Earth Care Bloomington 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

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,


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

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, 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,

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,  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 to reserve a place.