During the 2017 legislative session, initiatives sponsored by Statehouse Republicans pushed Indiana further behind regarding renewable energy, curbing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, and consequently, made it more difficult for Indiana to contribute in a positive way to our nation’s attainment of the general public health and environmental goals included in the Paris Accord.

Earlier this week, we watched as President Trump not only bucked the Obama administration’s environmental and public health goals for the coming decades, but the wishes of numerous countries, states, cities and companies that called on President Trump to remain in the Paris Accord.

The fact of the matter remains: we are now one of only three nation states that will not live up to this vital multinational agreement, along with Syria and Nicaragua; the latter of which chose not to sign on to the Paris Accord because the agreement was too lax on larger, dirtier nations. The company we keep in this decision lies with Syria alone, and that is absurd.

Now, it is up to states, cities, towns and private companies to step up and assess whether or not climate change is a real threat that can affect us all, and if they are going to act regardless of what this administration’s actions say about our country and our goals for a better planet.

I urge our cities and towns, our mayors and our local legislative bodies, our citizens and the numerous corporations that call Indiana home, to keep moving forward to curb greenhouse gases, to preserve our land and water, and to meet this opposition to the Paris Accord head-on with meaningful action.

We have seen how the supermajorities in the Indiana House and Senate have acted regarding renewable energy and net metering: they effectively killed any incentive for Hoosiers to participate. We can send a message to the General Assembly by acting on a grassroots, local level and by demanding change.

I, for one, will be offering legislation next year that will attempt to address these issues. We now clearly need to take a look at how we, as a state, will move forward on climate change. It is my hope over the coming months that more of our local leaders and companies will take action, and demand an equal response from state lawmakers.