Dr. Indra Frank on Environmental Equity in Indiana

Dr. Frank explored to concepts of environmental justice and equity inside the state of Indiana at her Prindle talk with Kiara Goodwine, an EFP and member of SLP.

Indiana is ranked one of the worst states of air and water quality, further adding to the divide between urban and rural areas and socioeconomic divides in the state. Indiana urban areas are often times Superfund sites and brown fields, adding to the injustice people of color are forced to face to make a living and have a home. These are often times older homes as well, where 60% of housing in Indiana is old enough to have lead paint or plumbing, adding to the lead pollution crises that are occurring in U.S. cities, like East Chicago and Flint, Michigan. In rural areas, many individuals face issues of agricultural manure contamination (E. coli in water supplies), pesticide use and the subsequent pollution from both.

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Indiana must step up and become environmentally equitable for all lives and socioeconomic classes. The unfair burdens placed on minorities cannot be ignored. I urge the Hoosier Environmental Council to further push our state government to assist and pursue equality within environmental conditions that are healthy, safe, and sustainable by cutting our antiquated reliance on coal-fired power plants, enormous animal agriculture industry, and effectively making choices to alleviate and prepare for the ongoing and forthcoming effects of climate change.

I also encourage and hope DePauw evolves into a sustainable institution and environmentally conscious. DePauw has made some strides towards this goal, but there is still quite a ways to go. Installing solar panels around campus, utilizing native plants in landscaping designs, having even more local foods offered in the dining halls, water quality testing so students feel comfortable and assured their water is clean and safe to drink (considering there was a petition to bring back bottled water, yes this is an issue), and continuing too educate students on the effects of climate change and the considerable damage it has already inflicted globally.

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