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EDITORIAL EDITOR Jim Poyser jpoyser@IndianaLivingGreen.com EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS Ginnye Cubel, Jordan Martich CONTRIBUTORS The ApocaDocs, Ginnye Cubel, Lynn Jenkins, Joe Lee, Mark Lee, James Lowe, Jordan Martich, Bowden Quinn, William Saint, Betsy Sheldon, Renee Sweany, Ed Wenck INTERNS Katelyn Breden, Francesca Conterno
WEB I.T. MANAGER T.J. Zmina tjzmina@IndianaLivingGreen.com
08 Let the soil guide you
May, an Indianapolis-based landscape architect, is on a mission to reboot the way we landscape and the way we garden. “For the past century,” she says, “we’ve designed gardens with one thing in mind — the way we want them to look and how they fit into our artistic sensibilities. If we designed buildings the same way, they’d fall down.”
+ BY ED WENCK + COVER PHOTO BY MICHELLE CRAIG
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04 Hallelujah, mother Mig, mother Earth
I’m a handful of miles from home, on a sunny Saturday morning in January, bicycling along a bike lane I’ve only just today discovered. My destination is Robin Run, a retirement community, where I am to deliver my Climate Reality slideshow. Robin Run is where my mother-in-law, Margaret Wildhack, spent her last years, mostly in the Alzheimer’s unit. + BY JIM POYSER
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05 Something rotten in downtown Indy
For more than twenty years, downtown Indy has been sporadically inundated with an intense odor resembling that of natural gas. Believed by many to radiate from Metalworking Lubricants, a company that produces industrial oils, compounds, greases and other products, the odor has disturbed many, resulting in numerous calls to local officials.
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GARDENING WITH NATURE by Lynn Jenkins
Grow food, not lawns Ever since the U.S. grew into an urban centered population from the rural farms, we gave up one of our most liberating prerogatives — to grow our own food. The flux from farm to city grew dramatically after WWII. Today less than two percent of the U.S. population lives on farms, according to the EPA Ag Center. Farming became industrialized under Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz in the 1970s. A Hoosier, Butz famously told farmers to “get big or get out,” leading to the demise of the family farm and the take-over by agribusiness corporations. The result is that Big Ag and Goliath chemical and pesticide corporations such as Monsanto, Bayer and Dow own the majority of seeds used in food crops in the U.S. Furthermore, most of the processed food in groceries is controlled by only ten giant corporations. Sadly, many of the organic and natural foods we’ve trusted such as Kashi, Stoneyfield, Horizon, Odwalla, Muir Glen and Cascadian Farms are now Big Ag owned and controlled. In response, many consumers are growing their own foods for financial savings, health objectives and food security. There are good reasons to consider becoming an “urban farmer.” • Local economies prosper when food dollars stay within local communities, and quality and freshness is better than from distant growers. • Both personal health and that of the environment benefit from urban farming. An individual is less likely to need or use the amount of toxic chemicals used on factory farms. And walking to the backyard garden rather than hauling produce from across the country minimizes the added strain of oil needed for transportation. • Neighborly interaction is a positive offshoot of community gardens or sharing garden tips and produce “over the backyard fence.” Connected communities are safer communities. Join the Urban Farmer movement. Learn more by attending the City Gardener series offered by Purdue Extension at the State Fairgrounds. The sessions are for inexperienced urban gardeners for six Wednesdays beginning April 3 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Cost is $5 per session or $20 for the series. For more info, 317-2759286 or ag.purdue.edu. Got a comment, question or a tip to share? Contact Lynn at Lynn@IndianaLivingGreen.com 4
Hallelujah, mother Mig, mother Earth I’m a handful of miles from home, on a sunny Saturday morning in January, bicycling along a bike lane I’ve only just today discovered. There are some challenges; first, though it’s sunny, it’s still cold, especially since I’m riding straight into the wind. Second, I’ve got more cargo than usual. My computer is slung along my back, but I’m also carrying my projector and cords and the strap is digging into my shoulder. My destination is Robin Run, a retirement community, where I am to deliver my Climate Reality slideshow. Robin Run is where my mother-in-law, Margaret Wildhack, spent her last years, mostly in the Alzheimer’s unit. Mig, as everyone called her, died there one night in 1997, just before Thanksgiving. My friend and eco-hero, John Gibson, a resident of Robin Run, invited me to this presentation. John was a good friend of Mig’s, so he was one of the first people I met when I moved to Indy in the mid-80s. As I bicycle, I’m thinking about Mig and her indomitable spirit. She once scaled the eight-foot fence in the Alzheimer’s unit courtyard, while wearing a dress, and walked a few miles before chancing upon a man who figured out from where she’d escaped. Remembering that adventure, I’m inspired to keep pedaling straight into the teeth of this bloody wind. But I’m distracted, as well, as my eyes keep straying to the side of the road, which is loaded with litter. Who are these people, I wonder, who so disdain the earth they throw trash out their window?
A blaring horn disrupts my reverie. This stream of cars along 71st never ceases; it’s an unstoppable fount of emission- and litter-spewing metal. One wrong move and I’m dead. Look, there’s more discarded crap. A Styrofoam cup from a fast food joint. A piece of clothing — a tee-shirt? And what’s that? A car battery. In fact, it’s a Diehard car battery. Well-named, isn’t it? It will take a long time for that piece of litter to die, and think what acids will leach into the soil. For a moment, I think about stopping and picking it up out of the muck, but realize I’m already carrying too much as it is. I pedal on, and find myself recalling the solar panels on Mig’s home in the Mapleton Fallcreek neighborhood, in the mid-to-late ‘80s, a few years after Ronald Reagan had removed the solar panels from the roof of Jimmy Carter’s White House. Mig was a mindful citizen of Mother Earth. At last I reach Robin Run; memories of the place flooding back. As I set up the projector and ready the presentation, I recall the night Mig died. My wife, her aunt and I were bedside, knowing the end was near. Someone thought to turn on the radio. The “Hallelujah Chorus” was playing. Over the course of that piece, Mig died peacefully. Hallelujah, Mig. Hallelujah to your solar panels, your fence-climbing antics, your unflagging optimism. I won’t let the litterbugs and carbon emitters and solar panel-removers of the world get me down. The group arrives, some in wheelchairs, some with walkers. I fire up the projector and begin. If you want to invite Jim to present to your organization or church or school, contact him at jpoyser@ indianalivinggreen.com.
WATTS & WHATNOT
Dr. William Beranek Jr. is the chairman of Marion County’s emergency planning committee.
^ photo by mark lee
Something rotten in downtown Indy
Fingers point to Metalworking Lubricants By James Lowe
For more than 20 years, downtown Indy has been sporadically inundated with an intense odor resembling that of natural gas. Believed by many to radiate from Metalworking Lubricants, a company that produces industrial oils, compounds, greases and other products, the odor has disturbed many, resulting in numerous calls to local officials. Metalworking Lubricants is situated within five minutes of Lucas Oil Stadium and a mere three miles away from Riley Hospital for Children and Emmerich Manual High School. According to Kevin Mouser, an environmental manager in IUPUI’s Office of Environmental Health & Safety, the odor
has “plagued the city … for probably close to 20 years. When the circumstances are right [the] odor will frequently make it to the IUPUI campus, to the Lilly campus, through downtown Indianapolis. When it does a large number of people mistake that odor for a natural gas leak so it leads to … lots of problems, frequently citizens ask to dispatch individuals to investigate. There are a number of instances where the fire department has had to dispatch resources to investigate as well. “Our very first incident we had so many complaints that we couldn’t actually document it,” Mouser recalls. “We had what I would consider to be a crisis on campus. We ILG
were getting so many natural gas complaints that … our office couldn’t investigate each and every one.” Metalworking Lubricants refused comment when approached for this story.
