Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski announced that the city would begin work on a climate resolution at Monday’s city council meeting.
Roswarski said work on the resolution would begin in 2020, and the process will be slow, thorough and engage a diversity of constituents in the community.
“I want it to be collaborative,” Roswarski said. “I want us to bring in our businesses or industries or citizens and work to see if we can find solutions that we can do as a city and that our citizens can do so everybody can play a part in making a change.”
The city has worked with junior in the College of Agriculture and climate activist Iris O’Donnell Bellisario to help understand what a climate resolution would look like for Lafayette. O’Donnell Bellisario spent several years helping West Lafayette develop a climate resolution, which was unanimously passed in October.
O’Donnell Bellisario spoke at the council meeting and said the city's first step will be to conduct a Greenhouse Gas Inventory to begin identifying high-emitting parts of the community.
“Basically, once you have an idea of where your emissions are coming from, then you look at that and ... see what are the specific things that would help you make a difference,” O’Donnell Bellisario said in her address to the council.
She said cities in Indiana are fortunate to have access to resources from the Environmental Resilience Institute at Indiana University to help cover the cost of conducting a GHG inventory.
Roswarski said the city has already begun looking at some possible actions it could take, like installing a solar field at the Lafayette Wastewater Treatment plant. He said Lafayette is approaching the process of developing a climate resolution with an open mind.
For O’Donnell Bellisario, she said she hopes Lafayette adopts a goal of carbon neutrality by 2040, a similar goal to the one set by West Lafayette under its climate resolution.
Three community members addressed the council in support of the announcement, including Lafayette resident Kaitlyn Young.
“I just hope to see an analysis. We want a Climate Action Plan,” she said.
Young said she chose to move back to Lafayette from California because she so strongly felt that Lafayette was her home and was pleasantly surprised at how many people in Lafayette shared her concern for the environment.
Engagement from concerned Lafayette residents will be a key part of the development of the climate resolution going forward, Roswarski said.
“We hope in the end of January to have our first public meeting where the public can come and express their ideas,” he said.
Roswarski clarified he didn’t want to rush anything or set an arbitrary timeline.
“We're going to do this methodically. We're going to do it right,” Roswarski told the council.
"Hopefully all of you — I think all of you — would support us on this as we move through this very important process to see what we can do about climate change."