In this issue
- Executive Director Sought
- Updates from Hoosier Solarize Initiative :Evansville, South Bend, Goshen, and Indianapolis
- Defending Clean Air
- July Gardens: St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis
- Upcoming Events through September
- Check the Events Calendar
- Consider a Donation
Executive Director Sought
The Board of Directors of Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light (H-IPL) announces the search for our next Executive Director. We seek a director who will lead H-IPL as we continue to lead Indiana faith communities in responding to the global climate crisis and to expand our role in advocacy and as climate leaders in the state. The search committee is open to candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds, including faith backgrounds and job experience. While H-IPL is a statewide organization, the Executive Director must be able to spend significant time in Indianapolis. This is a half-time, salaried position. If you are interested you may review a full job profile on our web site at hoosieripl.org. To apply, please include a cover letter, resumé, and a list of references and send to firstname.lastname@example.org. Note: The deadline for receipt of applications has been extended to July 15.
Updates from Hoosier Solarize Initiative
Last month’s newsletter reported on the Hoosier Solarize Initiative, starting up throughout the state to quickly solarize homes, congregations, and businesses and take full advantage of net metering before it disappears. Installations before the end of December will enjoy net metering until 2047, while those between 2018 and 2022 will benefit only until 2032.
Solarize programs make it easier and less costly for homeowners to install solar panels. In ten cities across Indiana, small teams of volunteers are organizing Solarize initiatives with the goal of quickly expanding solar in their cities before SB 309 takes effect at year-end. On June 24, citizens of seven Indiana cities gathered for training, and all of these cities are now organizing local Solarize programs.
Missed the first training? A second is being planned for July 22 or 29. Teams from any city are welcome. HSI is especially keen to launch teams in Fishers, Fort Wayne, Jeffersonville / New Albany, northwest Indiana (Gary, Munster, Michigan City, etc.), Oldenburg / Batesville, Richmond, and Terre Haute.
Specific Information for Evansville, South Bend, Goshen, and Indianapolis
Solarize Evansville is now up and running, and is holding informational sessions to help potential buyers determine whether solar makes financial sense for them, and to connect them with qualified installers offering quality products at competitive prices. Contracts should be signed by September 30 to ensure installation by the end of 2017.
The next informational session will be held on Saturday, July 22, 2pm - 4pm, in Evansville Central Library’s Browsing Room A, 200 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Please bring your latest electric bill.
If you are interested but can’t make the meeting, please call Jean Webb at 812-204-8157 for future meeting dates and locations. Click here for an informational brochure.
Solarize South Bend invites everyone interested to Near Northwest Neighborhood Inc. (1007 Portage Avenue) on Wednesday, July 19, 6:30 pm. To RSVP contact Leah Thill (LThill@SolSmart.org; 574-287-1829 ext 801). Come check it out, even if you don’t RSVP.
Solarize South Bend is a community-driven initiative providing information and resources to simplify going solar. Solarize also organizes homeowners and businesses to leverage their buying power to receive a discount on solar photovoltaic systems. Although Solarize is a volunteer-powered movement, guidance is provided by the South Bend Office of Sustainability and the Michiana Area Council of Governments.
Solarize Goshen is launching their initiative on Thursday August 3rd, at 6:30 pm at the Municipal Annex Building 204 E Jefferson St, Goshen, IN 45626. To RSVP contact Leah Thill (LThill@SolSmart.org; 574-287-1829 ext 801).
Solarize Indianapolis’s first informational meeting is on July 5 (for details, click here). But if you miss it, please contact Jesse Kirkham (email@example.com) or Ray Wilson (firstname.lastname@example.org), 317 872-6770. For a brochure with more information, click here.
If you live in other cities and are interested or know someone who might be interested, please contact Madi Hirschland at HoosierSolarInitiative@gmail.com. In this challenging time, this work is truly exciting, important and hopeful – and time-limited. HSI looks forward to hearing from you.
Defending Clean Air
Several Hoosier IPL supporters traveled last month from Indiana to Washington D.C. to petition our U.S. senators and representatives to uphold the Clean Air Act. It was astounding for us to hear that it wasn’t the Clean Power Plan, the Green Climate Fund, or the Paris Accords that we were going to defend, but the 1970 Clean Air Act, that bipartisan plan emerging from the smog of the ‘60s to make air breathable again. Until recently its provisions were a given. No one wants to fill their lungs with health-compromising particulates. But some public servants are working to dismantle this signature legislation, and we are trying to make our wishes known.