Crying (stinky) wolf Dr. William Beranek Jr., the chairman of Marion County’s emergency planning committee, a group responsible for ensuring citizen protection from harmful chemicals, shares Mouser’s sentiments. “Because [the] odor that smells like that which is required to be added to natural gas and propane, people that breathe that odor believe there is natural gas leaks, so they call the fire ///
WATTS & WHATNOT A chance to speak out
continued from pg 5
Citizens will have the opportunity to have their voices heard on the issue. Under the Federal Clean Air Act that was drafted in 1970 and amended in 1990, Metalworking Lubricants requires a permit known as the Federally Enforceable State Operating Permit, or FESOP. Metalworking Lubricants recently filed with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to renew their expiring FESOP permit. As part of IDEM policy, citizens are allowed to request public hearings on all environmental permits and are able to submit concerns or suggestions to revisions in specific permits. In an act of good faith and at the behest of the city, Metalworking Lubricants, whose address is 1509 S. Senate Ave., installed a scrubbing system to their main boiler after the initial FESOP issuance in 1997. The long-time formal position of Metalworking Lubricants is that they aren’t responsible for the odor. Michael Zielinski, assistant plant manager and source contact for the renewal application, was unwilling to comment when contacted for this story. No phone calls to the company’s corporate offices in Pontiac, Michigan, were returned. The company is no stranger to environmental controversy. They are responsible for an incident in which 25 thousand gal— Dr. William Baranek Jr. lons of used oil spilled out of an above-ground tank in September of 2010 in then possibly have people seriously hurt. Indianapolis, requiring 850 tons of polluted My worry is the false alarm and the fact soil to be disposed of. Despite the volume of that for many people we’ve lost the ability to have protection because they know the spill, IDEM claimed that no toxic material was released into the sewer system, or that odor is probably not natural gas.” any nearby water sources. Citizens Energy Group, the primary Those familiar with the odor and its provider of natural gas to the Indy area, ramifications don’t question whether confirms statistics close to those stated by Metalworking Lubricants is responsible Beranek. Sarah Holsapple, spokeswoman for its creation. for the company, estimates about 100 “One of our [IUPUI] staff members, our incidents in the last 20 years that have fire chief at that time, broke away from required formal investigation. “There campus and began tracing that odor back have been times in the past when we’ve and really came to the conclusion that it received phone calls from residents and was coming from that facility,” recalls Kevin other companies near Metalworking LuMouser. “Since then I have investigated bricants reporting natural gas, so we’ll go and investigate and determine that it’s ac- dozens, if not hundreds, of similar complaints on campus and have traced that tually not natural gas, it’s an odor coming back numerous times to that facility. From from the company. It happens quarterly, my perspective there’s no question about probably four times a year.” the source of that odor. There are other department or the gas company,” he says. He adds that the odor “smells like mercaptan, a sulfur compound.” Beranek’s concern is primarily public safety. “The problem that I’m worried about as the head of the [committee] is that many people regard it as a … natural gas presence, and therefore they trigger these emergency responses that cause emergency response to be shifted, and not be in its optimal configuration,” he says. “We’ve got lots of false alarms going off. We have [had] up to 100 false alarms where the gas company and fire department are going out.” In Beranek’s eyes, the false alarms may develop a sense of complacency in people. “One of those could be a real one … that could be an explosion and kill people. We could have people close to the plant that have a natural gas leak in their house, but because they know Metalworking Lubricants has an odor from time to time … not report it to the gas company or the fire department and
“We have [had] up to 100 false alarms where the gas company and fire department are going out.”
professional individuals who have been involved in those investigations that have come to that same conclusion.” Holsapple of Citizens Energy is of the same opinion. “We’ve received calls at Citizens about an odor of natural gas and when it is investigated it comes out that it’s… a smell coming from Metalworking Lubricants,” she says. Beranek’s emergency planning committee is unified as well. “We know the area very well after all these years,” he says. “It’s pretty difficult when [they] say that it’s other people, and everyone that they say it is we know that it’s not. So it’s just a puzzlement. But they’ve been successful at delaying any action for all these years, so their strategy is working.”
Potential health risks? Opinions on health risks of the odor are split. According to Beranek, concentrations typically found in the city air aren’t likely to be noxious. Sources at IUPUI, however, are concerned. “When we get complaints [people] on campus will also frequently complain of headaches, hives, respiratory irritation, things like that,” says Kevin Mouser. “We���ve actually also had people complain of being nauseated by it. People’s sensitivity to odors vary; the concentration of that odor varies from time to time.” Richard Strong is the Executive Director of IUPUI’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety. “On Nov. 19, 2012, early evening, I took a call from IU Health security,” he recalls. “They had reports of gas odors in Riley and University Hospital and they had been investigating, but they had not found anything. They asked if we could investigate… I went to Riley Hospital with instruments for measuring air quality and found nothing. Wind direction was from Metalworking Lubricant’s direction so I drove to the facility and measured hydrogen sulfide levels of 24 parts per million. This is way above acceptable levels.” According to OSHA, hydrogen sulfide is a colorless, flammable, extremely hazardous gas with a “rotten egg” smell. It is both an irritant and a chemical asphyxiant with effects on both oxygen utilization and the central nervous system. High levels of exposure can results in shock, convulsions, inability to breathe, extremely rapid unconsciousness, coma and death. Effects can occur within a few breaths, and possibly a single breath. OSHA standards for general
WATTS & WHATNOT industry exposure, such as Metalworking Lubricants, shall not exceed 20 parts per million. Strong believes that Metalworking Lubricants may alter treatment processes, perhaps by bypassing air pollution equipment, on the weekends and evenings when detection of odors is less likely due to a reduced business population. “The questions I have are: has anyone been monitoring air releases around the site? If not, why not? If they have, what have they found?”
The permit process Robert Elstro, a spokesman for IDEM, is optimistic about the value of Indiana residents being involved in the permitting process. “When a facility turns in the application, we receive it and we write a draft permit. We then put that out for public comment,” he says. “Occasionally we’ll receive a request for a public hearing. At that point in time we start down the decision making process of whether or not we want to hold one. In this case, we have received the permit application for Metalworking Lubricants, however we haven’t even finished the draft of it yet. Public comments may force us to go back and reevaluate something in the permit.” Dr. Beranek’s committee intends to petition for a public hearing. According to IDEM, however, the committee’s
^ photo by mark lee
appeal might not be enough to grant the consideration. As a formal draft of the permit has yet to be completed, opportunity is still available for citizens to voice any concerns that might help change the outcome of the process. “We make meetings a case-by-case determination on the specific permit and the concerns of the person requesting it as well as community concerns,” Elstro says. “So we keep an eye open to if it’s being talked about in the newspaper, if there’s a lot of comments that have come in, what the comments are talking about. It’s determined permit by permit.” Permit processing can take time. IDEM is limited in their drafting process by a statute of 270 days from the day that they receive a business’ submission. According to information on IDEM’s website, they do not need to draft a permit for Metalworking Lubricants until early August of 2013. For Kevin Mouser, the issue is clear. “It’s really a detriment to the city of Indianapolis. It needs to be addressed.” Submit your concerns to IDEM’s complaint center at in.gov/idem/5274.htm or call the Complaint Coordinator at (800) 451-6027 ext. 24464. Information for manual submission via mail can be found at the website listed above.
Riley Hospital for Children is a mere three miles away from Metalworking Lubricants. ILG
SOIL Guide Us TThe Th h green spaces off CCasey M May BY ED WENCK
Casey May, on location at the greenhouse at Jim Davis’ Paws, Inc.
^ ^ photo by michelle craig
When you stick a shrub into the ground outside your front door, lay down mulch around your sugar maple or spread grass seed over your suburban lawn, you’re creating something. You’re a sculptor. You’re also not just impacting your environment visually — you’re leaving a biological mark as well. What if you thought to integrate those two things, the aesthetic and the organic, and treated each with equal care? What if your next landscaping chore were equal parts Michelangelo and Mother Nature? And what if every builder, contractor, urban planner and parking lot owner approached every new project with that same holistic approach? 8
If you’re Casey May, it’s the only way to roll. She is convinced that this level of care will make the world better to look at and healthier to live in.
Reboot the landscape May, an Indianapolis-based landscape architect, is on a mission to reboot the way we landscape and the way we garden. “For the past century,” she says, “we’ve designed gardens with one thing in mind — the way we want them to look and how they fit into our artistic sensibilities. If we designed buildings the same way, they’d fall down.” ILG
May aims to make landscape design an undertaking that benefits the existence of every other bit of life in any given region. After studying at Ball State the art of designing where to plant what (and when), May designed residential landscapes for her husband Adam Garvey’s company, Gardens of Growth. Eventually her talents wound up at Ratio Architects, where she was responsible for green spaces adjacent to and around larger buildings: hospitals, universities and the like. Her wealth of experience led her to look well beyond the backyard, beyond the obligatory-patch-of-green-with-a-bench down
^ ^ submitted photo
When working at Ratio Architects, Inc., May designed this landscape that surrounds a housing complex built on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus. The landscape is predominantly native and is designed to have maximum visual impact during periods of time when the students are in session.
at Corporate HQ, beyond the jungle gym playground, and challenge our notion of what green space — public and private — should provide us and the other critters with whom we share this marble. May thinks the seeds of that revolution can be sown — pun intended — at the most basic level. “I think it’s important that we express ourselves on our personal property,” May says, “but I also think it’s really powerful whenever we reach out beyond our property line and we start talking to our neighbors about what we want our neighborhood parks to look like and really create community spaces. Those spaces are the grass roots way of moving toward some of these environmental ideas that I’d like to champion for planting design.” Outdoor spaces, designed properly, provide humans a respite from stress and the opportunity to learn. “I think that a lot of education is moving toward project-based and open-ended play materials,” she says, “and outdoor spaces have always offered those things for kids. You see it when you have a toddler and you take them outside and it calms them.” To her, “plant material is play material.” A long piece of grass becomes a sword, a shrub can become cover for a game of hide-andseek, and the simple pleasures of wind in the hair or bare feet on grass trumps the “king o’ the hill” mentality that playground gear can engender. Natural elements foster imagination and the layout of those public spaces is key.
Trees are the perfect start May’s thesis at BSU focused on designing green spaces for kids at the bottom of the socio-economic pile. This led her to think about the differences in the ways kids and adults use the same spaces — issues of scale, safety and child development. Part of her mission is to inform us just how complex planting design can be. The layers
of information needed to build the right park for a specific neighborhood include everything from median income to median age to a respect for the non-human users of those spaces. When it comes to lower-income neighborhoods, the simple addition of trees and grass are the first step toward curbing conflict. “There’s a strong correlation between green spaces and less violent acts in, say, government housing projects,” says May. “The neighbors are outside, there are more eyes on the street. In its simplest form, planting trees is the perfect start.”
“Plant material is play material.” — CASEY MAY May realizes that there are challenges here. Whether it’s a shared garden or a play space, community engagement is critical. “Three to five people can do a lot — get the funding and so on — but you’ve got to get the whole neighborhood involved. You have to have as many people involved as possible. Five or 10 years down the road, you want that park to be thriving and adaptable and flexible and accommodating to the neighborhood. “There’s a great organization,” she adds, “the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center, INRC. They do free workshops for people who want to do this.” ILG
Some trees are better than others OK, we’ve decided to make a hole, loosen up the root ball and put a happy tree in a patch of grass outside an apartment building. May wants you to understand which tree really should go in that spot. Observes May, “There are some trees that support the base of the food chain better than other trees.” In Indiana, ponder the mighty oak. “A lot of people don’t consider oaks,” says May. “Probably because it’s a slow-growing tree. Yeah, it’s slower growing than say, a maple or a river birch, but it’s also longer lived. They provide habitat and food for a lot of different animals. Herbivores like caterpillars, katydids and beetles — they simply cannot live on the exotic plants we adore. We need to start thinking about life-sustaining landscapes. … If we starve the bugs, we starve the birds — and we all know from middle school where that food chain goes. One of the simplest reasons I can give people for including native plants in their designs is that it supports the base of the food chain.” Additionally, let’s think about the aesthetics of that oak. Full disclosure: May advised me and the missus when we were planting trees in the fenced half-acre behind our humble abode in a Marion County Vinyl Village. Those plans included four pin oaks, all of which are high and full enough to cover whatever’s nesting or munching inside. They don’t look like halfeaten food to our spoiled suburban eyes. They look like, well, really big and lovely trees. May’s integrated approach came from an introduction to a gent whose fields of study include entomology and native plants. One of May’s mentors at Ratio, Ken Boyce, introduced her to Doug Tallamy, the author of a book called Bringing Nature Home. Tallamy inspired May to spread the gospel of native plantings to every application, whether it’s a formal garden next to the ritziest digs on Me///
Dr. Alison O’Malley
LLet’s ’ talk lk off AR ART
See Casey May’s blog at caseyBY KATELYN BREDEN maygarden.wordpress.com Ed Wenck says, “Outdoor spaces – designed properly – provide for humans a respite from stress and the opportunity to learn for everyone from one to one hundred.”
Bill Duell shows May around the Paws, Inc. greenhouse.
^ ^ photo by michelle craig
ridian Street or a strip of green between the rows of spaces at a downtown parking lot.
A pendulum shift There’s mounting evidence that we’re buying what May is selling. Just look to the latest trends in micro-farming. You’ve seen the bumper stickers that read GROW FOOD NOT GRASS, right? “I think there’s a pendulum
shift going on,” says May. She sees the green spaces, public and private in the subdivision of the future being designed to include everything from shady trees to areas set aside for growing tomatoes. She understands the struggle between the modern homeowner and the modern homeowner’s association, but she remains convinced that intelligent and thoughtful designs can speak to everyone’s needs — aesthetic, organic and nutritional.
While she’s not completely dogmatic about the use of native plants, she still wants to stress how crucial they are when we’re speaking about creating the magic mix of good looks and biodiversity. These plants do present their own set of challenges, however. “Native plants are hyperadaptable,” May explains. “If you go to Lowe’s, and you buy a plant off the shelf and you put it into the ground, whether it’s in sun or shade, whether it’s in clay or sand, whether it’s super wet or super dry, you can pretty much expect a similar reaction from that plant. It’s probably going to get 18 inches tall or whatever it says on the plant tag. It’s pretty predictable. “However,” she adds, “with a native plant, because they are so adaptable, if you put that plant in a very organic soil, it might get to be six feet tall — if you put it in a less organic soil, it might get two feet tall. That’s a real struggle for people who pride themselves on this art.” May has become a student of history, specifically Indiana-agro history. She’s learned what plants work well where, and what plants work well together. Just like people with common interests, green things thrive in plant communities. This understanding, when passed along to homeowners or to the folks responsible for planting that pocket park, make us look at the space where we’re working and pick the family of plants that fits the space. Sloped site? Standing water? Heavy southern exposure? Instead of imposing our will upon the soil, May wants us to let the soil guide us when we stick that shrub into the ground outside our front door.
This is not a subjective phenomenon experienced only by environmentalists. Wenck is describing a psychological effect called Attention Restoration Theory. We interviewed Dr. O’Malley, a professor of psychology at Butler University, for more details. INDIANA LIVING GREEN: What is Attention Restoration Theory (ART)? O’MALLEY: Alas, our attentional resources are limited; prolonged periods of intense focus inevitably lead to mental exhaustion. ART organizes the vast array of empirical data suggesting that natural environments (whether it be the distant wilderness or an urban park) are particularly good at helping us restore our attention and thus regain our effectiveness. ILG: How does playing in nature benefit children? O’MALLEY: Activities such as walks in a park are linked to improved concentration, and mere views of nature are associated with enhanced self-discipline. Of course, playing in nature benefits everyone, children and adults alike! ILG: How might fostering this early environmental identity benefit both children and the environment? O’MALLEY: Direct educational experiences that deepen one’s sense of connectedness to the natural world are downright therapeutic, with ties to heightened empathy, lower apathy, and engaging in nature-protective behaviors. ILG: How can people modify their houses/yards to reap the benefits of attention restoration and stress reduction? O’MALLEY: Preserve the “natural playscape.” Go for green, diverse, and unstructured: trees, with ropes and rope ladders to make them more accessible; a garden; house plants. Consider positioning a standing desk somewhere that grants you a scenic view. Dr. O’Malley also offered this quote as a final remark: Imagine a therapy that had no known side effects, was readily available, and could improve your cognitive functioning at zero cost. Such a therapy has been known to philosophers, writers, and laypeople alike: interacting with nature. (Berman, Jonides, & Kaplan, 2008, p. 1207)
SOLVING PROBLEMS FROM THE
Kitchen Table GGreg WWalton’s lltt ’ multiple missions BY GINNYE CUBEL
^ ^ photo by mark lee
Greg Walton is looking to solve a lot of problems, both environmental and social, and he wants to do it all from the kitchen table. Owner and founder of Green With Indy, a local composting and gardening business, Walton wants to bring a better quality of life to Indianapolis residents by educating on cooking and providing services for composting and gardening. Green With Indy began in March of 2009 with the aspiration to combat rising obesity rates. Walton initiated a program called MyMamaCanCook!, a series of web and TV videos designed to teach basic cooking skills such as seasoning and reusing leftovers. The goal is to provide viewers with the skills to create home-cooked meals and reduce reliance on fast food and microwave dinners. What started out as a mission to battle obesity quickly evolved into several other missions as Walton began to recognize shortcomings in other areas of food consumption. “I’m not a tree hugger,” he said, “I’m just aware.” For starters, he recognized the substantial amount of food waste being generated. A study on food waste by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that 4 to 10 percent of all food a restaurant buys ends up in landfills as both edible and nonedible waste. Additionally, they found that the average household contributes another 25 percent of food and beverage waste to
Greg Walton is owner and founder of Green With Indy.
the landfills. This combined waste results in significant amounts of methane being released as the food breaks down. The service MyComposter! then emerged as a solution for this wasted food. MyComposter! collects and composts food waste for customers. Servicing both residential and commercial clients, it provides blue bins for storing food waste and collects it once a week for residential clients — or daily for commercial clients. Once collected, the food waste is taken to the Indianapolis landscaping company, GreenCycle, for composting. After the process is complete, customers can reclaim the compost for their own yards and gardens or donate it to a school or local garden. Either way, food waste is being returned to the earth in a useful and environmentally friendly manner. “We decide if we want to impact the environment positively or negatively,” Walton said, noting that composting curbs methane emissions, neutralizes pesticides and reduces landfill waste. Naturally, the next step for Green With Indy was to follow the compost to the garden. MyVeggieGardener! began this past January as a gardening service for residents of Indianapolis. MyVeggieGardener! works similarly to MyComposter!: Green With Indy staff will come out to a customer’s property to plant, maintain and harvest ILG
a vegetable garden. All natural materials are used in the construction of the raised beds and there is currently no limit to the size or variety of the garden. “Our concern about the city,” Walton said, “is that in some areas, you can’t plant directly into the ground because of lead contamination and the amount of clay contained in it. That’s why we build raised bed gardens.” MyVeggieGardener! is not only a natural conduit for the other services and programs of Green With Indy but also a solution to the lack of readily available and nutritious produce. Walton noted that on average, farm-to-supermarket produce takes 17-21 days to reach its destination. Throw in a few extra days to buy and consume that produce and you’re eating fruit and veggies older than 18 days. By the time it makes it to the dinner plate the nutrients are almost completely leached out. “Really we’re just eating glorified grass,” Walton said. Green With Indy is striving to be a solution for a variety of environmental and social woes by going back to the basics of cooking, composting and gardening. Walton sees his business as an essential service for Indianapolis residents wanting to better their lives through food, but who may not have the access, time, or skill. “We did it from the beginning,” Walton said of gardening and cooking, “and it works.” ///
PRIVATE Microclimate OOn th the h wild ilildld side idd with Holly Jones BY BETSY SHELDON
Holly Jones with goods grown in her own private microclimate.
^ ^ photo by nikki acosta
Holly Jones is creating her own butterfly effect. She’s not looking to stir up a typhoon on the other side of the world. But she may be altering bird migration patterns in Carmel, Indiana, not to mention the attitudes of once die-hard devotees of green-carpet lawns and precision landscaping. And it’s all because she tore up her manicured suburban plot, dug a big hole in the front, piled her kitchen waste in the back and replaced the tidy cover of buzz-cut grass with food beds, saplings and native flora that many refer to as weeds. The result? A prolific fruit orchard and productive vegetable patches in her backyard and, in the front, a rain garden and a Wildlife Sanctuary certified by the Hamilton-County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). For as long as she can remember, Jones has been reclaiming grass yards and transforming diversity-starved spaces into personal-sized wildflower meadows and industrious food gardens. Jones, executive director of Indiana Urban Forests Council 12
(IUFC), advocates for trees as a profession. And in her career, she’s championed the environment in numerous ways: as a geologist, teacher, natural resources manager, sustainability consultant, environmental planner and water quality specialist, to name a few. But wherever work has taken her, building a sustainable yard has been a constant, “nurturing body and spirit,” she says. For her and her daughter, Indigo, and for the minions of friends with whom she joyfully shares her bounty. Even on a bleak mid-winter afternoon, Jones’ yard stands apart. The colorless landscape doesn’t do justice to the 150-some species of plants that grow here. But the tangle of tall grasses, brittle flower heads and dried seedpods are indicators of the life potential under the soil. A small sign declares the space’s habitat status to passersby.
Of microclimates & rain gardens Jones carries out her duties as official wildlife steward — part of what she signed ILG
on for with Hamilton County’s SWCD — which include hosting individuals, friends, school classes and interest groups who want to learn more about building and maintaining a sustainable yard. A tour highlight is her own private microclimate, which permits the growth bordering her front porch to survive and even thrive in January. “I have a 1960s house,” she says, “even though I’ve done what I can to add to its efficiency, there’s a lot of heat loss.” The result is, “a little strip of Tennessee right here in Indiana.” She catches herself, remarking that now that the U.S.D.A. has announced its new plant hardiness zones, “that might make it Louisiana.” Sheltered from cold winds and warmed by seeping heat, bright green patches of arugula flourish, and thin, withered blades give away the location of shallots, onions and garlic. Hardy herbs hang tough, all conveniently positioned outside the kitchen door. Another prize feature of Jones’ front yard is the rain garden. Planted around
The wonders of Holly Jones’ yard.
^ ^ photos by indigo niewiadomski
the dip are water-loving native flowers and grasses, while young trees, bushes and other plantings spoke outward. What her rain barrels don’t collect from her downspouts, the steep depression about 10 feet from the house captures, allowing the runoff to be absorbed into the ground, where it’s filtered and put back into the soil. The rain garden keeps runoff from streaming along asphalt surfaces, picking up chemicals and pollutants before it pours into the streets and sewers. These contaminated waters cause flooding, sewage overflow and polluted rivers and streams. According to the Hamilton County SWCD, rain gardens can remove as much as 80 percent of the sediments from storm runoff, and can soak up 30 percent more water.
The plant whisperer The backyard, which is not part of the wildlife habitat, is given over to growing food. In a shallow pile, kitchen scraps — with some help from the army of worms and warmth created by layers of mulch — are turning into nutrient-rich compost, which will feed her beds in the spring. Scattered plots are marked by metal bars Jones has recycled from broken bed frames and box springs. A couple of peach trees, bent from overabundant harvests of the past summer, bow low amid trellises and grape arbors. Jones, who admits she’s averse to “neat and orderly,” tends a rambling space: there are no straight rows in her garden. “I lean toward the wild side in my personal tastes, anyway,” she says. Her gardening philosophy is equally unbridled. She talks of listening to her plants. “You have to pay attention — they’re giving us indicators of what they need.” She encourages a laissez-faire approach and the wisdom of let-
How to turn a boring lawn into a dynamic wildlife habitat Do you have native plants and trees in your yard? Nectar-bearing flowers? Berry-producing trees and bushes? A brush pile? Chances are your yard may already meet the requirements of a certified wildlife habitat. A few organizations in Central Indiana offer backyard conservation and wildlife programs for homeowners. INDIANA WILDLIFE FEDERATION. To qualify as a habitat recognized by IWF, says Barbara Simpson, executive director, a yard must include four resources for native wildlife: water (birdbath, rain garden), food (plant seeds, berries, nectar), shel-
ting expectations go. “It may be a bad year for apples. Let things be. When you garden, you have to let go and follow nature as your guide.” And herein is the beginning of the circle of life that delights and astounds her. The captured rain water nourishes her soil. Which supports the native wildflowers and feeds the garden. Which attracts birds, bees and butterflies to the seeds, nectar and pollen. Which in turn helps spread the plant population.
“I lean toward the wild side in my personal tastes.” — HOLLY JONES Jones recalls the sudden influx of butterflies that followed her original planting. And hummingbirds — neighbors began calling her the hummingbird lady. Species of birds not seen in the neighborhood prior to the transformation of her yard are now returning year after year. “It actually is changing migration patterns,” she says, “it amazes me that I could have such an impact.”
Changing one yard at a time When she first began her yard makeover, Jones was concerned about the neighbors’ ter (evergreen trees, dense bushes), and a safe place to raise young (trees, birdhouses). Obtaining the official designation is easier than hanging a birdfeeder. Register online at indianawildlife.org. There’s a $20 fee, and within four to six weeks, you’ll receive a certificate and yard sign declaring your property a wildlife habitat. Call 317.875.9453 (WILD) for more information. SUSTAININDY. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard established this office as part of the city’s Department of Public Works in 2008. As part of its efforts to reduce storm water pollution and conserve water, SunstainIndy offers information and resources to encourage residents to plant rain gardens and install rain barrels. You can register
reaction. So she knocked on doors, distributed fliers and explained what she was doing. “With only one or two exceptions, my neighbors have been really positive.” She keeps up wtih the public relations efforts. She shares food, offers plant divisions and points out the communal benefits of rain gardens and wildlife spaces. (How about lower property fees because of less investment of storm water mitigation?) “I think I’m doing important work,” Jones says. “I think we can effect change if we have these conversations. Slowly … yard by yard. There’s such a potential ecological cost benefit. If we even do just a little bit, it would add up to a huge change.” Her crusade for sustainable yards is just one aspect of Jones’ advocacy for all things natural. As executive director of IUFC, she works to connect Indiana residents with their trees, pushes for legislative change and endeavors to get grants and federal funds for groups pursuing tree-planting programs. “Trees need our help,” she says. “Trees are connectors between soil, water and air — they’re a very sophisticated engineering mechanism. We’re not taking care of them. I’d love to see fruit and nut trees on public lands … imagine community orchards.” She reflects on a well-known lawn-treatment company that sports a butterfly logo on its service trucks. “This is a creature who can taste with her feet and can detect one particular plant from 12 miles away. She is not landing on the treated lawn. That is a crazy icon. That doesn’t happen in nature.” What does happen? The butterfly seeks out a generous environment. One hot, droughtplagued day last summer, Jones remembers how a light breeze brushed across her yard. “My yard was moving with butterflies and hummingbirds and the plants. It’s a prairie. It’s full of life. It’s vibrant … It’s not grass.”
free online at indy.gov/SustainIndy. Certification and a sign for the yard will arrive in the mail. FALL CREEK WATERSHED PARTNERSHIP. The Backyard Conservation Program provides technical and educational assistance to individual landowners as well as communities, companies, and schools in Hamilton, Hancock, Madison and Marion counties. This includes a site assessment and conservation plan, with recommendations on adding conservation components such as rain gardens, bioswales, trees, and more. The FCWP also offers some financial assistance with cost-sharing programs. Visit hancockswcd.org/Fall-CreekWatershed-Partnership, or call 317.773.2181. ILG
down the drainage system and get processed and sent back out to you. It’s that whole connection to the water system and waterways. I mean we’re raised in a world of faucets. Wherever you’re at, turn it on and there’s water.
ILG: How do we bring masculinity and sexuality into environmentalism?
COCHRAN: You get really dirty and really sweaty. [laughs] I mean, the beard. The beard gets a lot of attention. It’s funny. Obviously beards are in or whatever right now, which cracks me up because I’ve had one for a while.
ILG: That’s where this interview is headed. I think you could be that role model for more guys to get involved in gardening, recycling.
COCHRAN: [laughs] Yeah, well we were talking about that. It’s really dominated by women. They’re everywhere in it. So yeah, I don’t know. The guys are definitely the rare breed in it.
ILG: So how do we get more guys involved in urban gardening?
COCHRAN: Well you could tell them that there’s a ton of females out there that are already in it. If they want to pick-up a hot hipster chick. [laughs]
ILG: Why don’t you walk me through one of the workshops you do? How do those go?
COCHRAN: Yeah. So they’re usually set up by someone else. Everybody pre-signs up, pre-pays. It’s my job to get all the materials to get the barrels, all the supplies there, which is pretty tough. It’s a walk-through of what it would take, beginning to end, if you were to do it by yourself. It’s just funny watching people do it their own ways because I’ve done so many of them and I try to teach those like little techniques to use. Inevitably, everybody still fumbles through it their own way and at the end everybody has a rain barrel that’s their own so, you know, whatever. And they get to take that and everybody names them at the end. It’s kind of a joke. I’m always like, ‘And one last step...’ Which people actually get a kick out of, the names. I’ve heard like Bertha. Bertha the rain barrel.
BY JORDAN MARTICH Andy Cochran runs Circle City Rain Barrels.
^ ^ photos by nikki acosta
barrels’ names? basically apprentice underneath them. I jumped at it. I quit my job literally the next day. It was paying like a third of what I was making, like $800 a month, but I didn’t care. In that process Laura and Tyler used to make rain barrels – which I didn’t really know anything about until them. It wasn’t necessarily like a business model or a way to make money, it was on an as-needed basis.
If there are requirements to be Indianapolis’ ‘rain barrel guy,’ Andy Cochran meets them. He has the beard, carpentry experience and sense of humor to help conserve water. After graduating from IU he was roofing across the country. Eventually he realized that Indianapolis needed him. He apprenticed under Laura and Tyler Henderson of the Slow Food Gardens. Cochran started creating rain barrels for the community, which the Hendersons had done as a service. In the two years he’s run Circle City Rain Barrels it’s developed into a sustainable business. I spoke with Cochran at the Indiana Living Green office.
ILG: I mean, has it paid off at this point? How many barrels have you done?
COCHRAN: Up to 400 barrels. I’ve done a few 50 gallon totes too. I’m really trying to build towards, I want to get like a gallon number. Each barrel is a 55 gallon food-grade drum. Upcycling something that was trash into something that’s of use. So you figure that if everybody used their barrel just once and we’re up around, let’s say 400, so 55 gallons times the 400 is like whatever amount of gallons (22,000 gallons). And that’s if everybody used it just once. There’s the money that it cost to go
INDIANA LIVING GREEN: Tell me a little bit about how you started doing rain barrels.
ANDY COCHRAN: So I had an opportunity with Laura and Tyler Henderson to help them out at the White River State Garden, the Slow Food Garden downtown, just to 14
ILG: So what are your personal rain
COCHRAN: I have too many. ILG: None of them are named? COCHRAN: George Foreman I, George Foreman II, [laughs].
ILG: And you sell the DIY kits too? COCHRAN: Yeah. That one’s pretty straight to it. Honestly, the hardest part is getting the barrels. There’s this whole scary, sketchy underworld. It’s like a Mad Max barter-town scenario. I’m serious.
ILG: Who knew that your rain barrel stuff was weirdly supported by like a drug cartel’s need for barrels?
COCHRAN: [laughs] Yeah, that or someone trying build something to go down Niagara Falls or something. Find out more on the Circle City Rain Barrels Facebook page or email email@example.com.
a cleaner fuel BY JORDAN MARTICH
^ ^ submitted photo
Bob Callaghan is business developer for Landscape Solutions.
For commercial spaces like business parks, shopping centers and hospitals, a property owner chooses whether to maintain the surroundings using gasoline powered equipment or to use an alternative, cleaner fuel like propane. Brian Spear, vice president of Landscape Solutions, explains how his company helps these property owners become eco-friendly. “I think as we got into the technology you start to learn how much more beneficial it is,” Spears said. By using smaller engines and propane the Noblesville-based Landscape Solutions can take care of any needs with equipment that won’t harm the health of its inhabitants. One hundred percent of their mowers operate on this alternative fuel and
by mid-March around 50 percent of their trucks will be powered by propane. And, whenever a client has space or need for trees, Landscape Solutions plants a native species for free in a gesture to offset the emissions of their work. “A standard gas engine – they’re the dirtiest engines that we have. And we’re out there cutting grass with it or maintaining lawns. You would think that in the green industry this is what we’re taking care of. We’re supposed to be maintaining it and we’re polluting it,” Spear said. The use of propane also allows Landscape Solutions to operate on Knozone action days. Propane, the by-product of natural gas and crude oil refining processes, is non-toxic, safe and domestically produced. Ninety-
seven percent of propane consumed in the U.S. is produced domestically, according to the Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition, of which Landscape Solutions is a platinum member. They hope to spread awareness of their alternative to gasoline-powered air pollution in both the summer and winter, when air pollution can be much worse. Landscape Solutions provides snow-clearing services with equipment that also runs on propane. Propane powers around 190,000 vehicles in the United States. Landscape Solutions is more interested in lowering their impact on the environment than how much money their use of a cleaner fuel costs them. According to business developer Bob Callaghan, the eco-friendly expense is never reflected onto the client. “There’s no additional cost for them. We’re comparable and competitive with our pricing. It’s really that here you can make a choice.” By using propane to maintain a commercial space we can reduce a dependence on foreign oil, support a domestically processed by-product, clean up our state’s air and transform our surroundings into healthy, ecologically sound properties.
Landscape Solutions 317-776-3781 landscapesolutionsllc.com Learn about propane at propanecouncil.org.
urban ecology by Travis J. Ryan
Don’t throw away
Spring, the season where city dwellers of all sorts begin anticipating the return of all things green, is just around the corner. For animals in the city, this means a new variety of plant tissues – fresh shoots! tender young leaves! flowers! – for consumption after the brown autumn and gray winter. For humans, it means planning this year’s garden, the slow drama of shade trees leafing out, and the return of a verdant lawn. About those lawns: in terms of acreage, turf grass ranks as the number one irrigated crop in the U.S., and we rely on fertilizers to maximize the green of our lawns, not to mention the productivity of our gardens. Now consider that more than one third of homeowners in the U.S., most of whom live in urban and suburban areas where the majority of turf grass is grown, over-fertilize their lawns. But what is good for the lawn isn’t good for the rest of urban ecosystems. Chemical fertilizers
The great irony is that each autumn we are guilty of throwing away the very thing we end up paying for (in more ways than one) each spring. On a Tuesday afternoon this past November, I counted 586 bags of leaves waiting for the Wednesday morning trash pickup along a stretch of 12 blocks in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood. The next week, along the same stretch, another 500 bags of leaves were in their place. Some back of the napkin calculations give us this picture: on a single street in Indianapolis, over a distance of little more than a mile long, more than 16 tons of leaves were collected in a two week period. And what is it that we are hauling away when we put our leaves curbside? A lot of carbon, to be sure, but also significant amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, which is exactly what we are buying when we purchase chemical fertilizers. If the leaves that fall from our trees are broken up and allowed to decompose, the same nutrients pulled from the soil and incorporated into plant tissue will return to the soil where they can nourish our lawns. Decomposition is the ultimate in reusing and recycling. By hauling away the raw material, we limit the urban ecosystem’s ability to reuse the raw materials. If leaves are composted each year instead of being shipped off, our lawns will be just as green and our city will be far greener still.
Circle City Rain Barrels | Andy Cochran - Owner 317-771-3519 | firstname.lastname@example.org www.facebook.com/circlecityrainbarrels
Everything that grows ... needs water
we are guilty of throwing away the very thing we end up paying for don’t always stay put, even when properly applied. They are picked up anytime water moves and end up wherever the water takes them. Too often this is in municipal water supplies and aquatic ecosystems where the abundance of nutrients can do for algae what they do for a lawn – encourage growth and make it green. There is no denying that we are overly reliant on chemical fertilizers in fostering plant growth within urban ecosystems.
Travis J. Ryan is a founding member of the Center for Urban Ecology at Butler University and an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.
Circle City Rain Barrels offers full-service rain barrel installation and customization. We also offer workshops and can provide you with the supplies and instructions to build one yourself. Recycled food grade barrels! ILG
citizens action coalition by Jennifer Washburn
at a crossroads
Join Energy Outfitter to celebrate the first day of Spring March 20th at our Westfield, IN location.
Great food, prizes and fun activities! Check www.myenergyoutfitter.com to pre-register and view our Spring specials!
Indiana’s energy future is at a crossroads. Coal generates approximately eighty-two percent of Indiana’s electricity, while wind and other renewables make up a mere three percent. Investing primarily in one type of fuel is a risky and expensive business proposition for both the utility and ratepayers. No smart investor would place all their eggs in one basket. This should ring even more true for utilities as more stringent regulations on coal-fired power plants are being implemented and proposed. Despite their public rhetoric, utilities have options to meet these federal regulations: retire coal units and replace capacity with energy efficiency and renewable generation, repower with natural gas, or retrofit coal plants to extend their lifespan. Inappropriately, Indiana utilities are choosing to continue to put their money—rather your money—into prolonging the use of coal. So why not choose the cheaper and cleaner alternative? It’s simple. By being a regulated monopoly, the more of your money they spend, the more profit they make. Coal is the most expensive option, so they choose coal. Two of Indiana’s utilities currently are facing tight timelines to comply with new EPA regulations. As a result of their lack of adequate long-term planning, Duke Energy is seeking $430 million now and will be asking for almost another $1 billion of your money later this year to retrofit the majority of their coal fleet. Indianapolis Power and Light wants $511 million on top of the already approved $615 million to extend
the life of their coal fleet which has an average age of 40 years. While these retrofits will provide some protection against toxic air emissions, metals captured in the pollution control equipment merely transfers pollution from air to water, particularly when coal ash is improperly disposed or reused, which is a common occurrence at Indiana coal plants. Instead, the first step should be aggressively investing in energy efficiency, which avoids immediate costs of having to build expensive new power plants and avoids wasting billions on retrofits to extend the use of 1950s technology. Additionally, investments in new generation for wind and solar farms, roof top photovoltaic energy and distributed energy are already cheaper and/or competitive to build, have far shorter
Coal is the most expensive option
construction times which means less exposure to cost increases and risk, have no fuel costs, and experience significantly lower operation and maintenance costs. Citizens Action Coalition pays attention, particularly when economically and environmentally risky decisions are at hand. CAC partnered with Sierra Club and other environmental organizations and intervened in the Duke and IPL cases currently pending before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.
What can you do as a citizen and ratepayer in Indiana? • Visit citact.org to learn more about what CAC does and help support us in our work to protect the public
sierra club by Bowden Quinn
Slow progress on industrial pollution The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released its 2011 T.R.I. National Analysis, an annual report that reviews trends in industrial pollution. Progress in reducing this pollution can at best be described as glacial. (Actually, with glaciers rapidly disappearing due to global warming, we need a new metaphor for extremely slow movement. Perhaps I should say that progress has been Congressional.) T.R.I. stands for Toxic Release Inventory, a self-reported compilation of chemical pollution that industries submit to the agency every year. You can find which companies reported releasing pollution in your community at this website: epa.gov/tri. In 2011, industry reported more than four billion pounds of toxic releases. About 60 percent goes to land disposal, 20 percent into the air, and most of the rest is discharged to surface water or injected underground. The overall total is a slight decrease (8 percent) from 2003 but a rather dramatic increase (more than 20 percent) since 2009. Also the number of reporting facilities has declined so pollution per facility has increased. In 2011, 92 percent of reported releases came from just seven of the 26 industrial sectors required to report. The largest is metal mining, which accounted for 46 percent of the pollution. The next biggest contributor, at 15 percent, is electric utilities. The only utilities that have to report are those burning coal or oil, which numbered 618 in 2011. They reported the most on-site air releases of
any sector, almost 258 million pounds, which was 32 percent of the total amount of reported air emissions. The E.P.A. says that utility releases declined 43 percent from 2003 to 2011 and air emissions decreased by 65 percent. Much of this progress can be attributed to federal regulation. The T.R.I. has two categories: “on-site and off-site disposal or other releases” and “production-related waste managed.” In 2003 about two-thirds of utility waste was in the first category; only about a third was treated. By 2011 those proportions were reversed, mostly because of pollution controls required by clean air laws that utilities have repeatedly tried to get courts to overturn or delay. Most of this utility production-related waste (1.2 billion pounds in 2011) is “treated,” which the E.P.A. attributes mainly to putting “scrubbers” on smoke stacks to remove acid gases from the emissions. Despite that progress, the largest amount of toxic air releases in the Great Lakes basin is hydrochloric acid from electric utilities. Moreover, utilities haven’t reduced the overall amount of this “managed” waste category since 2003 even though the electricity they generate has declined by 16 percent, so wasteper-kilowatt-hour is increasing. Fortunately, utilities will have to further reduce their emissions under new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, which the agency estimates will prevent up to 290 premature deaths in Indiana and create up to $2.4 billion in health benefits by 2016. Of course, these air emissions would drop to zero if utilities would retire all of their fossil-fuel burning plants and generate electricity from the sun and wind.
SATURDAY, MARCH 30, 7pm-3am at CITY MARKET
GLOBAL AWARENESS COMES IN MANY FORMS. JOIN US FOR:
ART & CREATIVITY
First 500 guests 7-10pm
Classes by Trade School Indy and watch a horticulture artist in action.
CONCIOUS FASHION • $100 Thrift Shop Challenge • International Fashion Show
FOOD & DRINK
by Tomlinson Tap and City Market merchants
• Kelly Pardekooper • DJ Kyle Long • Sweet Poison Victim and more
Q Artistry, NoExit, No Know Stranger & Angel Burlesque
FREE ADMISSION | ALL AGES FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT: indianalivinggreen.com/event/celebration2013 ILG
What you’ll be seeing at the New Urban Homestead.
^ submitted photos
Greening the urban home at the Flower & Patio show The “New Urban Homestead” will be presented as part of the Flower and Patio show running March 9-17 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. We spoke with Adam Garvey, the designer and owner of Gardens of Growth, Donell Walton of HSI Show Productions and Maggie Goeglein, executive director of Fall Creek Gardens.
Enabling people to do that and empowering people to do that – especially in neighborhoods that don’t have a lot of great access to fresh produce – is important.
GARVEY: When you see these giant solar farms and giant wind turbines it’s hard to put it into the scale of your own house. We try to show a lot of different examples, not saying that you have to do everything, but if people walk away with one good idea to implement at their house, that’s kind of the idea.
INDIANA LIVING GREEN: How did this come together?
ADAM GARVEY: We’d always wanted to get
DONELL WALTON: You don’t have to go full
an actual house into the show to try to put something in context. We had this idea to differentiate these from the home shows – and because we’re all passionate about it – we would create what we’re calling the “New Urban Homestead.”
force and do everything, but if you can just do one thing. It’ll help you, it’ll help your neighbors – it helps everybody.
ILG: Tell us about the eco-cottage. WALTON: It’s tiny but it’s all you need to live. Two people can comfortably live on that space on that city lot and do these things very easily when you don’t need all the excess that people have. There’s so much excess these days.
MAGGIE GOEGLEIN: You don’t have to live in the country to have a couple of tomato plants and a small chicken flock, or maybe just some fruit plants in your backyard.
RECYCLE PARTS: UNVEILING OF PROJECTS
tour the nuclear communities of America trying to decipher fact from fiction in the debate on nuclear power. The event will take place at Epworth United Methodist Church. Admission is free and soda as well as snacks will be available.
March 1, 5 – 9 p.m. Free Wheelin’ Community Bikes, INDYCOG, and World Bicycle Relief are teaming up to sponsor a recycled bike parts art contest! Participants have been to StutzArtSpace to pick out parts, and have been crafting their recycled creations for many months now. An exhibition of the projects and prize distribution will be held at StutzArtSpace on March 1. A percentage of proceeds will go to charities. Part of the First Friday schedule. Free.
WILD NATURE ON OUR URBAN DOORSTEP March 12, 7:30 – 9 p.m. At the Holliday Park Nature Center, Tom Swinford, the ecologist for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, will speak about Marion Country’s natural history. Specifically, Swinford’s talk will highlight Marion County’s eight state nature preserves, the highest quality natural areas within Indianapolis. This includes Ft. Harrison and Eagle Creek, which together form the core of the two designated Important Bird Areas. Free.
INTERFAITH ECO-FILM SERIES: THE ATOMIC STATES OF AMERICA March 8, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. The Indianapolis Interfaith Eco-Film series starts off March with the Sundance Film Festival’s “The Atomic States of America.” In 2010 the United States approved its first nuclear power plant in 32 years, setting off what was termed a “Nuclear Renaissance.” As the new power plant opened its doors, debates raged across the country about the safety of nuclear power. The film tags along with filmmakers Don Argott and Sheena Joyce as they 20
GOING GREEN FESTIVAL March 15-16 The Going Green Festival, held at the Indiana State Museum, will be an interactive experience in which attendees can challenge themselves through fun, energy-related exercises. Participants will get to ///
GOEGLEIN: I think this is a great way to illustrate it in a tangible way, too, because you see all kinds of stuff happening on the coasts with really small modular housing. That’s really ‘in’ right now, not necessarily here as much yet, but again, I think it’s a problem of how to envision that you’d live in that space. So having something to walk through and take a look and see.
ILG: What can we expect at the show? WALTON: Most of the landscapers are using reclaimed materials to build things that are non-traditional with that particular item. We’re trying to do things that are of interest to a younger generation. You all are of a different generation than I am. I want to be you. This is what I want to be when I grow up. It’s bringing a younger crowd to the show because people still think that it’s your grandmother’s flower and patio show. And it’s just not anymore.
conduct water quality experiments, create recycled art, and plant garbage gardens. Members from environmental organizations will attend and will show you how to reduce, reuse, and recycle! The event will take place from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Friday, March 15, and from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 16. On Saturday, ILG Editor Jim Poyser will be presenting the Climate Reality slideshow, connecting extreme weather events to greenhouse gas emissions. Free with admission to the museum.
INDIANA LIVING GREEN CELEBRATION March 30 – 31, 7 p.m. – 3:00 a.m. Last year, we launched our redesign to conspire with the global Earth Hour. This year, we celebrate the earth EVERY hour, starting at 7 and going ‘til we drop (or 3 a.m., whichever comes first). Expect great displays, booths, dancing, beer from Tomlinson Tap, a fashion show, weird performance art, fire dancing, drumming… you know, all the fun you’d expect in a party thrown by us. Last year, over 700 of you signed up to tour the City Market’s Catacombs. We’ll offer tours again, and hopefully those of you who couldn’t get in last year, will do so this year. Free.
get off my (eco-landscaped) lawn! by William Saint
See solution in the April issue of Indiana Living Green. See Februaryâ€™s solution on pg. 22.
Q: The New Year has
inspired us to clean out our medicine cabinets -- but what do with all of our outdated OTC and prescription medications? I don’t want to flush them or “just toss” them in the trash. I looked up ToxDrop information, but it didn’t list expired OTC or prescription as accepted. And are expired controlled substance prescriptions treated differently? Thanks! Shawn I recently purged my medicine shelf of expired allergy meds, heartworm preventive, ointments, old prescriptions and more. I have a bagful of potent stuff and I’m not sure how to properly dispose of it. Can you help? Thank you! Casey Hi Shawn and Casey, Straight from the Environmental Protection Agency web site: The number of pharmaceuticals and personal care pollutants are growing. In addition to antibiotics and steroids, over 100 individual PPCPs have been identified (as of 2007) in environmental samples and drinking water. Old medicines should never be flushed – our sewage systems are not equipped to remove drugs or other unregulated contaminates from our waste water. And since rainy days often mean raw sewage overflows in Indianapolis, well, that’s a lot of little fishies that don’t really need heartworm preventative. If you can store your old meds for a few weeks, mark you calendar for Marsh Pharmacies meds and sharps collection event March 15-18. If you can’t wait, check out DisposeMyMeds.com. You can find full details on unwanted medicines through Recycle Indiana. Piece out, Renee
SIGN UP for the Ask Renee newsletter at indianalivinggreen.com 22
The ApocaDocs’ Pre-Apocalypse News & Info Quiz (PANIQuiz) tests your knowledge of current environmental news. Brought to you by the ApocaDocs, Michael Jensen and Jim Poyser. Check your results (at the bottom), then see www.apocadocs.com to find out more.
1. Out of almost 14,000 peer-reviewed scientific articles surveyed, how many rejected global warming? __ a. 2,400 __ b. 1,400 __ c. 240 __ d. 24 __ e. none
2. What does a new study propose as a major reason Arctic ice is melting faster than predictions? __ a. Shell, etc., beginning to drill. __ b. Too much attention paid to it. __ c. Magnetic pole shift in process. __ d. First year ice is replacing multiyear ice. __ e. Polar bears’ frantic swimming efforts.
3. What does an expert think we should do regarding geoengineering? __ a. Start now! __ b. Hire the antichrist to help. __ c. Hire geoengineers. __ d. Reject all such nonsense. __ e. Anticipate the legal ramifications.
4. What was an Australian man referring to when he said “The trees just exploded”? __ a. Wildfire __ b. Emerald Ash Borer __ c. Mountain Pine Beetle __ d. Spontaneous combustion __ e. An especially beautiful fall
5. What’s one contentious question EPA will avoid answering when it comes to fracking? __ a. Does it contaminate drinking water? __ b. Should Lisa Jackson have quit? __ c. Should Lisa Jackson have quit earlier? __ d. Should fracking be regulated? __ e. Is fracking a curseword?
8. Who is prepared to “die fighting” to defend rainforest from the Ecuadorean army? __ a. Greenpeace activists __ b. Bill McKibben and 350.org __ c. Sylvester Stallone __ d. Earth First! activists __ e. Four hundred local villagers
9. What is NASA doing to better understand global warming? __ a. Setting up an office in Antarctica. __ b. Setting up an office in the Arctic. __ c. Sending deniers into the atmosphere. __ d. Sending drones into the atmosphere. __ e. Using a new kind of math: speedmath.
10. What did a Spanish study about sperm counts reveal? __ a. They are falling at an alarming rate. __ b. They are holding steady! __ c. Sperm counts are rising at the same rate as global warming. __ d. Men love to participate in this study. __ e. Men prefer when women conduct this study. Correct Answers: (d): 24 (DeSmog Blog); 2. (d): First year ice is replacing multiyear ice. (New York Times); 3. (e): Anticipate the legal ramifications. (University of Iowa ); 4. (a): Wildfire (Reuters); 5. (a): Does it contaminate drinking water? (Associated Press); 6. (d): It was broken by an entire degree. (Associated Press); 7. (a): Creates algal blooms. (E&E Publishing); 8. (e): Four hundred local villagers (London Guardian); 9. (d): Sending drones into the atmosphere. (Popular Mechanics); 10. (a) They are falling at an alarming rate. (London Daily Mail).
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6. What was unprecedented about the U.S. heat record broken in 2012? __ a. Nothing. Every year breaks the record. __ b. Obama tried to stop the stats from coming out. __ c. Each month had higher than average temps. __ d. It was broken by an entire degree. __ e. Everyone was paying attention.
7. How does warming water impact the world’s major lakes? __ a. Creates algal blooms. __ b. Kills off fish and wildlife. __ c. Increases tourism for swimmers. __ d. Burns hulls of boats. __ e. Makes the water evaporate more quickly. MARCH 2013
© 2013 William Saint
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