in 2020 – TheStatehouseFile.com
By Thomas Samuel
INDIANAPOLIS—The Hoosier Environmental Council’s 13th annual event, Greening the Statehouse 2020, has gone virtual in this year of COVID-19 with a theme of resilience in a time of upheaval.
Throughout a day and a half of online sessions, the conference brings together people who are supporters of the environment and want to see a change to come together and learn, network and to be inspired. This is the first time the conference is being held online.
Many of the events focus on environmental issues and how they can be addressed in the 2021 session of the Indiana General Assembly, which begins in January.
The first day featured programs on lakes, rivers and drinking water with Justin Schneider, director of consumer affairs for Indiana American Water and Ray McCormick, a conservation farming pioneer, followed by a program on advancing environmental justice and health with Indianapolis Councilor Vop Osili, Tony Gillespie of the Indiana Minority Health Coalition, and state Rep. Carolyn Jackson, D-Hammond.
The virtual conference continues Saturday with a session on climate and energy in the 2021 session with a panel featuring energy policy analyst Ben Inskeep, an energy policy analyst with EQ Research, and Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington, and moderated by Jesse Kharbanda, executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council.
At 10:30 a.m. and again at 1:45 p.m. Saturday attendees will have a chance to learn organizing skills in smaller breakout sessions covering topics that include talking to lawmakers and hosting a phonebank.
Afternoon sessions will cover factory farming and a plant-powered rural Indiana with Rep. Ton Saunders, R-Lewisville, Tarah Heinzen of Food & Water Watch and Scott Weathers of Good Food Institute, and what the election results and COVID-19 could mean in 2021. That panel features Sen. Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute, Rep. Cherrish Pryor, D-Indianapolis, and John Krull, publisher of TheStatehouseFile.com. Kharbanda will moderate the last panel.
Thomas Samuel is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.