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Indiana Climate Activists: Annabel Prokopy and Maggie Gonzalez

Updated: Feb 9


Annabel Prokopy, 17

West Lafayette, Indiana

Instagram: @annabelprokopy

How did you get involved in climate activism?

In April 2019, I started reading about Greta Thunberg and the rise of the Fridays for Future movement. I realized there was nothing similar in our community. There were no organizations involved in the movement for climate justice. So, I decided to partner with my friend, Abby, to start WL Climate Strike (@wlclimatestrike). We brought direct action to West Lafayette, with our first event in May 2019.




Who do you follow on social media for activism inspiration?

I follow both community-based activists doing small-scale local work and international activists who organize larger movements in Europe, Latin America, and Africa. Check out these young activists on Instagram:

Adélaïde Charlier (@adelaidecha)

Luisa Neubauer (@luisaneubauer)

Anuna De Wever (@anuna_dewever)

Katia Bannister (@katiabannister)

Vanessa Nakate (@vanessanakate1)

Nicki Becker (@nickibecker)


What is one (or two) individual action(s) you take in your daily life?

About 2 years ago, I went vegetarian to reduce my meat consumption and eat a more climate-friendly diet. As a member of the climate community, I work to stay updated with what everyone is working on and support them however I can.


What is one BIG impactful action you take against systemic issues? What organizations are you a part of?

I am a member of the youth-led West Lafayette Climate Strike. Last year we succeeded in passing a climate resolution through the West Lafayette city council and we are currently working on passing a climate emergency declaration this upcoming February.


I host a podcast titled “On Strike with Insight” that I launched in the summer of 2020. The podcast has been an opportunity to write on the issues I am passionate about, meet other young activists, provoke critical reflection on climate justice, and encourage others to get involved. Check it out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you find your podcasts.


What are your strengths as an activist?

My strength is bringing people together, keeping them motivated and involved in the movement. I check in with the organizers in our campaign, organizing core team meetings, and bring in my own perspective. If you check out @wlclimatestrike, you can see the graphics I make for our social media.


In a perfect ecotopia, what would you like to see in Indiana?

I imagine an Indiana where we take action on sustainable energy, by shutting down our super polluter coal plants and other polluting power plants.


Any tips for people who don’t have time to dive into climate activism but want to support the movement?

My advice is to follow groups that are working on climate action in your community. Support those local groups by completing action items, sharing social media posts, donating small dollar amounts (if you can), and attending their events.

Here are some local groups in Indiana:

Northwest Indiana: @justtransitionnwi

West Lafayette: @wlclimatestrike

Indianapolis: @sunriseindy

Bloomington: Yellowwood youth

Terre Haute: @terrehaute_earthlings

Alexandria: @alexandriatreehuggers


Any media recommendations (documentaries, movies, podcasts, etc.) about climate change?

Read the book “All We Can Save” by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K Wilkinson.



Maggie Gonzalez, 16

Indianapolis, Indiana

Instagram: @me.gonzalez674

How did you get involved in climate activism?

My introduction to climate activism started at a young age. At my K-8 primary school, I participated in the Earth Club available for students from kindergarten through eighth grade. We initially learned about individual actions, like turning off the lights when exiting a room or turning off the tap when brushing your teeth. Over time, we shifted to the big-picture systemic issues, including climate change and human-driven pollution. As I was graduating, my interest in community-based activism was stoked as we worked on installing a water-bottle filling station.


Now, with the Conservation Club at Brebeuf Jesuit, we've done more big environment-centered projects. For example, our club worked on eliminating single use plastics in the school. Our "Confront The Climate Crisis" campaign is my first experience with broader statewide climate action.


Who do you follow on social media for activism inspiration?

I now limit my use of Instagram, but I still follow progressive politicians who support climate agendas (like @aoc). Here are a couple of other accounts I keep up with:

@confronttheclimatecrisis

@chicksforclimate

@fridaysforfuture

@gretathunberg


What is one (or two) individual action(s) you take in your daily life?

I regularly bike for transportation, through rain or shine and frigid cold or summer heat. However, biking is less accessible (and safe) in the winter, when the sun sets early.

I keep bamboo utensils and a reusable water bottle in my backpack to avoid using single-use plastic when I am out-and-about. I currently do not eat red meat, but one day I hope to transition into vegetarianism.


What is one BIG impactful action you take against systemic issues? What organizations do you belong to?

Here is an impactful action that my friends and I have planned for the future: we will approach small businesses in Broad Ripple and propose alternatives to styrofoam packaging for take-out. We would look to replace the consumption of styrofoam with economically friendly and environmentally friendly alternatives.


What are your strengths as an activist?

I am strongest when working collaboratively with others planning climate-centered events and projects. I deal with the logistics, including the who, what, when, where, and the “how do we get people to show up?”.


In a perfect ecotopia, what would you like to see in Indiana?

I envision a shift towards renewable energy with wind and solar at the forefront. Even though the impacts of fossil fuel power plants are not visible to everyone in everyday life, this transition would bring about cleaner air, water, and the environment.


During my freshman and sophomore years (in high school), I rode IndyGo buses home from school. From my first-hand experience, I know how frustrating it can be when the buses have limited stops and run infrequently. We need to expand access to public transit by expanding Indy’s (and the suburbs) busing routes, increasing the frequency of the buses, and making transit free for all. To transition from individual cars, the city would expand sidewalks and bike lanes. Finally, we would finish the electrification of the bus fleet (to limit exhaust fumes).


Any tips for people who don’t have time to dive into climate activism but want to support the movement?

Shift to sustainable habits in your lifestyle and support sustainable products. For example, I use a shampoo bar instead of the standard plastic bottles.


Also, joining the slack channels, email lists, and chats of our campaign to stay updated with volunteer opportunities. Show up for the important events, like climate strikes, lit drops, and big meetings (on Zoom).


Any media recommendations (documentaries, movies, podcasts, etc.) about climate change?

I recently started listening to Annabel's podcast. Check it out (see above)!

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