Grand Challenges

A bold plan for environmental resilience.

Grand Challenge: Prepared for Environmental Change

Description of the video:

There is a rhythm to our natural world. The timing. Everything in harmony with the orchestra of life. But the beat is changing. Familiar patterns are changing, eco systems are altering in the farthest corners of our planet and right here in the Hoosier state. It means new challenges affecting every single one of us, no matter our faith our profession or our politics. Some of the challenges are obvious, others are more difficult to see, but they are all changing our very way of life.  Changing how we eat, our infrastructure, our energy use, even how we breathe. So we do not just have to be prepared to react, we have to be prepared to lead. Prepared for environmental change, is a new initiative sponsored by the Grand Challenges program at Indiana University. It is a group of hundreds of scientists, professors, students, environmentalists, ecologists, business people, public officials and concerned citizens from all walks of life throughout Indiana. People working together to meet the challenges of our world. With predictive modeling, early warning systems, and collaborative pilot projects. And new ideas to plan and build green infrastructure, conserve bio diversity, clean and protect our waterways, and harness the might forces of nature. Becoming a model for other communities facing the same challenges around the world. Because environmental change is one of the biggest tests of our time. It is one of our greatest challenges. Now, right now, it is time to get to work. We can help when we take the lead. For our friends and neighbors, our families, for our cities and town, for all the people around the world, for this singular place we call home. Indiana University Grand Challenges – prepare for environmental change.

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The time is now. Our initiative is:


Environmental changes pose region-specific challenges. Challenges that will require region-specific solutions.


Guided by data, not ideology, we'll determine how, when, and where environmental change will impact health and livelihoods, and we'll suggest ways to either mitigate or fix it.


To drive solutions, we must understand the science of environmental change and how to communicate its impact.


Scientists, industry, nonprofit and community partners join forces on a plan with broad bipartisan support.


Results will be published online, giving the public free access to the tools and resources to act and adapt successfully.

Indiana as a Model

With this first-of-its-kind initiative, we'll make Indiana a national model for resiliency in the face of environmental change.

This unprecedented research effort — made possible by the Indiana University Grand Challenges Program — will build first-of-its kind, state-specific projections of environmental change. These projections will help governments, businesses, and community groups make targeted and strategic investments in:

  • agriculture,
  • industry,
  • infrastructure, and
  • public health.

Backed by a bipartisan coalition of elected leaders, businesses, and nonprofit organizations, a team of world-class researchers will help communities and regions respond to the immediate and long-term challenges of environmental change.

Tackling the World's Most Urgent Problems


Unprecedented floods. Devastating droughts. Crop-killing pests. Environmental change poses a direct threat to Indiana's $12 billion agricultural sector. As farmers feel the heat, our task is to help them adapt and prepare.


Air pollution, contaminated drinking water, and the spread of disease-carrying insects pose wide-ranging health challenges. And our changing environment increases these risks. Only by identifying and targeting these increased risks can we solve problems before they become crises, saving lives and resources.


Extreme weather also threatens our economic foundation. Consider the impact of violent tornadoes or shifting floodplains. Homeowners and businesses face new and surprising risks. Only by understanding the scope of these challenges can we build a stronger future.

The success of Indiana’s advanced manufacturing industry depends on natural resources and a complex global supply chain that’s put at risk by environmental change.

Karen Cecil, director, global environmental sustainability, Cummins Inc.