Earth Care helps faith communities answer the moral call to care for our Earth through energy efficiency and conservation practices in their facilities and members’ homes. Several congregations have cut their energy use by over half, and six boost their savings with solar panels.  Cut Your Energy Bills / Protect the Earth Workshops provide simple guidance to help households cut their utility bills.  If ten of your members will participate, we’ll organize a workshop just for you. Send us a request at EarthCareIndiana@gmail.com.

Meetings: Typically we meet at 4:30 PM, on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at St. Thomas Lutheran Church, 3800 E. 3rd Street, Bloomington. Contact Molly O’Donnell, 812-345-7399, mollysod@gmail.com

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10/15/2019,  Earth Care, Molly O’Donnell reporting –

Solar tours

Three of Bloomington’s seven solarized houses of worship – the Unitarian Universalist Church, St. John’s Catholic Church, and the Friends Meeting House – offered tours of their PV systems during the weekend of October 5-6. They were among a total of 20 Indiana congregations who participated in “the largest grassroots solar event in the U.S.” – the ASES National Solar Tour,  for which the American Solar Energy Society partners with SUN (Solar United Neighbors.  SUN’s Indiana Chapter started up in Indianapolis this year and is organizing both buying arrangements and legislative initiatives.

Using Energy Prudently

Bloomington Friends Meeting will host a “Using Energy Prudently” workshop on Saturday, November 2, 2019, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Quaker Meetinghouse, 3820 E. Moore’s Pike. The free program will provide specific tips from Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light for conserving energy and sustainably cutting utility expenses in houses of worship.  You can register at https://hoosieripl.salsalabs.org/uepbloomingtonfriends/index.html or contact Peggy Squires at squirmi26@gmail.com

The workshop will help your congregation to:

  • Improve your building’s energy efficiency
  • Live out your values by caring for creation
  • Practice what you preach about good stewardship
  • Spend less on utilities and more on your mission

Those attending will gain practical information about sealing the building envelope; maintaining and replacing HVAC equipment; using zoning and thermostats to slash energy waste; lighting technologies for various rooms; and detecting energy hogs in a building.

Eliminating Single-use Plastic

All are invited to watch the movie “Bag It! Is your life too plastic?” at 4:00 PM on November 17 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington, 2120 N. Fee Lane, Bloomington. We’ll have locally-sourced popcorn and hold a discussion after the showing.

 

5/16/2019,  Earth Care, Molly O’Donnell reporting –

Earth Care encourages people concerned about healing our current state of polarization to consider attending the Better Angels Skills Workshop.

Bloomington Area Interfaith Alliance (BAIA) is sponsoring a Better Angels Skills Workshop on Tuesday May 28, 7:00 to 9:30 p.m., at St. Thomas Lutheran Church, 3800 East Third Street, Bloomington. In today’s polarized environment, political conversations often turn angry and counterproductive. Better Angels skills help people listen and understand without arguing to build trust, clarify disagreements, and find common ground based on common values and humanity. By creating opportunities for meaningful discussions, Better Angels works to dial down the heated rhetoric that gets in the way of real conversations and accurate understanding of our differences. The objective is not to push an agenda or change participant’s minds, but rather to provide a safe place for deeper understanding. Read more about Better Angels at www.better-angels.org

Sign up for the skills workshop here: www.BetterAngelsIndiana.org

Questions? Contact presenter Miles Eddy at online@mileseddy.com for more information or to RSVP by email.

 

3/17/2019, Earth Care

Renowned Evangelical Climate Scientist to speak in Bloomington

Join us in welcoming Katharine Hayhoe, Director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech, to Bloomington. She will be giving a talk entitled “Talking Climate:  Why Facts are not Enough.

When: Tuesday March 26th at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Indiana University Bloomington Fine Arts Auditorium, FA015.

