In this issue
- Coming Events
- Trisha Tull Wins Eco-Justice Award
- The Inside Story of Task of the Month
- Want Trees? Sign Up for Leaves of Faith Now
- Reclaim Act (H.R. 4456) Promises Economic Boost to Coal Mining Regions
- Exploring the “I” in Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light: Indiana Quakers
- Coming Up: Event at First Friends in Richmond
- Consider a Donation
The H-IPL website now has a calendar where you can find upcoming events statewide, including a picnic in Kokomo, a film screening in Evansville, a visit by EPA official Janet McCabe in Kokomo, and Climate Boot Camps scheduled for this fall in Gary and Evansville. Check it out by going to the H-IPL home page and clicking “calendar” at the top, or go directly to this link. And if your group has a H-IPL-related or environmental event that you would like included on the calendar, contact Trisha Tull with info. Include a picture if you can!
Trisha Tull Wins Eco-Justice Award
- Has a long history of being a good steward of the earth;
- Promotes sustainable practices for individuals and organizations;
- Motivates and inspires others to care for God’s creation;
- And demonstrates an active care and concern for the sacred bond that exists between all things, living and nonliving.
The presentation took place at a Presbyterians for Earth Care luncheon during the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly meeting in Portland, Oregon, June 18-25, where Trisha also served as commissioner and moderator of the assembly’s committee on Social Justice Issues, and preached at one of the assembly-hosting churches, Southminster Presbyterian.
She was recently interviewed on a Portland-based radio show called Progressive Spirit, hosted by the Rev. John Shuck. A podcast of her June 5, 2016, interview is available.
The Inside Story of Task of the Month
Hoosier IPL's Task of the Month is a fun, participative way to help members reduce energy use at home. It is informative, geared to the seasons, and doable for individuals, groups, or for a whole congregation together.
Dr. Stephanie Kimball of Earth Care Bloomington developed Task of the Month back when it came in a pizza box with handouts.
Describing the origin of the idea, Stephanie said:
In my conversations with people about cutting energy use, it became apparent that a variety of issues stopped them from taking action. Some people didn't know what to do, or how to do various tasks; some didn't know where to start; still others were overwhelmed with information but just didn't get around to acting on it. I thought a program would help that simplified the process by specifying one task to focus on each month, providing ample information on how and why to do it, and encouraging people to take it on in congregations so they could support, challenge, and encourage each other.
Now Task of the Month will arrive monthly in the email inboxes of as many members as you would like to enroll. It offers one do-it-yourself task each month to help you dramatically increase your energy savings over the course of a year.
Go to our Task of the Month webpage to sign up as an individual, or as a congregational administrator. Local administrators receive the administrators' emails with suggestions for implementing this program in your congregation. All receive the monthly task emails. Administrators also can sign up multiple people. You can find more information and ideas at the ToM webpage .
Want Trees? Sign Up for Leaves of Faith Now
Fall is the time for tree planting, and summer is the time for tree planning! Hoosier IPL partners with Indiana Urban Forest Council to offer the Leaves of Faith Canopy Project, a program for planting up to nine native trees on congregational grounds over the next three years. You provide the volunteers to plant and water and membership dues of $100/year for three years. IUFC provides the high quality trees, help with species selection, site plan review, planting instructions, and a bucket with instructions for care. To learn more or to sign up, go here.
Reclaim Act (H.R. 4456) Promises Economic Boost to Coal Mining Regions
A bipartisan bill currently in committee in the U.S. House of Representatives would distribute $1 billion from the existing federal Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Fund to states and tribes across the country, including Indiana. They would then use the money to develop strategic mine reclamation projects that are linked to business projects on the reclaimed site.
The act would not use taxpayer money, and has no impact on the coal industry. Rather, it would come from money currently available to reclaim pre-1977 mine lands. It will be a vital economic boost for communities struggling with the decline of the coal industry. For more information on the Reclaim Act, see this brochure, which includes a map of potential sites for reclamation in Indiana. Call your congressperson to tell them that you support the Reclaim Act!
Exploring the “I” in Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light
Hoosier IPL includes Indiana congregations and people from all faiths whose religious beliefs lead them to environmental efforts. Last month we highlighted our green Muslim community. This month some of our Friends Meetings (Quaker) were invited to tell their story.
In August we will highlight Indiana’s Unitarian Universalist community. If you are a UU and would like to contribute, please contact Trisha Tull to add your voice.
Indiana Society of Friends
Two Friends meetings have installed solar panels in recent months with the help of Hoosier IPL’s grant programs, one in Bloomington and the other in Winchester. Two other Friends groups are taking initiatives, with H-IPL’s help, to green their congregations.
Quaker understandings of human spiritual connection with the natural world are embodied in this statement from the Bloomington Friends Meeting:
Quakers are committed to the transformational power of love embodied in the Testimonies of Peace, Equality, Community, Simplicity, and Integrity. When we live in the Life which is attuned to nature and which finds joy and satisfaction in human relationships and personal growth, we will be less dependent on material possessions and more protective of our environment.
