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Environmental council organizes Indy conference


By Jessica Campbell




The Hoosier Environmental Council has organized the fifth annual Greening the Statehouse at the Schwitzer Student Center of the University of Indianapolis.

On Saturday, the meeting will include the state’s largest gathering of environmental advocates. The gathering will focus on the ways the environment impacts jobs, life and the country’s economic growth, according to a press release.

Jesse Kharbanda, executive director of the HEC, said the council will strive for many goals in 2013.

“We want to protect environmental services provided by our government, foster greater investments in public transit and clean energy and defend the rights of those harmed by pollution caused by poorly operating industrial livestock operations,” he said.
The conference will start with a speech from the 2012 keynote speaker, Paul
Douglas.

Douglas is a nationally recognized meteorologist. He was in television for 28 years and has been on the radio for 32 years. He has authored several books and currently works as the director of meteorology for La Crosse Technology. 

Kharbanda said Douglas was chosen as the 2012 keynote speaker to help focus the audience’s attention on the challenges of climate change. Douglas hopes to bring his efforts on this work before the Republicans and religious conservatives.

After Douglas’s speech, the conference will continue with a panel of legislators and policy makers who will debate issues such as public transit, environmental justice and clean energy jobs, according to the press release.

The conference is an education-based panel of speeches and information. Clean energy, transportation and industrial livestock pollution will be the main issues discussed with Indiana’s Republican and Democratic leaders, as well as prominent community leaders, Kharbanda said.

Last year, the fourth environmental conference met at the University of Indianapolis. The keynote speaker, Jim Motavalli, spoke on green car technologies and mass transit. The 2011 conference also contributed information toward lake and river pollution and clean energy policies. 

“Our forums have helped to build a deeper and broader sense of community, reflected by the growing number of organizational and green business partners that we have drawn in,” Kharbanda said.

The HEC welcomes anyone interested to attend the conference Saturday. To register, go to the HEC website, www.hecweb.org/.

The HEC encourages college students to attend by offering prizes for the largest student club or group of members in attendance.  

“With a bigger movement, the HEC can help forge broad-based policy change that’s necessary for Indiana to become a truly environmentally sustainable economy,” Kharbanda said.

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