You have likely heard the old saying that goes something like, “Laws are like sausage… you’re better off not knowing how they are made.” Well, if I learned one thing during 2010, it’s that very little is accomplished without legislation.
For example, initiatives such as IndyConnect to create local transit improvements will go nowhere without the support of the state legislature and an authorized source of dedicated funding. Creating a renewable energy standard (RES) in Indiana will require action from the Statehouse. (By the way, I learned today that Indiana is the only state in the upper Midwest without an RES. No wonder we were labeled “least green”.)
With these thoughts in mind, I’ve realized that if I want to help make change, if I want Indianapolis to be a more sustainable city, if Indiana is going to shake the “least green” label, I’ve gotta learn how to make sausage.
I must admit that I’ve been more of a spectator of than participant in legislative issues for most of my life. However, I’m taking the initiative in 2011 to embrace Indyhub’s tagline, “Get connected, get involved, energize the city.”
Earlier today, I participated in a webinar by the Hoosier Environmental Council titled “How in the World do I Make a Difference in the Legislature?” Think of it as an environmental version of the Schoolhouse Rock “I’m Just a Bill” song. I picked up a few basics on getting involved in the legislative process that I could transfer to any issue or bill.
On Tuesday, I’ll be heading to the statehouse to participate in Conservation Day to learn more about priority issues for the Indiana Conservation Alliance.
Sure, you can call this learning how to lobby and assign the negative connotation to that word, OR you can call it being a concerned citizen or, better yet, participating in a democracy.
So, what causes are you passionate about? Do you want to see more bike lanes? Are you concerned about water and air quality? Do you think there should be stricter regulations for confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs)? Do you think animal manure trucked in from Ohio and left to pollute our rural communities isn’t cool? Do you think there should be financial incentives for making energy-efficient improvements to your home?
Whatever it is, I encourage you to learn how to make sausage. (You find some good tips for speaking out on HEC’s website.) So go ahead… get connected, get involved, energize the city (and the state too while you're at it).