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Young Climate Activist Fights to Save Indiana Wetlands

Young Climate Activist Fights to Save Indiana Wetlands

'Nature can’t talk so I am trying to be the voice for nature.'

Early this year, youth activist Leo Berry was at the Indiana State House with his mom and a couple of friends to support a climate resolution study and research bill that was being introduced. While there, the 11-year-old also heard about a bill that would repeal Indiana’s wetlands protections.

SB 389 would revoke the law requiring a permit from the department of environmental management for wetland activity in a state-regulated wetland.1 According to the Nature Conservancy, Indiana has already lost 85% of its original wetlands. If the bill passes, up to 90% of the remaining wetlands could be at risk.2

“I was shocked as we listened to Victoria Spartz [then state senator, now state representative] explain that it was a hassle and cost taxpayers dollars to continue to have protection on our wetlands,” Leo tells Treehugger.

“She introduced this bill and I listened knowing this was not good, and after hearing about it that day and hearing the committee vote to pass it to the Senate for a vote, but NOT the climate resolution, I knew I had to do something. We need wetlands and healthy ecosystems to thrive.”

Leo and his mom Lindsey, already founded the non-profit Helping Ninjas, a movement to encourage kids to help change the world. Now Leo wanted to learn more about how to help the wetlands. He started a petition to raise awareness of the bill and the wetlands.

The bill passed the Indiana Senate by a 29-19 vote in early February and is now before the Indiana House.

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