According to a 2011 EPA study, the Clean Air Act as it stands will prevent 230,000 premature American deaths by 2020, and 17 million lost work days. For a cost of $65 billion we can get $2 trillion in benefits—that is, $30 to every $1 spent. Since attacks on clean air are unpopular with citizens, even in 2017, the attack on clean air isn’t head-on, but instead chipping away at good legislation already achieved, piece by piece.
With the help of Earthjustice, the nonprofit environmental law firm that defends healthy communities, clean energy, and nature, a few dozen advocates from Indiana and other states traveled to D.C. to discuss with our legislative aides two unfavorable measures:
S. 951, the so-called "Regulatory Accountability Act" which is designed to unleash what Earthjustice calls “an avalanche of bureaucratic hurdles and litigations by polluters,” crippling the government’s ability to protect communities and the environment. Far from making government leaner, it creates 53 new barriers to safeguards for food, workplaces, and communities, including not only environmental pollutants but predatory lending. It renders some rules non-reviewable by courts. It favors polluters over scientific and public input, and allows industries to tie up new rules benefit the public in court for years. It weakens the extent that government—even if it wants to—can protect citizens from deep-pocket polluters, and it has already been passed by the House.
HR. 806/S. 263, being considered in both houses, is the so-called “Ozone Standards Implementation Act,” but it’s just the opposite of what its name implies. According to Earthjustice and others, a better name is the “Smoggy Skies Act.” It proposes an eight-year delay of ozone standards that were already passed in 2015. A mere 60 parts per billion (ppb) of ozone, or smog, causes health-endangering risks not just of haze but of asthma, heart attacks, low birth weight, and premature deaths. The new standard reduces the acceptable level from 75 to 70 ppb (still too high but an improvement). More than 1/3 of Americans—116.5 million people—live in locations with unsafe ozone levels, many low-income families who cannot afford the health compromises, lost work days, and daily distress of being unable to breathe. So delaying this ten years means that much more health burden on more growing bodies.
After an extremely helpful orientation by Earthjustice folks, our Indiana team spoke with aides in the offices of Senators Joe Donnelly and Todd Young as well as several House Republicans and Democrats.
One Hoosier, the Rev. Daryl Emowrey, a Lutheran pastor in Angola, spoke to every official about God’s breathing the breath of life into the first human being, bringing the creature to life. Connecting God’s life-giving breath to the life-sustaining air of our atmosphere, he pleaded that our air not continue becoming a source of death instead.
Two representatives from the Mom’s Clean Air Force, Akeeshea Daniels and Tara Adams from East Chicago in Northwest Indiana—where lead contamination in the soil from a former smelting factory has stricken many children, and industrial air pollution is among the country’s worst—gave heart-rending testimony about watching their own children fall ill from asthma and other respiratory diseases, and needing to use inhalers themselves.
Kathy Watson, an Indianapolis environmental attorney who understands the ins and outs of this legislation very well, outlined the costs of both of these bills to our state, as well as the local benefits of reducing ozone levels.
Andrew Turba, a Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light supporter from South Bend, told what his own church has done to conserve energy, and the economic as well as spiritual benefits this work has brought the congregation.
Trisha Tull discussed concerns for cancer and other serious diseases. Air pollution is a leading cause of cancer, even compromising the health of unborn babies. Consigning young mothers and children to fatal diseases by failing to limit pollution is more than heartbreaking—it’s immoral.
Don Summerfield, a pastor in Jeffersonville, discussed a toxic industry in Rockwood, Tennessee, where he had previously served, that was turning the townspeople’s clothing and tennis shoes gray. They fought long and hard to get the pollution controlled, and ultimately the industry had to buy out a whole neighborhood. Through the battle, regulators repeatedly told them that citizen protection was only as strong as the laws that were in place.
It’s easy to doubt the effectiveness of such conversations. Yet it’s amazing how often we hear, “This bill has not been on our radar—thanks for bringing it to our attention.”
It’s shocking that the Clean Air Act, one of the previous generation’s foundational achievements, is up for grabs now. But we are grateful that Earthjustice and other watchdogs are skillfully guiding ordinary citizens to know and claim our rights.
Please contact Senators Donnelly and Young and your U.S. representative to voice your concerns over these measures.
July Gardens: Last month congregations were invited to send news from their summer gardens. St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis responded, so please enjoy their narrative and pictures!
Feed the Soul
by Brandt Carter, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church
We have seen many community gardens springing up. Whether they are neighborhood, business, or farm-to-table gardens, the produce is enjoyed by people at summer meals. In addition to basic vegetables of tomatoes, lettuces, carrots, cabbages, beans, and squashes, we encourage you to plant rows of herbs and flowers to feed the soul.