Dr. Hayhoe, an evangelical Christian, believes that her faith is compatible with science. “…The New Testament talks about how faith is the evidence of things not seen,” says Hayhoe. “By definition, science is the evidence of things that are seen, that can be observed, that are quantifiable. And so that’s why I see faith and science as two sides of the same coin.” And as she has stated “Climate change is affecting our food, our water, our air and even our economy – and those already vulnerable and disadvantaged are the ones being hit the hardest by its impacts.” Pastor Bob Whitaker of the Evangelical Community Church will introduce Dr. Hayhoe.

Sponsored by: Concerned Scientists @ IU, Environmental Resilience Institute, Integrated Program in the Environment, Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences O’Neill School of Public & Environmental Affairs, Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light, Earth Care Bloomington

The event is free and open to the public.

 

3/12, 2019, ICEY and Earth Care, Molly O’Donnell reporting –

Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light, of which Earth Care is one of the original affiliates, welcomes a new board member, Amy Huser. HIPL’s announcement states “Climate change is an opportunity and a wake-up call to create the just, kind, and loving world we all long for. With a passion for peace and justice, Amy recognizes a damaged climate will greatly increase conflict around the world.  As a mother she mourns the world her children will inherit if carbon emissions remain constant.  As a person of faith and as one part of this vast and wondrous creation, she is committed to action.”

Amy believes that an ‘all hands on deck’ approach is essential to addressing climate change.  “Talk to your family, your friends, and your neighbors about climate change.  Engage with your legislators and leaders – let them know you care and your vote is for a healthy climate.  Take personal actions to reduce your footprint and make a positive impact in your community.  Support Hoosier-Interfaith Power and Light and be a part of the solution!”

Amy has over fourteen years of teaching experience that focused on cultivating students’ learning about nature, sustainability, and interdependence through art. In 2016 she completed a second master’s degree in Resilient and Sustainable Communities from Green Mountain College in Vermont.

2/10, 2019, ICEY and Earth Care, Molly O’Donnell reporting –

ICEY MLK Day “Cook for your Community” event

On January 22, 2019 two former members of ICEY –Interfaith Community of Environmentalist Youth– and four fellow Indiana University students held a well-attended MLK Day event “Cook for your Community.” Katherine Tilghman and Mara Flynn conceived of, planned and carried out the event in the hopes of interesting today’s middle and high school students in re-starting ICEY. Their own experiences in ICEY were life changing, and they hope to mentor a new ICEY group.

ICEY organizers Mara Flynn (left) and Katherine Tilghman (right) address middle- and high-school students on Martin Luther King Day. (Photo courtesy of Allan Edmonds)

Fifty-two youth attended the event. Each IU student led a team to prepare one of six vegan dishes. The youth got to taste the food before it was put into containers and taken to Community Kitchen. The youth learned that dishes with no meat or dairy taste good, are good for you and good for the Earth* and that helping less fortunate people in their community feels good.

Many cooks in the kitchen (Photo courtesy of Allan Edmonds.)

Several IU Journalism students interviewed attendees (the youth, and ICEY members and Earth Care members who were providing support) for a class assignment, so they learned about ICEY, Earth Care and SIREN.

A member of Sherwood Oaks neighborhood brought several youth. She was interested in learning more about ICEY’s projects, especially how they promoted Bryan Park neighbors to join a group buy of solar arrays, what became Solarize Bloomington.

Mara and Katherine will be hosting more events for teens in the near future and can’t wait to bring together more youth who are passionate about the environment. Please contact iceybloomington@gmail.com if you or someone you know is interested in joining an environmental youth group!

*Following a plant-based diet is one of the highest impact personal choices those of us in an industrialized society can make to help reduce global warming. Earth Care convener put together a document “Eating Lower on the Food Chain” which is available on the Earth Care website: http://www.earthcareindiana.org/

 

1/14/2019 – Earth Care and ICEY

Students Teach Teens to Make a Difference in the Kitchen

Interfaith Community of Environmental Youth (ICEY) has announced a service project for Bloomington area youth on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. Please spread the word.

