Climate Change and Sustainability: Where to Learn More and Engage Locally

Climate Change and Sustainability: Where to Learn More and Engage Locally

Global warming is steadily accelerating, and it is increasingly apparent as this year alone we’ve had deadly flash floods, wildfires, and persistent heatwaves and drought throughout the world. Recently, more than 200 climate scientists met to finalize a report “summarizing how the Earth’s climate has already changed and what humans can expect for the rest of the century” (Hersher, 2021). This report, released August 9, 2021, is the 6th edition. Climate science research has progressed significantly since the last report came out in 2013 and this new report is the most detailed and accurate picture of the global climate to date, as the computer models and the data scientists use to predict future climate patterns has advanced.

Figure 1 Photo by Matt Palmer on Unsplash

A major goal of this new report is to provide governments with the information they need to address climate change. The report provides five future scenarios that scientists anticipate we can go through, with countries tackling different sets of climate policies. This report also contains regional information for the first time, which is important as climate change affects populations in different ways depending on where they live (Hersher, 2021), such as rising sea levels in coastal towns, wildfires in Western states or droughts in the Midwest.

A new survey from the Indiana University Environmental Resilience Institute reveals that there has been a “5% increase in both the number of respondents who believe that climate change is happening and in those that believe that humans are the primary cause of climate change” since 2019, with 84% of Hoosier respondents agreeing that climate change is happening and 83% believing that human activities are partly to blame (“Hoosiers express greater concern…”, 2021). Climate change may seem overwhelming, but there are individual action steps that can help. Listed here are a ways to be involved in positive change:

Attend a conference

2021 Indiana Environmental Conference, Oct. 22

Do you work for a local government or business? This conference, presented by the Indiana Chamber and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), is taking place in-person at the Hyatt Regency in Indianapolis. This conference will help your organization better prepare for environmental compliance and improve the future of Indiana.

EEAI 2021 Conference: Forward into a Sustainable Future, Nov. 12-14

Attend this conference from the Environmental Education Association of Indiana. Registration for this hybrid conference is now open. You can attend in-person at Spring Mill State Park in Mitchell, IN or you can attend online.

Attend a Protest

Figure 2 Photo by Callum Shaw on Unsplash

Fridays for Future, Global Strike on Sept. 24, 2021

It all started with then 15-year-old Greta Thunberg going on a school strike for climate in August of 2018. Now it is a global movement.  You can find a strike taking place in your area or organize your own.

Visit Environmental Sanctuaries

National and state parks are great places to visit to gain an appreciation of our planet, but we also have two organizations in Richmond that focus on nature and sustainability: Hayes Arboretum and Cope Environmental Center. Both places have beautiful trails to explore, learning centers, and programs that can help you learn more about sustainable practices, such as composting, bee keeping, and gardening as well as clean up and weed wrangling outings that improve our communities and local resources. Not only can you visit these places, but volunteer!

Shop Local

Attend the Richmond Farmers Market and support local farmers. There are plenty of farms and orchards around Wayne county that you can visit and support, such as Doughetry Orchards, Miller Farm, and Golliher Farm.

Join a Book Club and Enjoy Nature

Want to appreciate nature and our natural resources? Follow Indiana Humanities! This year the One State/One Story novel pick is World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. This book is a” collection of 28 beautifully illustrated essays about the natural world and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us.”

Indiana Humanities often pairs nature and literature with their programming, providing events like Campfires, where people join hiking and canoe trips that inspire conversations about Indiana’s future and the state of our natural resources.  There is also Books, Booze, and Brains, a monthly book club “for the scientifically curious” that meets at local places around Indianapolis. This month’s book pick is Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Future by Merlin Sheldrake.

Learn More

We often blog about the research databases that provide scholarly, peer-reviewed articles, but we also want to highlight some of the popular magazines the Campus Library has available online. Science Magazine and Scientific American are two popular science magazines that provide helpful articles for those wanting to learn more about climate change in a way that can be easily understood for those new to the topic. We also have National Geographic, which now has a lot of articles that focus on how climate change affects different regions of the world. If you need help with your research, Just Ask Us! or click this button:

If you are looking to get more involved with sustainability efforts here on campus, the IU East Sustainability Council is always looking for new members, especially students. You can reach out to Beth South at for more information.


Hersher, R. (2021). “Climate scientists meet as floods, fires, droughts, and heat waves batter countries.” NPR.

“Hoosiers express greater concern about future pandemics, climate change.” (2021). News at IU.

Comments are closed.