When Daniel Bingham read that in order to limit global warming to avoid extreme consequences, the world would have to cut carbon emissions nearly in half by 2030 from their 2010 levels, he was alarmed.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report in October said just that. So he decided to do something about it. Four months later, Bingham, 32, decided to run for Bloomington City Council’s District 2 seat.
Dorothy Granger currently holds the seat and is running for re-election.
“You’re looking at completely rewiring society in ten years,” Bingham said. “That’s not a lot of time.”
Bingham’s main focuses, if elected, would be addressing climate change in Bloomington and providing more affordable housing in the community.
Bingham grew up in Bloomington, and his parents are professors at IU. After teaching math and science in Thailand for six months, the software engineer returned to Bloomington in 2010 and got involved in environmental activism while volunteering at the Bloomington Community Orchard.
He served as the community board president for Bloomington Cooperative Living, a democratically run organization controlled by its members who live together, for three years. He never lived in the co-op.
Bingham said he believes more cooperative housing could solve some of the affordable housing problems in Bloomington. He also believes condensing housing in Bloomington and building up instead of out is the only way to expand sustainably.
In order for Bloomington to reduce its carbon footprint, Bingham believes the city needs to slowly de-incentivize cars. Bingham began advocating for this at city council meetings when the council was deciding whether to rebuild the Fourth Street parking garage or to repair it.
Bingham said first the city needs to expand its public transit system and biking infrastructure and then reduce parking.
Kevin Weinberg, Bingham’s neighbor and friend, worked with Bingham on the cooperative housing board. Weinberg also works for the city to record local government meetings for the Community Action Television Service.
“He has a fire about him that I don’t really see in city government,” Weinberg said. “I trust his passion and his focus.”
Retired IU biology professor Mimi Zolan is a close friend of Bingham’s mother and has known Bingham his whole life.
“He’s very intellectually intense,” Zolan said. “He does his homework.”
Zolan said Bingham also is not afraid of stepping up to the plate when people need a leader. Bingham and his partner are expecting a baby, and Bingham has a full time job as a software engineer.
“This is not a vanity project for him,” Zolan said.