Letter: New administration should continue implementing Climate Action Plan



In December 2023, Carmel Green Initiative celebrated outgoing Mayor Jim Brainard’s environmental legacy by planting a tree in his honor. During his 28 years as mayor, Brainard championed many green initiatives in Carmel, served on the Climate Protection Task Force for the U.S. Conference of Mayors and served on the U.S. Task Force on Climate Preparedness under President Barack Obama.

One of the most important things Mayor Brainard did was sign a resolution to develop a Carmel Climate Action Plan. The CAP identified key areas where the city can reduce carbon emissions and led to the creation of a Climate Advisory Committee, which includes two positions for high school students.

As a young person, seeing the negative impacts climate change has on our city and throughout the country is intimidating, but Carmel’s historic commitment to a sustainable city has brought me some relief. However, the CAP is only a resolution, which means the new mayor and city council are not legally bound to continue implementation. Unfortunately, when it comes to climate change the clock is ticking.

Generation Z, my generation, cares tremendously about climate change. The policies Carmel implements now will have lasting impacts throughout our adulthood. That is why in August 2022, my peers and I spoke at a city council meeting in support of the CAP. Therefore, I call on the new mayor and city council to embrace the CAP.

Mayor Brainard’s climate leadership has set a high standard for sustainability in Carmel. My generation is counting on Mayor Sue Finkam and the new city council to continue building on his legacy. For our sake, they need to show our generation that they will be climate leaders like Mayor Brainard. To protect our future, they need to continue full implementation of Carmel’s Climate Action Plan. We’re running out of time.

Ella Lipnik, Carmel High School senior