February 2017


In this issue

  • Upcoming Workshops: Climate Boot Camp in Zionsville and Using Energy Prudently in South Bend
  • Earth and Spirit Center Sustainable Solutions Tour February 11
  • Stand Up and Be Counted for Renewable Energy: Oppose SB309
  • Indiana Forest Alliance Rally on Presidents Day, February 20, at the Indianapolis Statehouse
  • People’s Climate Movement March on April 29
  • Ten Pathways to Congregational Creation Care, by Marie F. Fleming, Installment Four: Justice, Preparedness, and Individual Action
  • Check the Events Calendar
  • Consider a Donation


Upcoming Workshops


Climate Boot Camp in Zionsville

Climate Boot CampA workshop for faith leaders and members called “Climate Boot Camp” is scheduled on Monday, February 20, at Zionsville Christian Church, 120 N 9th St, Zionsville, IN.

The workshop will be led by climate scientist Ben Brabson, biblical scholar and theologian Trisha Tull, and the Rev. Wyatt Watkins, who present the scientific, theological, and pastoral challenges and rewards of speaking out about climate change. We hope to help every faith leader speak confidently and boldly about global warming and its impacts, and to encourage their faith communities to respond with vigor and hope. To register for a workshop, go to the H-IPL Calendar and select the date.

According to a recent article in Grist, most people care about climate change but don’t talk about it, simply because they don’t hear others doing so. This is a pattern of inaction that we have a moral responsibility to break—by talking and acting! Go here for more information, and register today!

Using Energy Prudent Workshop in South Bend

uep.jpgThe next Using Energy Prudently Workshop will be held on Saturday, April 15, 1:00-5:00 pm, at the Islamic Society of Michiana (3310 Hepler Street, South Bend, IN). H-IPL’s Using Energy Prudently workshops equip congregations with the tools they need to greatly reduce energy use in houses of worship and save significant funds for other purposes.

Gain practical information about sealing your building's envelope; maintaining and replacing HVAC equipment; using zoning and thermostats to slash energy waste; lighting technologies for various rooms; and detecting energy hogs in your building.

Who should attend? Send a team of two to four people, including a leader from the Building or House Committee, a trustee, and green team member.

Why participate?

Savings: Your congregation can save a lot on utility bills by cutting out waste. And these funds can go straight into mission. One of our congregations cut its energy use by 50% – and is saving $10,000 a year.

How-To Help: You can do this! With stories and step-by-step tools, we’ll show you how to cut your congregation’s energy use and get your congregation on board. You’ll have time to figure out what will work for you. You’ll get just what you need to put your learning into action.

Support: And you’ll leave with a community. The workshop will give you a network that can support you as you save your congregation money for mission.

What is the cost, and what do we get?

  • $20 for the first congregation member attending
  • $10 for each additional member
  • Registration covers refreshments and a notebook of materials to take with you.

Registration will open soon on the H-IPL Calendar. Participants may also register at the door.


Earth and Spirit Center Sustainable Solutions Tour

Passionist Earth & Spirit CenterHere’s an opportunity for folks in southern Indiana. The Passionist Earth & Spirit Center in Louisville is hosting a Sustainable Solutions Tour on Saturday, February 11.

They will tour sites in Louisville to see how ordinary people can make extraordinary changes that reverse environmental degradation and create a healthier and more equitable future our entire community.

Participants will walk away with concrete steps and strategies to make our world more sustainable. They will visit homes and businesses using solar photovoltaic and geothermal, community gardening and local foods projects, an organic farm, a sanitary landfill, a single-stream recycling facility, a LEED certified building, and electric vehicle charging facilities.

Learn how your neighbors are beginning to live more sustainably.
Witness the transition our world is undertaking to become more environmentally friendly.
Find out what steps you can take to live in right relationship with the earth.

Space is limited, so pre-registration is required. For more information, click here

Stand Up and Be Counted for Renewable Energy

Installing Solar PanelsThe Indiana legislature is now in session. One bill currently in senate committee is SB 309. This is a bill originating from the for-profit utilities of Indiana that aims to make rooftop solar unfeasible for many. Committee hearing is set for Thursday, February 9 at 9 am in Room 233 of of the Statehouse at  200 West Washington, Indianapolis. All who are able to attend should go. Clergy are invited to wear collars and/or stoles.

89% of U.S. citizens, Democrats and Republicans alike, favor expansion of solar power, and Republicans and Democrats are installing solar arrays in roughly equal numbers. Read here to find out more. So why are Indiana legislators even considering turning back the calendar on solar? If it’s not what the people want, are they truly representing us? Or just the utilities?

SB 309 would have these effects:

  • It would permanently abolish all net metering by 2027, and prohibit utilities from offering it in the future. That means solar panel owners would not receive credit for energy they sell into the grid. It would apply not only to for-profit utilities, but also to municipal and rural utilities.
  • Even before 2027, it would put a cap of 1% of a utility’s total energy use in renewable energy. Any citizens that install solar after the 1% is met would not be able to use net metering.
  • It would institute a mandatory “buy-all, sell-all” scheme. The solar panels you bought and connected to the grid would not be used to power your own building. Instead, you would be forced to sell to the utility all the power your panels are generating, at a fraction of the market cost, and buy the same power back at the rate the utilities set.

