Indiana University launches online toolkit to help communities cope with environmental change

The digital toolkit, called ERIT, focuses on the needs of communities in Indiana and surrounding states

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana University's Environmental Resilience Institute, as part of the Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge initiative, has just launched ERIT -- the Environmental Resilience Institute Toolkit. The interactive, digital toolkit allows communities to better assess, prepare for and respond to environmental change.

The toolkit is based on the Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Change Adaptation Resource Center -- known as ARC-X -- but it's tailored to the needs of communities in Indiana and the surrounding Midwestern states. This publicly accessible resource offers information on topics such as flooding and energy-efficient streetlights, including case studies, recommendations and suggestions for funding sources where available.

"ERIT fills an ever-growing need for resources related to the environmental challenges that face communities across the nation," said Ellen Ketterson, who leads the Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge. "Particularly in the Midwest, there's been a real lack of relevant information and tangible resources to address these problems. We're pleased to launch ERIT, building on the work of the EPA, as a way to help state and local communities find solutions to the crises they face."

"Indiana University was ideally positioned to leverage the EPA's ARC-X site to create and launch this toolkit," said Joel Scheraga, senior advisor for climate adaptation at the EPA. "The Midwest faces a unique set of environmental and climate concerns. By working together collaboratively to create, manage and implement resources like ERIT, communities will be better prepared to remain resilient in the face of environmental change."

This collaborative project spanned not only community and government partners but cross-disciplinary teams within the university as well. IU's University Information Technology Services was instrumental in creating the technical aspects of ERIT.

Prepared for Environmental Change brings together a broad, bipartisan coalition of government, business, nonprofit and community leaders to help Indiana better prepare for the challenges that environmental change brings to our economy, health and livelihood. Announced in May 2017, it is the second initiative to be funded as part of the Indiana University Grand Challenges program.

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Christine Johnson

IU Office of the Vice President for Research

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