PUBLISHER Kevin McKinney kmckinney@IndianaLivingGreen.com
EDITORIAL EDITOR Jim Poyser jpoyser@IndianaLivingGreen.com ASSISTANTS Alexis Boxer (West Lafayette) Jaclyn Goldsborough (Fort Wayne) Jennifer Troemner (Indianapolis) INTERNS Jordan Martich (Ball State), Olivia McPherson (Hanover), Bethany Tatham (IUPUI), Sarah Ward (IUSB), Joshua Watson (IUPUI), Renee Wellman (Carmel High School) CONTRIBUTORS Robert Annis, The ApocaDocs, Christa Braun, Mary Ellen Gadski, Angela Herrmann, Lynn Jenkins, Shelby Kelley, Rita Kohn, Joe Lee, Mark Lee, Tim Maloney, Matt McClure, Adam Moody, Anthony Orozco, Krissy Proffitt, Bowden Quinn, Betsy Sheldon, Marie Smietana, Renee Sweany
09 Squandered Indiana
A handful of stories detail Indiana’s pollution and other environmental challenges, along with real, everyday solutions. BY BETSY SHELDON, ROBERT ANNIS, ANGELA HERRMANN, MARY ELLEN GADSKI, ANTHONY OROZCO COVER ILLUSTRATION BY SHELBY KELLEY
D E PA R T M E N T S 05 Doom & Bloom 05 Gardening with Lynn 06 Watts & Whatnot 09 Squandered Indiana 19 College Spotlight 20 Advocates 24 Green Biz 27 Events 27 Green Reads 28 Green Marketplace 29 The PANIQuiz 29 Ask Renee 30 The Last Row 31 Life is an Egg by Joe Lee
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06 The Green Parks Plan
Recognizing the need to dramatically reduce its carbon footprint, the National Park Service recently launched a plan to focus the bureau on sustainable management. + BY MATTHEW MCCLURE
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Owner of IndyAsh Aims to Save Indiana’s Trees Article Written By: Michelle Freed In the fall of 2007, local certiﬁed arborist Joshua Taﬂinger had no idea that his future would involve pesky green bugs. In fact, no one would have predicted that this successful owner of a tree trimming and removal company would sell his business and focus all his time and resources plotting the demise of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). “My friends thought I was crazy,” says Taﬂinger. “But the more I learned about this epidemic, the more passionate I became about saving Indiana’s trees and making a positive impact on our communities. Taﬂinger now owns and operates IndyAsh, a small family-operated company that provides EAB treatments for private and commercial properties as well as entire neighborhoods. In 2004, when the invasive and devastating EABs were ﬁrst conﬁrmed in Indiana, Taﬂinger had never heard of them. But after a conversation with a colleague a couple of years later, it became his mission to learn more. As additional cases were identiﬁed over the next year, local media increasingly reported on the infestations in the area. But as news cycles shifted, the coverage began to dwindle, and the majority of residents assumed that the problem had been taken care of. “People don’t realize that if they have an Ash tree and do not have a treatment plan in place, quite simply, their threes will most likely be dead within two years,” says Taﬂinger. “And they won’t see warning signs until it’s too late.” Taﬂinger regularly appears at neighborhood association meetings, community fairs and public events where he assists in educating the public about the seriousness of EABs and the future of Indiana’s Ash trees. It has become his passion. It’s the passion of state agencies as well, as Purdue Extension has been recording the rapid progress of EABs, and has issued warnings and recommendations for treatments. It is estimated that over 60 million Ash trees have been killed in the Midwest since 2006, while the EAB population increase annually at the rate of 4,000% percent. In addition, ofﬁcials estimate that this epidemic will last 12-15 years, until Emerald Ash Borers have eliminated all unprotected Ash trees in the state. There are currently 45+ counties in Indiana under quarantine, including Marion, Hamilton, Hendricks, and Hancock Counties. So what is a landowner to do? According to the Coalition for Urban Ash Tree Conservation, treatment is the way to go. The group’s ofﬁcial EAB Management Statement concludes that, “…treatment [is] a sensible and effective tool for managing healthy ash trees in urban settings. In many cases, tree conservation is economically and environmentally superior to tree removal.” Taﬂinger couldn’t agree more, and his message to Hoosiers is that it’s not too late. “Many problems in our world have no apparent solution, but this one does” he says. Taﬂinger’s best defense, and what research continues to prove to be the most effective treatment available on the market, is a product called TREE-Age (pronounced triage). Taﬂinger says that his treatment plan, which is ideally put to place in the spring, provides multiple-year protection because he injects the solution directly through the trunk into the tree’s vascular system. “It’s kind of like receiving an I.V. at the hospital,” he says. The product is then carried to every healthy part of the tree, coating and protecting from the inside out. More importantly, Taﬂinger says that the chemicals are contained within the tree, making it safe for use in environments where children and pets are at play. “I just want people to know that there is hope,” Taﬂinger says. “I would encourage everyone to be proactive, seek help and act now in order to help save our trees.” If you’d like to know more about Emerald Ash Borer, suitable treatment plans or Ash tree identiﬁcation, visit www.IndyAsh.com. or call (317) 524-1660.
doom & bloom with Jim Poyser
GARDENING WITH NATURE by Lynn Jenkins
The view of the White River from Jim’s backyard.
^ photo by jim poyser
It’s a beautiful afternoon, and I’m sitting on my little dock along the White River in Indianapolis, and despite the E. coli and other pollutants in the water, it is a bucolic and peaceful setting. Above me is a mulberry tree. There’s a scrum of birds high in its branches, feasting on the fruit. Their motions are causing mulberries to fall directly into the river beside me. The berries plop, sending out ripples, then float. And float some more. Before a massive toxic spill in 1999, there would have been no floatin’ time for these tasty morsels – they would have been snatched up immediately. On Dec. 13, 1999, a white wall of foam came pouring out of the Anderson, Ind., Wastewater Treatment Plant. Eventually, we understood that aquatic life for 57 miles along the White River had been profoundly harmed, including the death of 4.6 million fish. The scene in my backyard was carnage. Numerous fish were found in various poses of death. The source of the toxins was a discharge from Anderson-based Guide Corp., a factory that made automobile headlights. Before this ecotastrophe I would sit on this dock and watch fish devour these mulberries. Within feet of me, carp and catfish would swim to the surface, gulp down the berries, swim away and come back, like a Ferris wheel of fish. Today, the berries float. Nothing happens. There are ducks and geese and blue herons, and there are even bald eagles nesting downriver. I see raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, plus possum and foxes. Around sundown, I often see a beaver moving up and down the river. But the fish are few and far between, and the river clams are also all but gone. So I sit and think about this toxic plume and
our wasteful ways, and pine for the days of the procession of ugly fish. Then I spy something that wasn’t there before. Just to my left, in the water. Is it a stick? No, it looks like a head. Yes. It’s the head of a turtle. I can even see its legs, now, as it stands in the riverbed. I can see its eye. I think he’s looking at me. Neither of us moves, possibly for the same reason. We’re stuck in this unexpected encounter, checking each other out, afraid to move for fear the other will do something. He blinks. So do I. I know we all see turtles along the river and the canal, sunning themselves. This guy’s of a different species with a bigger head and a thicker neck. I’m guessing he’s a snapper, but he won’t show me enough of his body to know for sure. Okay, I’m anthropomorphizing by calling the turtle a “him” and a “guy” and I’ll go a step further and bet he’s an old codger. In fact, I hereby dub him Old Codger. Maybe he’s lived by my dock for a long time. Somehow, he survived the Great Plume. All I know for sure is he reminds me of the great lesson of sitting on the river, any river: patience. If you sit long enough, something will show up. Uh-oh. I’ve become distracted by these thoughts and when I look back, he’s in motion. A mulberry is floating past him, and he opens his mouth and snatches it, then disappears beneath a log in the water. Well. It was no Ferris wheel of fish, but on this summer day in the year of the apocalypse, it’ll have to do. I scan the other shore, turn back. No turtle in sight. Two blue herons pass overhead, flying in opposite directions. The reflection of a jet contrail in the water is a white, wiggly line. Old Codger is still, presumably, beneath the log. It’s all right. I can wait. ILG
Here comes the heat… and the pests, too. It’s hard not to mention the weather when record-breaking conditions persist. The changing climate may offer new perennial plant options, but it also creates problems. Traditional Indiana summers are perfect for growing tomatoes, but extreme heat (consistently above 90 F) will stop fruit production. Plants focus on survival instead of setting fruit. In addition, insects are less active during weather extremes of high heat or excess rain, and pollination is poor. Tomatoes can handle a lot of neglect, but when rain and watering become erratic, they respond with ‘blossom end rot.” This fruit disfiguring condition results most often when plants get too dry or too wet and lose their ability to absorb calcium from the soil. Monitor your rain gauge, and water slowly and deeply once a week if your garden has not received an inch of rain. Mulching your plants with good organic compost will both feed the plant and help keep proper soil moisture levels. Lawns, too, respond better to long slow soakings rather than daily spritzes of irrigation. If you are watering your lawn more than once a week, you are creating a cycle of poor root development and fungal infections. Generally, we get the inch of rain per week needed to maintain lawns and gardens. Surprisingly, Indiana receives nearly four inches of rain monthly during the summer months (https:// climate.agry.purdue.edu/climate/ facts.asp), yet summer is a time when our sprinklers run as if green lawns were more valuable than clean water. Slugs love moist conditions. My remedy is to place boards in areas where slugs abound. In the early evening, I grab small snips and maybe a glass of wine, flip the boards, and clip the nasties in half. It may seem brutal, but not all of nature’s wildlife belongs in my garden. Since my chickens will not eat Japanese beetles, and I’ve found no safe, easy way to control these pests, I just avoid planting their favorite plants, including roses, purple plum, and hollyhocks. Mosquitoes are always a problem. Dump and scrub your birdbaths frequently to keep birds healthy and mosquito populations down. Mosquito Dunks work well, too, but birds appreciate the fresh water. Got a gardening question or a tip to share? Contact Lynn at Lynn@ IndianaLivingGreen.com
