(This piece was originally published on November 21, 2016 on Indiana Public Media.)

Around 500 activists gathered in Boone County for the Hoosier Environmental Council’s Greening the Statehouse on Saturday Nov. 19. The conference focused on the role of environmental activism in light of the presidential election.

Many speakers and attendees voiced concern that environmental protections would be rolled back after President-elect Donald Trump and Governor-elect Eric Holcomb take office.

Activist Allyson Mitchell says she hopes Indiana’s environmental community will simply keep working.

“We don’t really need to meet rhetoric with rhetoric, so I’m looking for opportunities to do things action-oriented,” Mitchell says.

Panelists at the conference looked at roles clean energy and mass transit could play in reducing the impacts of climate change in Indiana.

The keynote speech was given by a prominent activist who runs an advocacy group in Flint, Michigan, Melissa Mays. She says she hopes the Flint water crisis will inspire people to take a more active role in protecting their environment.

“Progress has been extremely slow in Flint, but people are waking up and saying ‘Hey, okay, this is an issue.’ So that’s one of the best things to come out of all this, people are becoming more aware,” Mays says.


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