The meeting, established in 1950, installed their first three solar panels in 2009, and last year added many more through an Indiana OED grant. They are also installing a geothermal heating and cooling system as they undergo a major building renovation this summer.
While the Bloomington fellowship is relatively new, Winchester Friends Church has met since 1873. Their meeting house was built in 1898, at a time when there were more Quakers in this area than any other place in the world. In the view of Winchester Friends, “Every effort to reduce our carbon footprint … provides a prophetic witness to our community that protecting the long-term health of the earth and it inhabitants expresses the love of God and is worth extra effort and sacrifice.”
The Society of Friends combines a conserving lifestyle with advocacy for social justice. Winchester minister Pam Ferguson writes:
For more than 70 years, Quakers at Winchester Friends Meeting in Winchester have worked with the Friends Committee on National Legislation to lobby for a world free of war, a society with equity and justice for all, and an earth restored. With help from Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light the Friends at Winchester were able to install 32 solar panels on January 1, 2016 to make visible their testimony of care for the earth. The solar panels will supply over half of the electricity needed by the Meeting and they hope to further reduce their energy costs with conservation efforts.
Below is a photo from the meeting’s solar dedication.
Clear Creek Friends Meeting
Clear Creek Friends in Richmond meet on the Earlham College campus. According to longtime member and physician Gwen Halsted, the fellowship has sought ways to respond to the climate crisis that are grounded in the belief that all of creation is sacred. “We realize that we participate in a culture and economy that contribute heavily to climate change,” she says, “and we are moved to educate ourselves and to reduce our own consumption of fossil fuels.”
So the Clear Creek Meeting adopted a project called the Carbon Awareness Contribution. It was inspired by Mount Toby Meeting in Massachusetts. Participating households calculate a quarterly voluntary contribution based on their use of fuel for vehicles, home heating, electricity use, air travel, and the carbon footprint of their food consumption. (See and download their worksheet here.) The project not only keeps them mindful of energy use, but also allows them to contribute to organizations that mitigate against climate change.
During an April visit to Richmond, Trisha Tull facilitated a lively discussion with Clear Creek Friends concerning how spirituality grounds earth care, and previewed H-IPL’s Using Energy Prudently program. Clear Creek Meeting has subsequently become a H-IPL affiliate congregation, and sent their first quarter’s Carbon Awareness Contribution to H-IPL (thank you!!!).
The Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting, to which Bloomington and Clear Creek belong, has called for divestment from fossil fuels and investment in the development of sustainable energy resources. Individuals, local Friends Meetings, and regional yearly meetings also support the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), which lobbies to influence governmental energy policy.
Friends Committee on National Legislation
The offices of FCNL, the nation’s oldest nonpartisan, ecumenical lobby, stand just across the street from the U.S. senate offices on Capitol Hill. Every May when members of Interfaith Power and Light gather from across the country in Washington D.C., they end the conference with a day of visiting with senators and representatives, using the offices of FCNL as homebase.
This May, Emily Wirzba, FCNL’s policy associate for sustainable energy and environment, described years of effort to find the Republican representative who might introduce a resolution affirming the reality of climate change. In 2015, New York Rep. Chris Gibson was approached by an interfaith delegation, asking him to sponsor such a resolution: the so-called Gibson Resolution, introduced in the House of Representatives last September by Gibson and ten Republican colleagues to coincide with the visit of Pope Francis to the U.S. As the congressman later told a reporter, addressing environmental issues is a core conservative principle. “If conservation isn’t conservative, then words have no meaning at all,” he said.
Eleven—and now thirteen—representatives may not seem like enough to change the national conversation. But Ms. Wirzba reported that this move has quietly inaugurated fundamental shifts over the past several months. A bipartisan house solutions caucus has formed, Noah’s ark style—two by two, with equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. A House Republican energy innovation and environment solutions working group has also begun meeting.
And in late April, Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina and nine colleagues introduced an amendment to an appropriations bill. This amendment acknowledges that climate change is real, human-caused, and already affecting the U.S., posing risks to health, security, economy, and infrastructure, and that 180 other countries have committed themselves to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It proposes that the U.S. become a world leader in addressing climate change, and that Congress take action. This huge step forward proceeds from the powerful work of a spiritual communion, the Society of Friends—who, it’s worth recalling, also led the charge for slavery’s abolition two centuries ago. (Watch this video featuring young Quakers speaking out to representatives about citizen concerns, and calling for public bipartisan support for climate action.)
We all need the challenging questions and examples from each other’s lives to inspire us for the spiritual work of living sustainably on our precious earth. Quakers in Indiana and across the country provide the gift of living more simply and peaceably, sharing the earth’s abundance with all creation, and exercising citizenship in the public forum.
Coming Up: Event at First Friends in Richmond
First Friends in Richmond has also been studying eco-spirituality and has sensed their leading into deeper engagement in green ministry. On July 31, H-IPL program director Trisha Tull will visit First Friends to preach during worship at 9:30 a.m. and to offer a workshop afterward on organizing green teams. All are welcome to join us there!