  • What: A cooking workshop to teach teens fun, easy recipes and donate food to those in need (no cooking experience required)
  • Where: First United Church (2420 E 3rd St)
  • When: January 21st (MLK Day), 2PM to 4PM
  • Who: Youth ages 12-18 (or middle and high school students)
  • Why: Because we need to teach the next generation how to make changes that help those in need, both in Bloomington and in the worldwide communities affected by climate change.

Climate change, homelessness, and public health are worldwide problems, but the solution starts with individuals—especially young people. Middle and high school students (ages 12-18) are invited to First United Church for a fun, sustainable, and delicious hands-on service activity this Martin Luther King Day from 2-4 pm. We’ll discover and prepare a few easy, healthy recipes which we’ll then donate to Bloomington organizations feeding those in need—after we taste-test the food, of course!

On Martin Luther King Day, an inspiring day of nationwide service, teens across the country use the time off school to serve those in need. In this event, youth will not only make a difference in Bloomington, but also learn healthy lifestyle changes that have positive effects for the earth. As Dr. King himself declared, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

This hands-on service event is hosted and organized by ICEY (the Interfaith Community of Environmentalist Youth) with support from Earth Care, a local interfaith environmental group. ICEY, a youth-run, youth-led group in Bloomington, wants to provide youth with knowledge and skills they can use to make sustainable changes in their daily lives. Mara Flynn, a student organizer for the event, says, “We can’t just wait for the government to take care of things and pretend we can keep living the way we’re living. We all need to make changes and start living responsibly.” Let’s start by cooking, eating, and donating some delicious food!

Contact for more information:

Katherine Tilghman
Interfaith Community of Environmentalist Youth
(812) 391-9514
katherinet1104@gmail.com

8/24/2018 – Earth Care, Molly O’Donnell reporting

What is Pay It Forward?

Half a dozen area congregations that have both greatly reduced their energy use and installed solar panels.  These congregations have donated to a fund to help other congregations on their own journeys!

In order to maximize the impact of our limited resources, we are looking for projects that will:

  1.  lead to a significant decrease in fossil fuel use;
  2.  help build a community ethos around creation care;
  3. inspire similar action among congregants and other congregations.

Earth Care members will share our experiences and offer tools that we –and our parent organization, Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light (H-IPL), have developed. For example, we can help you take steps that require little or no investment of your congregation’s funds. Pay It Forward could then pay for a year of H-IPL’s online energy-use tracking service to provide feedback on how much has been saved by your actions.

Please plan to attend! We encourage two or more members of a congregation to attend so they can share this opportunity with their leadership and other interested members.

WHEN: Sunday October 14th, 4-6 PM

WHERE: St. Thomas Lutheran Church,  3800 E. 3rd Street, Bloomington

Questions? email Mollysod@gmail.com

3/10/2018 – Earth Care, Molly O’Donnell reporting

In March Earth Care members met with Amy Barnes, the new statewide Program Manager for Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light (H-IPL). Amy, who started her career as an intern at EPA under Nixon, later got involved in the Green Team at her church, and then coordinated Methodist green teams statewide. She appreciates the inter- or “multi” faith quality of H-IPL, and will work to increase sharing of ideas among affiliates and help groups grow by assessing where people in their communities are, and starting there.

Interested in forming a green team for your congregation? Contact Molly O’Donnell at 812-345-7399, mollysod@gmail.com. Or just come to one of our Earth Care meetings, held on the third Tuesday each month at 7:15 PM at the UU Church, 2120 North Fee Lane, Bloomington.

12/12/2017 – Earth Care, Molly O’Donnell reporting

Earth Care is excited to announce Pay It Forward, a program to help more area congregations install solar arrays.  The fund has been seeded with a $5000 grant recently awarded to the Trinity Creation Care committee by the Episcopal Church Advisory Council on the Stewardship of Creation. Our goal is to triple that amount. We are hopeful that faith communities with solar panels will consider donating a portion of their annual savings to help less advantaged faith communities receive similar benefits from solar. Donations are tax deductible and greatly appreciated. Contact Molly O’Donnell, MollySOD@gmail.com.

10/13/2017 – Earth Care, Molly O’Donnell reporting

With members of St. Thomas Lutheran and Hans Kelson of the Unitarian Universalist Church, Earth Care is working on (literally!) rejuvenating ICEY. Including youth from seventh grade up would provide more continuity when older teens graduate. Two ICEY graduates who are IU freshman this year will mentor the new recruits, along with Kelson, a longtime ICEY volunteer. If you know someone who would be interested in joining, send an email to Molly O’Donnell.

The group is contemplating changing its name to the Indiana (formerly Interfaith) Community of Environmentalist Youth to be more inclusive. They aim to partner with the Monroe County Energy Challenge to do renewable energy demonstrations on the Energy Bus, among other things.

8/15/2017 – Earth Care, Dr. Ben Brabson reporting

Trinity Episcopal Church is greatly fortunate to have an array of solar panels on the education wing of the church here in Bloomington.  The panels provide about 20% of its present electric energy use.  These panels have proven to be an excellent investment for the church. The panels have freed resources to be dedicated to other church outreach activities such as the Winter Shelter for the homeless in Bloomington.  The panels have also encouraged members of the congregation to reduce their own energy use and on occasion to install panels on their home.

Trinity is planning for a second array of panels, sufficient to cover an additional 15% of our energy use. Two reasons for this project are (1) the excellent return on investment freeing resources for further outreach and (2) the loss of net-metering in Indiana at the end of this year.

Return on Investment: The relatively low cost of panel installation, now at ~$2.10/watt, and the insolation in southern Indiana, about 1.25 kWh per installed Watt per year, gives a return on investment of better than 5%/year.

Phase-out of Net Metering:  Installations of solar panels completed before the end of 2017 will continue to participate in net metering for the next 30 years.  That is, they will be grandfathered until 2047.  Trinity will benefit from this grandfathering period. We did not want to wait until next year, when the grandfathering period would only be 15 years.

7/11/2017 – Earth Care, Molly O’Donnell reporting

You are invited to a special screening of the acclaimed film, From The Ashes, at 7:00 PM, Wednesday August 2nd at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 2120 N. Fee Lane, Bloomington, to be followed by a discussion about issues related to the coal industry in Indiana.

The event is free, but please reply via Eventbrite, at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/from-the-ashes-screening-tickets-36080276077,  so we know to expect you.

National Geographic’s acclaimed film raises issues that are especially relevant to residents of Indiana, who get more than 80% of their electricity from coal-burning plants.

 

7/11/2017, Earth Care – Anne Hedin reporting

Stephanie Kimball is feeling triply blessed, as president of Earth Care, and member of the Unitarian Universalist Bloomington congregation, and president of the nonprofit Solar for All. “The UUs decided to maximize our PV array, adding 54 panels [to the 96 panels already there]. This will bring our energy production to near 100% of our electricity use.  AND 5% of the total project cost will be donated to Solar for All” to help low-income homeowners get solar as well.  At the church’s June 2 Board meeting, the proposed addition was not only approved but almost fully funded by donations from the congregants as well as church funds.

In addition, donations to SFA have begun coming in from participants in Solarize Bloomington Phase 1. Whole Sun Designs, the primary residential installer for that phase, is matching donations up to 1% of the total project value out of its own pocket.

2/8/2017 – Earth Care is sponsoring Low Carbon Diet for Your Home: Lose 5,000 pounds of CO2 emissions, saving money, energy and the planet. Dr. Ben Brabson leads a 4-session workshop Mondays February 13 – March 13, 7 – 8:30 PM, Trinity Episcopal Church, 100 S. Grant St. Bloomington. Contact brabson@indiana.edu to reserve a place.