The Sowers of St. Luke’s have a public garden that has been maturing for almost thirty years. It has had an ever evolving history beginning with small, individually tended plots featuring easy-to-grow herbs. It has been in two locations because of the church’s expansion, and this is what is amazing about gardens: they can move and change. The garden features a small medicinal, culinary specimen planter surrounded by pear esplanade trees. There are herbs sprinkled among foundation plantings, perennials, and annuals so that the garden blooms all season. All of the gardeners have learned to include herbs in their cooking and enjoy the seasonal crop.
After almost twenty-five years, the church invited an architectural firm to reimagine spaces. To our surprise, the professionals designated our garden the most interesting feature of the church. They encouraged any future expansion should open onto the garden. “It feeds the soul.”
If you have a garden, don’t forget to include flowers. Many of the easy-to-grow flowers are companions to vegetables and can provide beauty and help with insect control. It’s never too late to add rows of color: marigolds, mums, asters, daylilies. Feed your soul and all who pass your garden.
Upcoming Events—July through September
Saturday, July 22, Evansville
Solarize Evansville Informational Session, Browsing Room A, Evansville Central Library, 200 SE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Evansville.
See article about this initiative and this important introductory session.
Fridays, July 28, and August 25, Bloomington
The Just Friday Discussion Group at First United Church meets the fourth Friday of the month and is focussing on issues related to climate change this summer. In May the group discussed issues related to transportation. In the coming months the schedule is
- July 28: Climate Change and Our Daily Habits
- August 25: Climate Change and the Stuff We Own
For more information contact the organizer, Hopi Stosberg at email@example.com or go to their Facebook Event Page. The group meets 7-9 pm in the Roger Williams Hall at First United Church, 2420 E. 3rd St., Bloomington. All are welcome.
Starting and Nurturing Your Creation Care Ministry, A Statewide Webinar
Wednesday, August 9, 7-8 pm or Thursday, August 10, 12-1 pm
No matter how hardworking and successful they are, green teams or creation care committees are often beset by frustration: Why isn’t everyone more involved? Why does the congregation move so slowly? Are we really making a difference? What can we do?
This webinar will offer tools and resources for creation care in your congregation or community. Assess, plan, evaluate, and build your ideas for making environmental action an everyday ethic in the life of your faith community. Discuss your successes, questions, and ideas with other creation care teams. To participate, you will need a computer, preferably with webcam, speakers and microphone. Led by H-IPL Program Facilitator Trisha Tull. Free and open to individuals and teams statewide. Register at the Hoosier IPL Calendar page.
Saturdays, August 12 and September 16 in Indianapolis
Solar Panel Forums
Harnessing the sunshine at your congregation or home is a great way to reduce your environmental footprint and free up financial resources to be redirected to energy conservation measures and other ministries in your faith community. Even if your congregation might not be ready for solar now, this is a great way to get an introduction and begin planning. Come and learn about the new solar panels and what it takes to install and finance solar power.
August 12, 10 am-12 pm, Eastgate Christian Church, 8100 E. 16th Street, Indianapolis. Free and open to the public. Darrell Boggess, expert at SIREN (Solar Indiana Renewable Energy Network) will lead and answer questions.
September 16, 10 am-12 pm, All Souls Unitarian Church, 5805 East 56th Street, Indianapolis, IN. Free and open to the public. Ray Wilson, H-IPL’s Using Energy Prudently specialist, will lead and answer questions.
Using Energy Prudently Workshops in Fort Wayne, South Bend
- Saturday, Aug 26, 1-5 pm at Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren, Fort Wayne
- Saturday, Sept 9, 10 am-3 pm at First United Methodist Church, South Bend
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. 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.
Go here for more information, and register here. Participants may also register and pay at the door. Covers refreshments and a notebook of materials to take with you.
Climate Boot Camp in Fort Wayne, South Bend
- Thursday, September 14, 9 am-3:30 pm at Plymouth Congregational Church, Fort Wayne
- Saturday, September 16, 9 am-3:30 pm at St. Anthony de Padua Catholic Church, South Bend
Day-long workshops for faith leaders and members, led by climate scientist Dr. Ben Brabson, environmental theologian Dr. Trisha Tull, and H-IPL board chair the Rev. Wyatt Watkins. They will discuss the scientific, theological, economic, and pastoral challenges and rewards of speaking out about climate change. We hope to help every Hoosier of faith to speak confidently and boldly about global warming and its impacts, and to encourage their communities to respond with vigor and hope.
Go here for more information, and register here. Immediately upon registration you will receive downloadable articles to read to prepare you for the day. Registration covers lunch, a folder of materials, and a two-hour support follow-up meeting three months later.
Check the H-IPL on-line calendar
Find 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.