Here are some resources to learn more:

Here is more on the effectiveness of net metering:

What you can do:

  • Contact your state senator today. Find your legislator here. Ask him or her to vote NO on SB 309.
  • If you are a constituent of any members of the Senate Utilities Committee (see below), urge them to persuade committee chair Jim Merritt not to put this bill to a vote in committee. Instead, he should urge the IURC to review and modify Indiana’s policies around rooftop solar.
  • Contact Committee Chair Jim Merritt, and Sen. Brandt Horseman, the bill's sponsor, directly. You can also contact all the members of the committee by calling this number: 800-382-9467. They are listed below.
  • Sign Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light’s petition to stop SB 309.
  • Watch this page for updates on the February 9 meeting. If at all possible, attend the hearing in Indianapolis and be prepared to convey your views. Go here to RSVP.
  • Spread this information to everyone you know who cares about renewable energy!

 The Senate Utilities Committee is chaired by Sen. James Merrill (R-Indianapolis). The other Republicans on the committee are Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper), Sen. Michael Delph (R-Carmel), Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem), Sen. Eric Kock (R-Bedford), Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) and Sen. James Tomes R-(Wadesville, Posey County). The three Democrats on the committee are Sen. Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington), Sen. Timothy Lanane (D-Anderson), and Sen. Lonnie Randolph (D-East Chicago).

Indiana Forest Alliance Rally

On Monday, February 20, 11:30 amIndiana Forest Alliance, at the Indianapolis Statehouse, join with your fellow Hoosiers to reshape the future of our forests!

Your state forests are for your enjoyment…habitat for Indiana’s amazing biodiversity…storers of carbon…eco-tourism assets that make Indiana great. They shouldn’t be logged to death!

Take the day off (it’s President’s Day), gather a crew, bring a sign, and show up to help send an unmistakable message to lawmakers. Click here for more information.

People’s Climate Movement March on April 29

New York Climate MarchPut April 29 on your calendar. That’s the date of the People’s Climate Movement March in Washington D.C. for jobs, justice, and the climate. It will be bigger than 2014’s climate march in New York City, which boasted 400,000 attendees (illustrated at left).

For the third year in a row we have broken the record: 2016 was once again the hottest year in recorded history, beating 2015, which beat 2014. Yet the White House website has eliminated mention of climate change, has imposed a freeze on the Environmental Protection Agency’s grants and contracts budget, and introduced a series of executive decisions against environmental welfare. This is not what Americans want. Seventy percent of citizens say climate change is happening, and only 13% deny it. 69% support the Paris Agreement, which the current administration wishes to walk away from. And nearly 80% of Americans support taxing or regulating carbon pollution.

Call your US senators and representatives on the phone and tell them that you support stepping up action to avert climate change. Find your representatives here, and find your senators here. Tell them your story.

Mark your calendar for April 29. Consider chartering a bus to carry you and your neighbors to DC. Let us know when you do, and we will list all available buses traveling from Indiana. Or organize a “sister” event in your own city.

Ten Pathways to Congregational Creation Care

by Marie F. Fleming

Concluding Installment Four: Justice, Preparedness, and Individual Action


Those who are least responsible for climate change and resource depletion are often the ones suffering the most from its impact, paying the externalized costs of our low-price, consumerist lifestyle. Many of the "fixes" we require must be made at the policy and funding levels of government, and there is plenty that congregations can do to advocate effectively. Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light does a great job organizing us for political action. They also do leadership training, networking, and provide congregations with resources. Join the United Church of Christ’s Creation Care Challenge. Visit Creation Justice Ministries, the National Council of Christian Churches EcoFaith website for free worship and study materials on a wide range of environmental topics.


Weather extremes due to climate change are already dogging our planet. Make your congregation and community a sanctuary of resilience by being ready when disaster strikes. The book Help and Hope: Disaster Preparedness and Response Tools for Congregations, edited by Amy Gopp and Brandon Gilvin, is a practical guide to readiness.


Whether you are part of an active Earth care ministry or not, you can make a difference. For those who want to explore individual and household-level actions, here are some suggestions:

  • Start a Locavore group.
  • Host a (fair trade) coffee or local-food pitch-in and invite people to share their ideas and concerns. 
  • Pray for all creatures, not just people. 
  • Take a permaculture design course to learn how to create edible, resilient landscapes. 
  • Grow something you can eat. Join one organization whose values align with yours. 
  • Support one earth-friendly candidate for political office. 
  • Start or serve on a community sustainability board. 
  • Write a letter to the editor. 
  • Start or join a neighborhood association and strengthen your community. 
  • Give earth-friendly gifts. 
  • Learn to make your own soap or weave or knit or wood-work. 
  • Raise chickens. 
  • Commit to the local economy (businesses, food, services). 
  • Barter or trade goods or services. 
  • Preserve food. 
  • Get to know a local farmer. 
  • Build a solar box cooker or solar food dryer (instructions online). 
  • Go outside - visit parks and get to know the park rangers; hike or bike a local trail. 
  • Become an expert: Make it a point to learn about resources such as the ones named here, and become the go-to person in your congregation and neighborhood for information on creation care!

Marie F. Fleming is a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor and certified in Permaculture Design and Teaching, and is a co-founder of Indiana Green Chalice, a ministry of the Indiana Region. She lives in Bloomington, Indiana, where she and her husband, also a pastor and permaculturist, are involved in congregational creation care ministries at St. Thomas Lutheran Church. Together they seek to create a self-sustaining homestead on their 6 acres of north-facing woodland and maybe ½ acre of sunshine.

Check the Events Calendar

Check the H-IPL on-line calendar for future events in your area, including movies, lectures, and workshops.

Consider a Donation

Grassroots efforts to address climate change are more important than ever. Please consider a gift to help H-IPL continue to grow and build the movement to care for creation in 2017.

Donate Today Button

Recent issues of the monthly newsletter can be accessed by scrolling toward the bottom of our homepage.

Visit our web site www.hoosieripl.org

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter