Mayor John Hamilton speaks with members of the Mariachi Perla Del Medio Oeste band Thursday before the start of the State of the City event. The John Layton Combo performs in the background. (Rich Janzaruk / Herald-Times)
Mayor John Hamilton speaks with members of the Mariachi Perla Del Medio Oeste band Thursday before the start of the State of the City event. The John Layton Combo performs in the background. (Rich Janzaruk / Herald-Times)
In his fifth State of the City address, Mayor John Hamilton laid out his goals for the future. But instead of focusing on just the coming year, Hamilton urged Bloomington officials and employees to look toward the decade ahead.

Climate change, sustainability, economic opportunity and social justice were the key components of Hamilton’s address at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater Thursday evening.

“These challenges are really two sides of the same coin,” Hamilton said. “We must do our part to save our planet, and we must leave no one behind. Everyone counts. Two vital questions face us. First, by the time we get to 2030, will we have charted the course for a future where our planet — and our community — will physically be habitable and sustainable? and second, will we have a place for everyone at the new table?”

Framed around the upcoming census, Hamilton said the physical, economic and social goals were part of forming a sustainable future no matter who currently lives or will live in Bloomington.

“We need to know you’re here, whether you sleep in a big fancy house or an apartment or a dorm or if you sleep outdoors or in an emergency shelter,” he said, reminding everyone to respond to the census in late March. “Whether you’ve been here your whole life or just since last week. Whether you speak fluent English or none. Whether you are documented or not. Whatever your story, you count, and we want you counted. Everyone counts, all together making up our Bloomington story.”

The entertainment included as part of Thursday’s event reflected some of the city’s diverse interests. John Layton and his jazz quintet from Bloomington High School North played while guests were seated prior to the speech. Musicians from the Mariachi Perla Del Medio Oeste ensemble played prior to the speech, and Bloomington High School South teacher Juliana Crespo read a story she wrote about becoming an adult in Bloomington.

In his address, Hamilton stressed that while many of the international conversations around climate change revolve around global temperatures, rising sea levels and pollution, Bloomington and the region will be heavily affected by agricultural productivity due to extreme weather and dwindling drinking water supplies. Specific to Bloomington, he said that the city’s per capita carbon footprint is higher than the national average because of the coal and natural gas energy production in the area, though it is better than Indiana’s per capita as a whole.

Hamilton patted the city on the back for receiving various certifications from multiple agencies for its leadership and transparency on climate action, and noted the recent efforts to launch a new $4 million environmentally friendly infrastructure program, to purchase electric city buses, plant more trees, preserve more green space and invest in more solar energy.
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