WATTS & WHATNOT
Plan seeks to reduce carbon footprint
of national parks By Matthew McClure
Quick, what comes to mind when I mention national parks? I’m guessing snow-capped mountains and pristine blue skies. Maybe the serene sound of water passing over stones in a trout-filled stream. The crisp scent of pine needles carried by a gentle breeze. Or, for you, does talk of America’s national parks evoke the sight of smog-enshrouded valleys and the stench of diesel fumes? Perhaps the disquieting roar of snowmobiles or ATVs? Depending on the national park, the less idyllic portrait may in fact be reality. Great Smoky Mountains and Joshua Tree are but two of many national parks dealing with alarmingly poor air quality. Pollution in national parks often is caused by external sources, such as nearby coal plants. However, much of the eco-unfriendly activity occurs within the parks’ borders, which isn’t entirely surprising given that 280 million people annually visit U.S. national parks. Recognizing the need to dramatically reduce its carbon footprint, the National Park Service recently launched the Green Parks Plan, a large-scale initiative to focus the bureau on sustainable management of national parks and key environmental issues. “The Green Parks Plan is a comprehensive approach to sustainability that will reduce the National Park Service’s carbon footprint through actions taken in every park and office,” National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis said during an April news conference at the
Lincoln Memorial. “It addresses how we will reduce our energy and water consumption, limit the waste we generate, mitigate the effects of climate change, change what we buy and how we manage facilities, and integrate sustainable practices into every aspect of our operations.” The initiative’s success relies heavily on the participation of the National Park Service’s 20,000-plus employees, along with more than 200,000 volunteers, park partners and concessioners. Indiana is home to three national parks: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, George Rogers Clark National Historical Park and Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. These three sites, like all other national parks, are adopting sweeping changes to reduce their carbon footprint. Bruce Rowe serves as the public information director for Indiana Dunes. “We have been working to make Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore a greener park for the last couple of years and will continue to do so in support of the new Green Parks initiative,” he said. Rowe noted the eco-friendly steps the park already has taken, including the installation of solar-powered lights in its parking lots and a green roof on one of the buildings within its headquarters, the use of recycled tires and concrete to produce rubberized asphalt for a park road, and the construction of the Portage Lakefront Pavilion, which, with a geothermal heat pump HVAC system, earned Gold LEED certified status from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Raw milk gets a hearing
Nature Conservancy headquarters is LEED platinum
The Indiana State Board of Animal Health will hold a virtual public hearing on their website from June 1 - Sept. 1 where people can suggest potential changes to Indiana law, which currently doesn’t allow the sale of raw milk. Residents must provide a name and contact information to comment. Raw milk has not gone through any process of pasteurization, homogenization or irradiation. It has not been altered with additives or chemicals in any way, and can still be tested for bacterial diseases. It comes directly from the animal and is said by many to contain larger amounts of nutrients than pasteurized milk. Many believe that drinking raw milk helps with digestion and other health problems. Pasteurized, irradiated or homogenized milk has gone through a process that kills germs, along with chemical treatments that enhance flavor, fortify and preserve the milk. Raw milk supporters say this process depletes valuable nutrients. —Jordan Martich 6
The Indiana chapter of the national Nature Conservancy created a visible symbol of its commitment to sustainability by converting a commercial structure in Indianapolis into one that’s earned a LEED platinum rating. The gardens surrounding the building represent the four eco-regions of the state. Beneath those on the north side, 38 closed-loop geothermal wells provide energy-efficient heating and cooling via a heat pump system. Native materials, including flooring harvested from The Nature Conservancy’s own forests, were sourced from within a 500-mile radius. Pervious pavement and a large bioswale keep storm water from the site from draining into the city’s sewer system. It is believed to be the first urban building in the nation to accomplish this. —Jordan Martich
Painted Hills Ranger Station
Rowe added, “There is even a solar-powered storage cabin at the park’s Dunes Learning Center, where solar panels and shingles power interior lights, a vacuum, ceiling fan and vent as a demonstration for the park’s overnight educational camp.” Nationally, two of the many Green Parks Plan projects include a new reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial, reducing water consumption by two million gallons annually, as well as new lighting at Big Bend National Park, cutting its light bill by 95 percent and garnering the park the official “Dark Sky” designation from the International Dark-Sky Association. For more information on the National Park Service’s efforts, visit www.nps.gov/ greenparksplan.
KIB celebrates Adopt-a-Block success
Keep Indianapolis Beautiful is celebrating a milestone after the adoption of the 500th block in the Adopt-a-Block program. Created in 2002, Adopt-a-Block is one of KIB’s longest running programs with more than 500 volunteers bringing beautification and neighborhood revitalization projects to participating blocks in various Indianapolis communities. From litter clean-up, and street sweeping to flower planting and environmental stewardship, the program has connected volunteers young and old with the same common goal – keeping their community clean. The program is always open for participation. First, a neighborhood needs a Block Coordinator to organize cleanups and connect neighbors. Then, KIB provides each coordinator a cleanup kit with everything from tools such as garbage bags and gloves, to plant material for flowers and trees. To find out more: kibi.org/adopt-a-block. —Jaclyn Goldsborough
Look for the August issue of Indiana Living Green on stands July 30 Back to School eco-activism primer ILG correspondents fan out across the state, detailing the eco-efforts by over a dozen colleges and universities.
Enjoy volunteering? Please contact Kate Bragg at email@example.com Interested in being a sponsor? Please contact Lauren Guidotti at firstname.lastname@example.org
follow us on facebook at mass ave criterium
Back for its 5th year, the annual Mass Ave Criterium will take place Saturday, August 11th from 11:30 am to 9:00 pm. The event will be the host site for the Elite Indiana State Criterium Championships. Join us at the start/finish line right outside of The Chatterbox Jazz Club on Mass Ave as riders compete for $10,000 in cash and prizes! Interested in racing or just want to be a part of the experience? Visit mac.nuvo.net for up-to-date information.
HOT ENOUGH FOR YA? TOXIC ENOUGH? SCARY ENOUGH? Indiana is profoundly challenged from all sides, literally and ﬁguratively, when it comes to its environment. The following stories address aspects of that, because we couldn’t possibly encompass our beleaguered landscape in one issue. Nor do we want to evoke just the doom of our situation. There are remediation efforts, and we’ll detail some of those. The release of this issue coincides with an ambitious project for Indiana analivinggreen.com. We created a glossary of deﬁnitions for toxins, plu plus explanations of commonly used, but sometimes misunderstood, env environmental terms. We have also assembled a database of organization tions you can support and actions that you can take. If we’ve missed you your organization, email me at email@example.com Ou Our eco-challenges are giant, but the good news is they can only be sol solved on a local level. We’ll need all of us to pitch in; so let’s get on it. —JIM POYSER | ILLUSTRATIONS BY SHELBY KELLEY
INDIANA BYY THE NUMBERS NNUMBE UM ERS LIST: LIST I COMPILED BY JORDAN MARTICH AND JOSH WATSON
• Indiana – 6.5 million people (U.S. Census 2011) • 14.8 million acres of land used for agriculture. (www. i n . g ov/ i sd a /)
• Fossil fuels are the predominant energy sources for Indiana. • Coal provides fuel for more than 50 percent of all energy consumed in Indiana and about 95 percent of the energy for the generation of electricity. • Petroleum accounts for 30 percent of all energy used in the state and natural gas an additional 18 percent. • Less than 2 percent comes from biomass and hydroelectric power. • 4,578 oil wells exist in Indiana, most of them in the southwestern area. (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
• No. 3 state in toxic air emissions. • No. 3 state in sulfur dioxide emission (384,961 metric tons in 2010). • No. 4 state in carbon dioxide emissions (116,282,506 metric tons in 2010). • No. 5 state in mortality risk rate due to coal emissions. • Air toxins emitted from coal-ﬁred power plants can cause cancer, damage the liver, kidney, nervous, and circulatory systems, and respiratory effects, including asthma, decreased lung function, and bronchitis. • It is estimated that proposed EPA regulations on a national level will prevent between 6,800 and 17,000 premature deaths from power plant air toxins each year, and will result in annual savings of $48 billion to $140 billion.
• Indiana has roughly 2,000 conﬁned feeding operations, 628 of which are the larger CAFOs. • CAFOs are responsible for about 80 percent of all livestock raised in Indiana which
includes approximately 850,000 cows and ap calves, 3,650,000 hogs and pigs, and more l 3 65 than 42 million birds per year. • A single livestock operation with 5,000 pigs is estimated to produce the same amount of raw sewage as a town of 20,000 people. • A single dairy cow produces 148 lbs of manure per day. 45,917,000,000 lbs of manure is estimated in a year from Indiana cows alone. • Swine CAFOs have been linked to the dangerous MRSA bacterial disease. Outbreaks in Camden, Ind., made national news in The New York Times, as more than 50 contracted the infection in a town of just over 500. • 16th highest rate of adult obesity in the nation, at 27.4 percent. • 31st highest of overweight youths (ages 10-17) at 29.9 percent, according to a new report by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
• We have 72 total landﬁll facilities in the state, occupying 3,658 acres of land (IDEM 2008). • In 2008 we deposited 16,030,976 tons of waste into our landﬁlls. • 65 percent of Indiana’s waste stream could be reclaimed through composting and recycling, according to a recent (May 25, 2012) Purdue study submitted to IDEM. • We have the highest percent of plastic in our waste stream of any state in the country (16.7 percent) • In 2010 the EPA estimated every American throws away 4.43 lbs of waste day. According to IDEM 2008 (10,687,317 tons municipal solid waste per year) statistics and the 2011 Census data (6,516,922 people), Indiana residents throw away approximately 9lbs per day. • In 2008, we buried 2,889,984 tons of waste from out of state sources.
• No. 1 state in water pollution by Environment America, a citizen-funded advocacy group. • Overall, contaminants in Indiana waterways include pesticides, priority organics, copper, lead, ammonia, cyanide, low dissolved oxygen, total dissolved solids and chlo-
rides, habitat alterations, oil and grease. • Speciﬁcally, the Rockport, Ind., AK Steel plant is one of the biggest toxic water polluters nationwide. • 30,321,380 lbs of toxic chemicals per year. • 67,205 tons of sulfur dioxide per year. • 21,122 tons of nitrogen oxides per year. • 17,422,315 tons of carbon dioxide per year. • 1,492 lbs of mercury per year.
SOIL: • Nearly 60 percent of Indiana’s land is devoted to agriculture. Of Indiana’s 23 million total acres of land, 13.4 million acres are devoted to crops. The state’s agricultural economy is dependent on health of the soil. • Contaminants in our soil can be found on roadways, in older homes, near brownﬁelds (property contaminated with a hazardous pollutant), near lead smelters and in enriched soils near contaminated sites. • Lead naturally occurs in soil at 10 parts per million. A 2011 study conducted by IUPUI Center for Urban Health found that average soil samples in Indiana have 200 ppm, with some areas reaching 2,300 ppm or more. • 2,270 brownﬁeld sites are listed by the Indiana Brownﬁelds Program. This is not an inventory of all brownﬁeld sites in Indiana, but rather those sites at which the Indiana Brownﬁelds Program has considered or provided ﬁnancial, legal or technical assistance. • In Indianapolis alone there are over 162 brownﬁelds.
FOREST: • In pre-settlement times Indiana was approximately 23,157,000 acres in total area and approximately 85 percent, or 19,683,450 acres were forested. • By 1900, the forested acreage of Indiana had been cut down to an estimated 7 percent, or 1,620,990 acres. • Today, state forest properties have approximately 148,650 acres of land, of which 20,000 acres do not have timber management as one of the objectives at this time. ILG
HOW COAL-FIRED POWER PLANTS POISON SON INDIANA’S AIR, SOIL AND WATER BY BETSY SHELDON
Gabriel Filippelli is a professor of Earth Sciences at IUPUI and director of the Center for Urban Health.
Air, water, earth, fire: For nearly 40,000 years, civilizations have linked these four elements to everything from health treatments and home decor to horoscopes and human compatibility. All aspects of existence, it was believed, were imbued with the distinct characteristics of each element in varying proportions. All four interacted together. They needed each other. Greek philosophy and feng shui aside, it’s hard to argue the interconnectedness of air, water, earth and fire. The four can no more be separated than a cake can be unbaked. Under the incubator of the sun (fire), the atmosphere (air) is made inhabitable, which allows water and soil to nurture life. Take away one element and the whole system falls flatter than a ruined birthday cake. Gabriel Filippelli can attest to this. For more than 20 years the professor of Earth Sciences at IUPUI and director of the Center for Urban Health has been parleying research grants into studies that have examined evidence of climate change, 10
^ photo by mark lee
identified impacts on the earth, water, and air, and explored weighty topics as only a biogeochemist, paleoceanographer and paleoclimatologist can. So, when Filippelli tells you what happens in the air doesn’t stay in the air, you can be assured that there’s science to back him up.
INDIANA’S KING COAL
Take mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants, for example. “The mercury comes out into the air, and is deposited right on the landscape,” Filippelli says, “where it eventually flows into the waterways, and makes fish inedible, especially for pregnant women or children, because it’s such a powerful toxin.” Filippelli’s recent research illustrates that example. He and a team of students have been measuring concentrations and following the migration of mercury emissions from the Harding Street Power Plant on the southwest side of Indianapolis. ILG
“There’s a clearly defined plume of very high mercury values throughout soils in the city,” he notes. “It’s deposited on soil and then makes its way into the White River. You can still see a memory of high mercury levels in these waters at least 20 to 30 miles south of Indianapolis. So we can backtrack the very poor water quality in Indiana to the source.” The coal-fired power station owned and operated by AES (parent company of Indianapolis Power & Light) emits a couple hundred lbs of mercury per year, Filippelli estimates, which blows upwind and dusts the city. As the contaminants drift north and settle into the White River upstream, the south-flowing waterway carries the mercury back through the city. Indiana has more than its fair share of coal-fired power plants, one of the most notorious sources of mercury emissions, carbon dioxide, and other toxic contaminants. A 2010 study from the Union of Concerned Scientists reported that Indiana was the country’s ninth most coal-dependent state. It ranks fifth-highest in mercury levels, emitting 3,175 lbs a year. With 95 percent of its electrical power generated by coal, the state suffers from not just energy and economic dependence on coal, but devastating health impacts, as well. Nationally, Indiana is one of the worst states for air quality, toxic emissions, and environmental health, largely due to the coal-burning power plants. “The stuff that comes out of a power plant causes a pretty heavy health burden,” Filippelli says. Mercury, a neurotoxin, is proven to cause neural damage, especially in unborn children, causing decreased motor skills and lower intelligence. Other particulates and chemicals released cause pulmonary illnesses, asthma, cardiovascular disease and more. Filippelli is equally hopeful and skeptical about a current regulatory development at the federal level. After decades of debate, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, establishing national limits on mercury and other toxic emissions including arsenic and heavy metals emitted from power plants, and requiring coal plant investments in mercury-control technologies. For Indiana alone, calculations estimate that in 2016, the rule could prevent 290 premature deaths and avoid as much as $2.4 billion in health benefits. Filippelli isn’t looking for any immediate changes, however, because the regulation is getting a lot of pushback from supporters of the fossil-fuel industry. “It is likely to be litigated against and stalled for quite a while,” he says Ditto for the EPA’s Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants under the Clean Air Act. The rule defines carbon dioxide as a polluting gas that must be measured and controlled, and sets national limits on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. “That one is likely nowhere near being adopted as national policy because it has been stalled by litigation.”
LEAD THREATS IN THE WIND
may be increasing. As a specialist in climate change science, Filippelli has a Coal-fired power plants aren’t grim outlook. “As a physics exthe only source of air conperiment, I can prove [climate tamination in Indiana, howchange] in my lab. I’ve studied ever. Confined animal feeding past climate change. We know it operations (CAFOs), smelting has occurred, and when it happlants, incinerators and small pens, it changes the landscape manufacturing all contribute to quite a bit, but the things that poor air quality in Indiana. Even drove those changes in the past abandoned or poorly maintained were slow, so that life was able properties are a threat. “They’re to adapt. Now it’s happening at heavily loaded with chemical such a rapid rate, the Earth’s components, lead being one of natural ability to adapt is being them,” Filippelli says. reduced quite a bit.” Another of his projects mea“Some things are happening, sures lead dust in the city. “One many are not,” he says. “What has of the biggest sources of lead that to happen is that we either reduce affects children in Indianapolis the number of coal-fired power is the dust in the air,” he says. “It plants or we have stricter emisprobably came from lead paint sion standards.” that has degraded and converted Tackling big-coal and the slowto soil dust, which settles into the moving wheels of change in air water and the soil. So the new quality legislation may seem like threat to children’s health is no a futile fight for individuals, but longer peeling paint, but urban Filippelli has some suggestions: dirt that is periodically resus“Reduce demand for coal-burnpended by wind.” ing power plants by reducing Filippelli’s research involves our electricity use,” and “Choose monitoring for lead and other the Green Power option.” People fine particulates in Indianapolis. within reach of IPL can choose “Unfortunately, there are few air to buy electricity from renewable monitoring stations for particuresources. In Indiana, that’s wind [see page 15]. “What that does is, in and of itself, converts the electrical production landscape in Indiana. They can still produce energy and sell it to other sources, which they do, but — Gabriel Filippelli with more people and businesses changing over, IPL has to buy lates. They have them for ozone, more and more renewables, and but only a few for particulates.” it spurs research and developFilippelli’s measurements ment into those renewables.” are sure to enhance air quality Filippelli is encouraged by local information for Indianapolis. He reaction regarding state response recently released a study on lead to the carbon pollution standard particulates and their effect on proposal. “The public concern for children in urban settings, and the environment and advocacy for plans to publish further research cleaning up emissions was a very on the topic this summer. positive surprise to me. An excellent column in the Indianapolis Star outlined these potential changes CLIMATE CHANGE and the community desire to clean IN THE AIR up the air and water. I read the comFrom a climate change perments. They were overwhelmingly spective, Indiana’s poor air qualin support of making air and water ity is only part of the problem clean enough to breathe safely and with coal-fired power plants. The swim and fish in.” state ranks sixth in the nation for That’s all anybody can ask CO2 output, with a per-capita anfor—an environment in which nual carbon consumption rate of our four elements can exist in 39 tons, largely due to coal-powharmony rather than wreak ered energy. Evidence suggests havoc upon each other. that the Indiana carbon footprint
“There’s a clearly defined plume of very high mercury values throughout soils in the city.”
• The EPA imposed restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants this year but came up short on the nation’s existing coal-fired power plants. • Recent active regulations require new power plants to emit no more than 1,000 lbs of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour of electricity produced. The standard U.S. natural gas plant, which emits 800 to 850 lbs of carbon dioxide per megawatt, meets that standard, but coal plants emit an average of 1,768 lbs of carbon dioxide per megawatt. • The Energy Information Administration estimates only one 900-megawatt coal-fired power plant will be permitted and constructed before 2030. • Indianapolis Power & Light warned that it might need to transfer costs to customers for up to $900 million to upgrade its coal-fired plants in order to follow federal rules on mercury and other emissions. IPL might also retire some older units or convert others to natural gas. • It is estimated that proposed federal EPA regulations will avoid between 6,800 and 17,000 premature deaths from power plant emissions each year, and yield an annual savings of $48 billion to $140 billion. Indiana calculations estimate that in 2016 the proposed changes will prevent 290 premature deaths and avoid almost $2.4 billion in health benefits. • While coal still provides about a third of the nation’s power, just four years ago it was providing nearly half.
The Sierra Club, whose Indiana chapter positively impacts our communities daily, launched a campaign called Beyond Coal in 2002 to address the health, environmental, economical and efficiency issues with coal-fired power plants. To date, they’ve stopped over 150 proposed coal plants and evolved from a grassroots community into a powerful voice in environmentalism. The organization now works to phase out the existing coal-fired plants and support clean alternative fuels for the future. For more information and opportunities to participate visit beyondcoal.org
KNOZONE ACTION DAY
Harmful formation of ground-level ozonee affects the health of every individual. Children en and the elderly are particularly at risk — as well as those with heart and lung disease. According to Indianapolis’ Office of ogen oxides Sustainability, “Emissions such as nitrogen and volatile organic compounds from sources such as vehicles and industry react in the atmosphere in the presence of sunlight to produce ground-level ozone.” There are a numerous, common sense ways to reduce these emissions, such as: • • • •
Carpool, bike or take public transportation to work or school. If you do drive, don’t let your car idle. Don’t fuel your car or cut your grass in the heat of the day. Also, have your car serviced on a regular basis. According to the Office of Sustainability, “one poorly performing car can equal emissions from 10-25 properly running vehicles.”
For more tips, and to sign up for Knozone Action Day email alerts, go to www.indy.gov/KNOZONE. ILG
IMPAIRED WATERS IDEM/EPA CONTINUE WATERWAY DISPUTE BY ROBERT ANNIS ^ submitted photo
Indiana’s top environmental agency and the federal government continue to battle it out over a proposed list of impaired waterways that local activists claim omits several rivers polluted by coal mines. More than 70 percent of Indiana’s 45,000 miles of waterways are considered impaired by the state, said Indiana Department of Environmental Management Integrated Report Coordinator Jody Arthur. Most of the impairments are due to E. coli and excessive amounts of PCBs and mercury in fish tissue. Because each state tallies their information differently, it’s not known exactly how Indiana stacks up against other states when it comes to water pollution. Each state is required to submit an updated inventory of impaired waterways to the Environmental Protection Agency every two years. IDEM’s currently compiling its 2012 list, while still wrestling with the feds over the not-yetapproved 2010 register. The two agencies continue to debate whether bodies of water with abnormal levels of aluminum and iron should be included in the list. Present in an earlier draft, they were later removed after complaints from powerful lobbying groups. Both the Indiana Coal Council and the Indiana Energy Association claimed the state didn’t allow for public input when it added those criteria, thus violating procedure. IDEM’s top attorney at the time, David R. Joest, agreed and those creeks and waterways were scrubbed from the list. But Sierra Club Conservation Program
Coordinator Bowden Quinn claims there’s more to the story [see page 13]. Peabody Energy plans to expand the existing Bear Run mine into the largest coalmining facility in the eastern United States in the coming years; Duke Energy’s controversial Edwardsport Plant may use up to 2 million tons of Bear Run coal a year on its own, according to SourceWatch. That mine, along with nearly every other mine in Indiana, operates under a state general permit that’s much less stringent – and ultimately less costly — than an individual permit, which the federal government is demanding. “Gov. Daniels wants to make Indiana coal as cheap as possible, so they’re obviously not going to do anything that might make it even a little more expensive,” Quinn says, adding he didn’t know how big of an impact clean water regulations would have on the mine’s bottom line. [See Sidebar on Sierra Club.] When the coal companies objected to listing those waterways, there was little doubt they’d be removed, Quinn notes. Joest, the attorney who advised the state to reject the criteria, was Peabody Energy’s top lobbyist for years before joining IDEM, inciting howls of protests from environmental activists. He’s since moved on to Evansville-based law firm Rhine Ernest LLP. EPA officials pointed out in 2010 that several bodies of water near Bear Run failed to meet water quality standards and needed extra pollution controls in place. But IDEM claims the mines are not responsible for the contamina-
HOW IMPAIRED WATERWAYS AFFECT HOOSIERS: E. coli impairments indicate the possibility of the presence of pathogens in the water that could make us sick if we swim in it or drink untreated water. Nutrients (i.e., nitrogen and phosphorus) promote algae growth, especially in lakes, reservoirs or still waters along rivers and streams. Algae may cause odor and taste problems, deter recreation such as fishing or 12
tion. Despite the lobbying from the coal council and the closeness of the mines, “none of the waterways’ (pollution) can be attributed to a specific point source,” said Arthur. It’s not known for sure what, if any, health risks the increased levels of aluminum and iron in water pose to humans. However, Scientists have found links between high concentrations of aluminum in the brain to diseases affecting the nervous system, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease. EPA Spokesman Pete Cassell was fairly tight-lipped about the negotiations, refusing to comment on reports his agency and IDEM disagree over the list as it currently stands. But both he and Arthur agreed the EPA has the authority to approve all or part of the list, as well as reinsert the disputed waterways. It’s expected the feds will do just that, then open the list up to yet another round of public comment. After 30 days, assuming no changes are made, the list would become final and be presented to the state water pollution board. If that happened, Arthur refused to say if the state would include those disputed waterways in its 2012 list. “I don’t know how we’ll respond until the EPA moves forward,” Arthur said. To learn more about the impaired waterway list and to make your feelings known about polluted streams, creeks and rivers, visit IDEM’s website, in.gov/idem.
boating, and can have economic impacts by deterring g tourism or lowering home values, which has been a concern for people living on Geist Reservoir. Mercury in the water becomes methylmercury in wetlands, which is taken up by plants and bioaccumulatess in men fish, potentially causing reproductive problems in women who eat the fish and learning disabilities in children. illMetal impairments alter the aquatic habitat, killing fish or detering their reproduction, depriving us of good fishing habitat.
DISAGREEMENTS EXPLAINED Sierra Club’s Bowden Quinn explains the disagreements over IDEM’s 2010 list, and the delisting of impaired waterways. “(The) EPA disagrees with IDEM’s decision not to list impaired waters using ‘derived criteria,’ which is a way to determine the toxicity of substances for which there are no listed numeric criteria in our water quality standards. The substances at issue here are primarily aluminum and iron. The EPA also disagrees with IDEM’s decision not to list waters using total metal analysis rather than dissolved metals.”
INDIANA INITIATIVES Sierra Club requested an extension in the public comment period, originally scheduled to end May 8, which now runs until May 31. Sierra Club requested that IDEM discuss the list at the May water pollution control board meeting. Sierra Club has prepared comments on the draft list that will be submitted to IDEM, signed by the chapter, Hoosier Environmental Council, Save the Dunes Council, the Save Maumee Program of Lake Erie Waterkeeper, Indiana CAFO Watch, and the Environmental Law and Policy Center of Chicago.
WATER CONSERVATION According to Carey Lykins, Citizens Energy Group p President and CEO, “There is nothing more essential al to a community’s health and vitality than access to safe, reliable drinking water.” Although Americans have what seems like an n endless supply of safe drinking water, Citizens Energy Group urges people to conserve water, because people consume fresh water more than it can be naturally replenished. People can take numerous, common sense steps to conserve water, such as: • Run your dishwasher when it is entirely full. • Shorten the length of your showers. • Don’t leave the water running when brushing your teeth or washing your face. • Install low-flow toilets and faucets. • Water your lawn once a week. Note: when you do water your yard or plants, water between 4 and 7 a.m., because watering in the middle of the day leads to higher levels of evaporation. For an exhaustive list on conserving water, visit www. citizenswater.com/Education/SavingWaterAtHome.aspx
• 226 million lbs of toxins in our waterways in 2010. • The Ohio river is the most polluted national waterway, with 32,116,310 lbs of toxic pollutants. • Pollution from just five states—Indiana, Virginia, Nebraska, Texas, and Georgia—accounted for nearly forty percent of the total amount of pollution dumped into our waterways in 2010 • In 2010, industries discharged approximately 1.5 million lbs of cancer-causing chemicals, like arsenic, chromium, and benzene, into America’s waterways. • Nitrates accounted for nearly 90 percent of the total volume of discharges to waterways reported in 2010. Nitrates are toxic, particularly to infants consuming formula made with nitrate-laden drinking water, who may be susceptible to methemoglobinemia, or “blue baby” syndrome, a disease that reduces the ability of blood to carry oxygen throughout the body. ILG
THE DIRT ON INDIANA SOIL BY ANGELA HERRMANN WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PROTECT SOIL? • If you must use chemicals, dispose of them properly. Visit a ToxDrop site: indy.gov/toxdrop • If you plan to grow a garden for food, test your soil and learn to build richer soil. • See the soil resource section: fallcreekgardens.org/IIIPlanningCG#Soil • See also IUPUI’s Garden Safe Garden Well guide: fallcreekgardens.org/Resources/Documents/ GardenSafeGardenWell.pdf ^ submitted photo
Dirt is dirt, right? Not exactly, if you ask an agronomist, farmer or everyday gardener. Dirt, or more appropriately, soil, is considered a non-renewable resource because it forms over hundreds of thousands of years. Indeed, soil is quite possibly one of the most misunderstood — and at times, most abused — part of Earth’s biosphere. Nearly 60 percent of Indiana’s land is devoted to agriculture. Of Indiana’s 23 million total acres of land, 14.8 million acres are devoted to farmland. The state’s agricultural economy is dependent on health of the soil. Soil is an intricate ecosystem. Scientists say that up to 50 earthworms can thrive within a square foot of healthy soil. A teaspoon of soil is home to a billion bacteria, several yards of fungal hyphae, thousands of protozoa and dozens of nematodes, all of which have a relationship with the root systems of plants, including plants we eat and plants we feed to animals we eat. Healthy soil supports stable ecosystems, like Indiana’s original perennial prairies and forests. As soon as Hoosier settlers began clearing forests and prairies for farming and urbanization, soil conditions changed, often for the worse. Nonsustainable farming practices like slash and burn depleted nutrients in the soil leaving large areas barren and vulnerable to soil erosion.
Gary C. Steinhardt, professor of agronomy and extension specialist with Purdue University, said Indiana has erosion issues that need to be addressed. Though statistics from the Natural Resources Conservation Service show erosion rates have declined significantly between 1982 and 2007, nearly 30 percent of all farmland nationally, including Indiana, still suffers from soil losses that would prevent current levels of agricultural production to continue. One issue related to soil erosion is the loss of organic matter, which increases the soil’s ability to hold water. Organic matter becomes problematic when it enters waterways because it 14
contains nitrogenous compounds and phosphates. These substances cause algal blooms, for example, found locally in the Geist reservoir, which can severely impact water quality. Cover crops, sometimes referred to as green manure, are crops with no cash value that are planted in place of cash crops to increase soil fertility, decrease erosion, enhance tilth, reduce weeds, slow pests and disease, and increase the soil’s water-holding capacity. Steinhardt says, “They not only prevent erosion, they’ll also build organic matter. By not plowing, we’re preventing a lot of erosion.” If we think we’ve treated farmland badly in Indiana, consider what’s been done to urban land. Steinhardt said he is disturbed by the loss of land to development and views responsible development as a way to preserve soil quality. “[Prime farmland] is valuable, it doesn’t get its just due. If we looked at our cities seriously, we’d be trying to figure out how we can make living downtown more attractive. You fritter away land, natural resources and ecosystems.”
INDUSTRIALIZATION AND URBANIZATION
According to Chris Harrell, principal and founder of Lazarus Group LLC and the City’s former brownfields expert, Indianapolis and other cities have squandered a lot of land. Very little native soil remains in urban areas due to industrialization. “Through the process of industrialization and urbanization, soil has been moved around and degraded through blending with construction debris and wastes, thus degrading the soil for growing,” Harrell says. Harrell said that poor urban soil quality is product of an industrialized past. He lists contaminants common to urban areas, including heavy metals, such as arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium and silver; solvents, petroleum products and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). People can be exposed to these contaminants through inhalation, absorption through skin or ingestion.
• Discover how your land was historically used to make sure it’s not a former dry-cleaners or gas station site. • Read the Urban Garden Fact Sheet: clu-in.org/download/misc/urban_ gardening_fact_sheet.pdf • Indianapolis City Brownfield Inventory: maps. indy.gov/MapIndy/Index. html?theme=Brownfields • Consider whether or not to apply a lawn chemical. Learn all you can about a chemical before using it. Always follow label directions. At what expense are you trying to maintain the perfect, weed-free lawn? • Get involved in land-use planning and zoning. Support smart urban growth that protects undeveloped land. Learn about LEED for Urban Development. • Got weeds? They might be trying to tell you something about your soil, if you haven’t already blasted them with weed killer! Weeds move quickly into disturbed areas to protect soil and restore nutrients. • Use natural alternatives to get rid of pests in the garden. With reporting help from Jordan Martich and Josh Watson. See our web site for a list off soil contaminants.
IPL’S GREEN POWER OPTION BY MARY ELLEN GADSKI
^ submitted photo
If you have ever considered signing up for the Green Power Option offered by Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL), now might be the time. Recently the cost of participation, which can change every six months depending on market prices, has dropped markedly. The current green premium is only $0.001 per kilowatthour (one-tenth of a cent) and is obtained from renewable energy purchased from Midwestern wind farms. At this premium, a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours in a month and enrolled at the 10 percent level would pay only $1 additional on his or her IPL electric bill. (Editor’s note: a potential overall rate change in August may slightly impact this total.) Glenn Livers, the program’s manager, indicated that around 4,300 residential customers are currently enrolled. Participation has increased a little every year over the 13-year history of the program, and enrolled customers tend to remain
loyal. However, this figure equates to less than one percent of IPL’s 470,000 customers. A national report on consumer attitudes towards renewable energy concluded that only one in six consumers is aware of green power programs offered by their utility. More than 850 utility companies across the U.S. offer these voluntary programs to their customers. Last October’s report by the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) ranked the IPL option as No. 1 for offering the lowest incremental cost to its customers. It’s a paradox that IPL offers the cheapest program yet ranks low in participation. NREL ranked utilities nationwide by the percentage of customer participation. The top utilities were City of Palo Alto Utilities (California), with more than 20 percent of its customers participating in its green power program; followed by Portland General Electric (Oregon); Farmers Electric
Cooperative of Kalona (Iowa); Madison Gas and Electric Company (Wisconsin); and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (California). Businesses can also participate in the program, and since they are the larger consumers of power, their enrollment takes on a greater environmental effect. IPL cannot reveal customerspecific information on the top participants in the program, but its “thank-you” ad printed in The Indianapolis Star identified 45 users willing to be published, including many large businesses (Raytheon Technical Services, RCI and FedEx Office), institutions (the Indianapolis Zoo, Butler University and the Indianapolis Museum of Art), and churches (First Congregation UCC and the Unitarian Universalist). The program is based on the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs, pronounced ‘wrecks’). Consumers are not buying green electricity that is being delivered straight from the source to their home. They are enabling the purchase of certificates for alternative energy that is going into the electric grid, reducing the need for energy from fossil fuel sources like coal, oil and natural gas. RECs are registered commodities and are equal to one megawatt hour of electricity generated from a renewable facility. They are purchased separately from the actual energy, which has its own value. In case you think there could be misrepresentation involved in this process, a program called Green-e, headed up by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions in California, runs an annual independent audit and makes sure that all of its subscribers’ statements are independently verified. IPL has been participating in this program for two years, giving its consumers the assurance that each megawatt hour of green power is tracked through the national system. Five years ago IPL’s main sources of RECs were from “national wind” — power primarily generated in Texas — and methane from Indiana landfills. The Green-e program dictates that the power be obtained from a more local footprint. Now IPL buys 100 percent of its green power from wind-generated sources in the Midwest (a region that extends to the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, as well as the Indiana wind farms). Currently IPL has no plans to incorporate any Indiana-generated solar power in to the program. Unfortunately the long period necessary to recoup investment costs is hampering the development of solar sources, which Livers claims are both expensive and scarce. Are these programs effective at encouraging the markets in alternative power? Or are they merely a voluntary tax on environmentally aware do-gooders? Signing up for the Green Power Option is an easy way to express public demand for green power and demonstrate to our state legislators that we want an alternative to burning coal. In 2011 IPL’s green power customers’ purchases of renewable energy accounted for about 88,000 metric tons of avoided CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to taking more than 17,000 cars off the road for a year. You can easily enroll online at www. IPLpower.com. You may participate at 100 percent, 50 percent and 25 percent. ILG
^ submitted photo
GREEN ENERGY OPTIONS THROUGHOUT THE STATE SUMMER DAY CAMP June 11, 2012 thru August 17, 2012
Montessori Preschool Founded 1971
2404 W. 62nd Street, Indianapolis, IN 46268
INDIANAPOLIS POWER & LIGHT CO. - THE GREEN POWER OPTION • 4,300 residential customers are currently enrolled. • Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) ranked the IPL option as No. 1 for offering the lowest incremental cost to its customers. • A typical customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours in a month and enrolled at the 10 percent level would pay only $1 additionally. • The current green premium is only $0.001 per kilowatt-hour (one-tenth of a cent). • From renewable energy purchased from Midwestern wind farms. • In 2011 IPL’s green power customers’ purchases of renewable energy accounted for about 88,000 metric tons of avoided CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to taking more than 17,000 cars off the road for a year. • Homeowners may participate at 100 percent, 50 percent and 25 percent. • You can easily enroll online at IPLpower.com. DUKE ENERGY – GOGREEN INDIANA • Customers can purchase a minimum of two 100-kilowatt-hour (kWh) blocks of green power for just $4 a month. • Your 200-kWh commitment equates to about 20 percent of an average residential customer’s electricity use and helps to avoid 4,800 lbs of carbon dioxide emissions each year. • As of the beginning of 2011, Indiana customers have supported over 19,576.6 MWH of Green-e certified wind power. Contributions currently support the Benton County wind farm in Indiana. • Apply online at duke-energy.com/indiana.asp. NORTHERN INDIANA PUBLIC SERVICE CO. (NIPSCO) – THE GREEN POWER RATE PILOT PROGRAM • Would allow customers to designate a portion or all of their monthly electric usage to be supplied from wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and hydroelectric renewable energy sources. • An average customer using 688 kilowatts a month would pay $1.49 in addition to a monthly $78 electric bill if the 100 percent option is chosen. • You can designate 25, 50 or 100 percent of your monthly electric usage to be attributable to power generated by renewable energy sources. • This program still needs to be approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC). • More information at nipsco.com/en/our-services/green-power-rate.aspx.
Thanks for voting us #1 for 8 consecutive years!
SOUTH CENTRAL INDIANA REMC – ENVIROWATTS • Power for the program utilizes methane gas from Indiana landfills. • Purchase options are for 100 kWh blocks at one cent per kilowatt hour (up to 1,000 kWh), added to your monthly electric bill. • More information at sciremc.com/envirowattsform.aspx. Many other areas in Indiana are powered by Rural Energy Management Cooperatives. Find out if your area has a green program available at www.isa.coop/. 16
ENERGIZING INDIANA STATEWIDE INITIATIVE SUPPORTS ENERGY CONSERVATION BY ANTHONY OROZCO Bishop Carl J. Mimms III and his wife, Diane, are taking advantage of the Energizing Indiana program at the Freedom Tabernacle of Praise.
A free program called Energizing Indiana has emerged out of the Statehouse to potentially reach more than two million Indiana residents, businesses, schools and nonprofit organizations. The program provides rebates, information, and installations that not only save money but also combat energy waste. “Several years ago, the (Indiana) Utility Regulatory Commission decided that they wanted to see a more consistent approach to energy efficiency programs,” Bob Nuss, executive director of Energizing Indiana, says. “So they created an initiative with the five large utility companies and the Indiana Municipal Power Agency.” In the fall of 2011, Bob Nuss and GoodCents, a demand-side utility solutions company, were selected to bring the Energizing Indiana team together. Since then, Nuss and his group have been working to raise awareness and invite participation in the Energizing Indiana project. Over 45,000 fifth-grade and sixth-grade children across the state have already taken Indianaapproved science curriculum that teaches students how to spot and stop waste. The students are given compact florescent light bulbs, faucet aerators, and low-flow showerheads. “Our goal is to reach 48,000 homes by the end of the year,” Nuss says. Using customer dollars, the companies (Energy heavyweights Duke Energy, Indiana Michigan Power, Indiana Municipal Power Agency, Indianapolis Power and Light Company, NIPSCO and Vectren) are giving back to their patrons on an immense scale. Participating energy companies have had conservation programs included in customers’ bills, and now those customers have an opportunity to reap those benefits.
“Approximately 80 percent of utilities customers in the state are on utilities that are participating in the program that covers all customer classes,” Nuss says.
FIVE COST-FREE PROGRAMS
Energizing Indiana provides five cost-free programs for residential customers or businesses. One program has benefited over 300 businesses with commercial and industrial rebate incentives that reward businesses that have invested in efficient heating, cooling, lighting, and major appliances. The remaining programs assess utility usage in homes, streamlining residential energy consumption and home weatherization efforts. With the goal to service 48,000 homes, Energizing Indiana has been proactive in engaging nonprofit organizations. According to Jessica Nuss, one of seven community outreach coordinators, the group enrolled 1,000 homes in April. (Editor’s note: Jessica Nuss is Bob Nuss’ daughter.)
ENERGY WON’T LAST FOREVER
“This program is unlike any other,” says Bishop Carl J. Mimms III, 48, who has served at The Freedom Tabernacle of Praise for the past nine years. “It’s a program that really helps people, and I like helping people and that appealed to me.” Mimms learned of Energizing Indiana at a monthly Inter-denominational Minister Alliance meeting. “For every person who takes part in the Energizing Indiana program, we donate $25
^ photo by mark lee
to the nonprofit,” Jessica Nuss explains. The amount of funding that the nonprofit organization earns grows along with the demand. “Our first check was fifty dollars, because we signed up only two people when we began,” Mimms says. “Our second check is $675, and it’s going to keep increasing because we are constantly getting people to sign up for the service.” The Freedom Tabernacle of Praise is comprised of people living on fixed income, according to Mimms. He says his congregation feels they are able to give more to the church by participating in the program. “I would advise everyone to become a part of this program,” Elice Stowers, a 56-year-old stay at home mother and wife who has been with The Freedom Tabernacle for four years, says. Beyond giving Stowers nine efficient florescent light bulbs and replacing her faucet heads, Energizing Indiana gave her an insight into which appliances were driving up her energy bill. “It was informative. Had [the Energizing Indiana representative] not come in, I wouldn’t have known about the refrigerator,” Stowers says. “Then to note what was needed around our house; I’m an older lady, I would have never got up on a ladder and looked into the attic to see that we needed more insulation.” If her family qualifies, Stowers may also be able to take advantage of the Income Qualified Weatherization program Energizing Indiana provides. People are much more likely to trust their pastor rather than a stranger, Jessica Nuss notes. If you are interested in utilizing the Energizing Indiana initiative, you can call 1-800-446-7750 or visit their website, energizingindiana.com. ILG
Want to install a rain garden? Fall Creek Watershed Partnership
YOUR GUIDE TO THE BACKYARD CONSERVATION PROGRAM
• Site evaluation to determine the best options for your property • Written conservation plan outlining best management practices (BMPs) for your yard • Lists of resources for installing and maintaining your BMPs • Possible financial assistance within the designated Watershed area • Education through workshops, literature and demonstration areas
For more information contact:
Leslie White Backyard Conservation Coordinator PHONE: (317) 773-2181 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
college activism by Christa Braun
Protecting ourselves by protecting our bats Bats, like most wild animals, prefer to avoid interactions with humans. Only in certain cases, such as when they become trapped indoors or disoriented by disease, do bats sustain any contact with humans. While bats are occasionally dangerous to humans, we can also be dangerous to bats. Not all bats live in caves. Some roost in trees all throughout the state. As we tear down trees and move into forested areas, bats lose their own homes. Bats who lose their homes or become disoriented may then invade our houses. Destroying habitats without offering an alternative creates tension between humans and wildlife. As long as we continue to change and move into their territory, we put these creatures at risk. Bats can consume hundreds of insects in one night, but they
the use of pesticide. Many families involve their children in bat preservation by building bat houses. If you want to protect the bats but do not want to become deeply involved, a small donation can be made to organizations such as Bat Conversation International. Before bat conservation can be effective, however, we must change our attitudes towards bats. Teaching others to respect these night-flying animals can save their lives. Our protectors are under attack from disease. White nose syndrome, named because of the white fungus that grows on infected bats, is spreading rapidly across the United States. This disease is not yet understood, and it has already killed more than a million bats. Scientists believe the disease causes bats to wake more often during hibernation, depleting their winter reserves and resulting in starvation. A cure has not yet been discovered, and the problem is so severe that Congress has taken an interest in the research. Scientists believe the disease may be spreading in two ways; from bat to bat, and by humans who visit both infected and uninfected caves. Many of the caves have been closed in Indiana due to this problem, but the closings are sometimes ignored by the public. If you plan on visiting any state parks this summer, please obey any cave closings. Information about cave closures can be found on the DNR website. Bats benefit humans when we live in harmony together, but our current attitude and actions are endangering many bats. We must keep in mind that by protecting bats we are protecting ourselves.
Personally, I prefer bats in the sky to combat the millions of insects that are born every year. also fertilize plants and spread seeds. Many of the bats in the United States function as natural insecticides, protecting both people and crops from destructive and disease-spreading bugs. Most people may not realize it, but bats are also the only consistent predator of insects that emerge at night. Personally, I prefer bats in the sky to combat the millions of insects that are born every year. We can protect ourselves by protecting the bats. In general, bats as well as other wild animals can be protected by a reduction in
Christa Braun is currently enrolled as a senior at IUPUI, and she has a passion for writing and animals. ILG
sierra club by Bowden Quinn
Binfords Farmers Market Saturday, July 7 9:00am-12:00pm Abundant Harvest UMC Saturday, July 14 8:30am-12:00pm Millersville Cafe Market at Fall Creek Valley
A cleaner environment. A stronger workforce.
Thursday, July 19 5:00pm-8:00pm Whole Foods- Carmel Saturday, July 21 11:00am-1:00pm
“Rush Hour Recycling”
Check Facebook for details
754 N. Sherman Dr. Indianapolis, IN 46201
Saturday, July 28 9:00am-12:00pm
Tel: 317.532.1367 www.RecycleForce.org
Residential electricity customers in Illinois paid an average of 11.52 cents per kilowatt hour in 2010, about 20 percent more than we paid here in Indiana. You’d think their electric bills must be more of a burden on the household budget, right? Well, not so much. The average monthly residential bill in Illinois that year was $92.03, more than $9 cheaper than the Indiana household average of $101.79. Why the difference? The average Illinois household uses much less electricity—799 kilowatt hours a month—than the average Hoosier home at 1,065 kWh a month. Are Illinoisans that much better at energy saving than we are—turning off lights whenever they leave a room, using the air conditioner only on the hottest days? Not likely. While several factors may contribute to the difference, the houses themselves are probably part of the reason. Buildings account for about 39 percent of total energy consumption in this country. A little more than half of that amount is used by residential buildings. States have known for many years that they can reduce per capita energy consumption by requiring better buildings. This means not just more efficient lights, water heaters and furnaces, but also making a tighter envelope that reduces air flow between the inside and outside. For a long time Indiana lagged behind most other states in requiring energy efficient buildings. We had codes that were many years out of date. Recently that changed because of a federal requirement. We adopted a better code for commercial buildings in 2010, and
this year we got a new code for residential buildings. Unfortunately, we are in danger of falling behind again. Model energy codes are revised every three years, and each new code is a substantial improvement over the previous one. Our residential (one- and two-family dwellings) energy code is based on the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code, which is about 15 percent more efficient than the 2006 version. Now the 2012 version is out, and it will result in another 15 percent improvement. In 2009 Illinois passed a law that requires adoption of the latest code, so next year houses built in that state will save even more energy. We don’t have automatic updates in Indiana. It required a directive from Governor Mitch Daniels (and that federal man-
Unfortunately, we are in danger of falling behind again.
date) to get the state building commission to adopt the recent codes. Without the mandate, which was a one-time requirement of the Recovery Act, the commission is likely to return to its old ways of ignoring energy efficiency. It will probably take action from enlightened public officials in the Statehouse, either the governor’s office or the General Assembly, to keep us on the path to lower energy bills. Meanwhile, if you are in the market for a brand-new house, you might want to check if the builder complied with the 2009 code. Consumers Union has a checklist of what to look for available at: ourgreenenergyfuture.org.
thought for food by Adam Moody
What the hell
happened? part 2
Expires July 30, 2012
In our last episode in April, we were left in a decimated rural town in Indiana laid waste by the exodus of diversified farms that were rotating crops and had integrated livestock production on pasture. I promised to shed some light on the issue with life from the soil! Well here we go. Bear with me as this may be a reach for some. As you know if you were to plant a seed in the ground in February in Indiana it would not grow as there are conditions required to germinate the life in that seed to pop it into action. Unless the temperature is right, the moisture is right and the length of day is right it won’t make a go of it. Why is this? God, Mother Nature or evolution, which ever your fancy, knows even if it did germinate the conditions are not right to survive. Pretty simple, right? As I have witnessed the exodus mentioned above from our farming communities, I have also noticed an anthropological phenomenon that until now has never “germinated” as the conditions were never right. I believe as humans we have a need to be attached to the soil if not directly through gardening or farming, then by hiking, camping, hunting etc. Even knowing a farmer who loves his soil and animals pollinates a dusting of satisfaction on this yearning. When reduced to its simplest form this need is a form of the strongest force of all mankind. This being the hope and potential of the simple life. Don’t believe it? Why are you reading a publication such as this? Why are farmer markets so cool? But the most compelling argument of all is why is it you meet plenty of lawyers who
would love to be farmers, but you’ve never met a farmer who wanted to be a lawyer? Let me give a hint. It’s not the money! It’s the soil, man! It’s just our nature to be around our nature and whether you believe in creation from God or evolution, both paradigms concur that man came from dirt and to dirt we will return. “Oh Moody, you’re too far out in the weeds here!” Well to quote the great American theologian William Joel “… you may be right. I may be crazy!” But I just may be the lunatic farmer you’re looking for. I might be your umbilical cord that will satisfy your longing to the dirt. Grow a tomato plant this spring. Go to a farmer market (an urban pollination station) and talk to a farmer and you will feel this energy that I am speaking of. Watch his eyes sparkle as he tells of how he had to help a cow give birth during a thunderstorm at 2 a.m. in the pasture.
I just may be the lunatic farmer you’re looking for.
This energy is true. It’s real. You can sense it in the spring and smell it in the first warm thunderstorm. It’s the hope and potential of the return of life. It’s been right underneath us all along. P.S. The deep lines ingrained in a farmer’s face aren’t really from the sun, the cold, and the wind. We have them surgically applied to make you all jealous! What’ll really chap your lips is the surgery is covered by the USDA! Adam Moody owns and operates a 200-acre sustainable farm in Montgomery County, Indiana, and is the founder and CEO of Moody Butcher Shops in Ladoga, Avon and Zionsville.
hoosier environmental council by Tim Maloney
The state of Indiana’s forests “In the late 1700s, settlers reaching a crest of the Wilderness Road in a notch of the Cumberlands stood blinking into the western light across the greatest deciduous forest that ever was.” ROBERT O. PETTY PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGY WABASH COLLEGE, 1959-1982
Indiana’s forests are known worldwide for the high quality hardwood lumber they produce. Countries as far away as Turkey and Vietnam buy our forest products. But there are many other reasons why our forests should be valued, restored and well-managed. According to 2011 forest inventory analysis data compiled by the U.S. Forest Service, about 21 percent of Indiana is forested, equating to 4.8 million acres. Of this area less than 2,000 acres remain of old growth woods that escaped the ax. Contrast this with the 20 million acres of forestland that covered Indiana prior to European settlement, and with the less than 2 million acres remaining at the beginning of the 20th century after agricultural clearing and uncontrolled logging ravaged our landscape. Due to modern forestry practices, public and private land conservation efforts, and tree replanting on small and large scales, Indiana forestlands have rebounded and today are fairly stable in total area. Yet thoughtless development on the edges of our urban areas, needless new highway construction,
forth a series of conservation and policy strategies intended to address these priority forest issues. Indiana is part of the central hardwood forest ecosystem, stretching from the Appalachians to the Ozarks to southern Wisconsin. Within this vast region is a great diversity of forest communities — the oak savanna near Lake Michigan, the beech-maple-oak flatwoods that once blanketed central Indiana, the oak-hickory stands in the uplands of south-central Indiana, the dry limestone glades in Indiana’s karst region, and the oft flooded bottomland woods of maple, ash, hickory and oak along the Wabash, White and Patoka rivers. Before our forests were cleared, cougar, black bear, woodland bison and elk roamed the woods. Today, these large mammals are gone, but Indiana’s forests still provide invaluable habitat for hundreds of fish and wildlife species. Among these are common animals such as whitetail deer and wild turkey; songbirds, raptors, woodpeckers, waterfowl and wading birds; box turtles and salamanders; fox and coyote; as well as rare and endangered species such as the timber rattlesnake, cerulean warbler, Indiana bat, and hellbender. Forests protect our watersheds, replenish our soils, shade and nourish our streams and absorb carbon dioxide. The value of these ecosystem services is virtually incalculable. And forests’ role in carbon sequestration clearly warrants added attention to the fate of Indiana’s forestlands, given global concern over climate change. There is much agreement between foresters, forest industry officials, environmentalists and others about the need to conserve, sustainably manage and restore Indiana’s forestlands for the many benefits they provide. But forest management practices on public forests like Yellowwood and Morgan-Monroe State Forests and the Hoosier National Forest capture public attention and create controversy. Many Hoosiers disapprove of logging public lands, and believe these forests — which comprise just 16 percent of Indiana’s total forest area — are more appropriately left protected as unmanaged ecosystems, as habitat for mature forest-dependent wildlife, and for outdoor recreation. However, disagreements over public land timber harvests should not get in the way of cooperation among preservationists, conservationists, loggers, hunters, birdwatchers, cabinet makers and just plain forest lovers to address the many priority issues facing our Indiana forests.
Forests protect our watersheds, replenish our soils, shade and nourish our streams and absorb carbon dioxide. clearing for agricultural drainage and a few rogue logging companies continue to cause localized forest loss and fragmentation. The 2010 Indiana Statewide Forest Assessment compiled by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources identified the top threats to the state’s forestland and examined in detail the factors that contribute to forest loss and degradation. In the assessment’s survey of woodland owners, resource professionals, and other stakeholders, fragmentation/ conversion of forestland to other uses was identified as the most important Indiana forest issue. In order, the next three most important issues were conservation and maintenance of soil and water resources, the spread and control of invasive species and conservation of biodiversity. In followup, the Indiana DNR and stakeholders produced the Indiana Statewide Forest Strategy which sets
Tim Maloney is the senior policy director for the Hoosier Environmental Council, and serves on the Indiana Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee which advises the Indiana DNR on forest issues. ILG
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GREEN BIZ with Harding Poorman Group
Green powered Not much falls through the cracks at Indianapolis commercial printer Harding Poorman Group (HPG) when it comes to recycling. Office paper, beverage containers, cardboard, metal, electronics, plastics, aluminum printing plates and paper (and lots of it) is collected, separated and set aside for pick-up by various vendors, as frequently as five times a week. From 2008, when the company launched its recycling program, HPG’s waste to landfill has decreased by at least 70 percent per year. In recent months that figure has been as high as 76 percent. That’s a number that David Harding, HPG’s chairman and CEO, is proud of, and the company’s active green team are equally proud of their record on energy use. One of the first Indiana businesses to be recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for purchasing 100-percent green power, HPG remains on the EPA’s list of top 20 purchasers of green power among commercial printers and packaging companies in the U.S. HPG also is a member of the agency’s Green Power Leadership Club. While the cost of green power jacks up the electric bill by as much as 20 percent, Harding says the goodwill that it buys among clients, community and employees is priceless. “It’s the right thing to do, and the payback is significant. It’s something our employees want. When we ask for volunteers, by far, more than anything else we do, they get involved in the green efforts,” Harding says. “Our staff is really passionate about environmental issues.”
According to Shelley Johnson, account manager and green team chair, the group began implementing what she describes as the simple fixes: recycling office paper, encouraging employees to bring in their home recycling if they didn’t have a service, replacing throwaway polystyrene cups with ceramic mugs. “Everyone got a Harding Poorman mug of their own.” They began replacing lights with low-energy bulbs, and eventually replaced all warehouse lights and installed motion-sensor fixtures in conference rooms, restrooms, and other locations. They removed the paper-towel dispensers in the restrooms and installed hand-dryers.
One of the first major steps was purchasing green power from Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL). In a state in which coal powers more than 90 percent of electricity, IPL is increasingly turning to renewable energy sources, now mostly from Indiana wind farms. IPL allows residential and business customers to purchase renewable energy at increments as low as 10 percent for a nominal premium. [See page 15] The EPA website, www.epa.gov/greenpower, maintains a list of companies nationwide that 24
By Betsy Sheldon
purchase some renewable energy. In addition, viewers can find a list of companies that purchase 100-percent green power. According to Harding, HPG’s green team proposed that the company buy a percentage of its electrical power from a green source. He recalls his response when the group presented the idea: “What the heck, let’s just do it all green.” Currently, that amounts to more than 4 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually. That translates to an avoidance of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions equivalent to operating 890 passenger vehicles per year, or powering more than 600 average American homes annually. The amount of power that the company uses a year doesn’t raise an eyebrow from Shelley Johnson. “We’re a printing company,” she says. “We use a lot of energy.”
Paper is another resource the company uses a lot of. And water. And plastic. And cardboard. But at HPG, a comprehensive recycling and waste-prevention program goes a long way not only in shrinking the amount of waste, but turning the traditional wasteto-recycle ratio upside down, recycling three times as much material as it discards. “We even recycle the water used in the solutions on press,” Harding says. “We have a closedloop, reuse and recycle system, so waste is not sent into the septic system.” Further, he says, the process uses low-VOC soy inks, reducing air emissions to the extent that the company The Green Team (top) and some of the no longer is required to maintain an air permit. “And green things they do. our inks are recycled, not sent to landfills.” He notes that HPG reduces other waste generated by the printing process, including shrink-wrap, metal bands from Business to Business Implementing green practices in a the skids, the metal printer plates and more. business isn’t difficult, says David Harding adds that the benefits to the compaHarding, as long as you have a plan and follow some important guideny are much more than a “feel-good” gesture. In lines. He offers these tips: 2011, it added $233,000 in revenue. “Recycling is 1. Involve the employees. Create a not only good for the planet, it’s very beneficial green team. You’ll be surprised at the passion. to the bottom line and should be considered a profit center by any business.” 2. Work with your local utility companies. Some will even give you HPG has taken other measures to lighten its rebates for energy-saving systems environmental footprint. The company is certiyou invest in. fied by all three paper industry certifications: 3. Keep statistics and share them. This will build momentum. Track Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Sustainable reduction of waste to landfills, utilForestry Initiative (SFI), and Program for the ity usage, and money gained from recycling efforts. Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). This ensures clients that the paper has been 4. Start with the “low hanging fruit” that saves money. There are a lot tracked from forest to paper mill to merchant to of quick and easy wins: substitute printer, and confirms that the wood fiber used ceramic mugs for toss-away coffee cups; replace lights with low-enis from forests that are carefully managed using ergy bulbs; install motion-sensor the best conservation methods. light fixtures in public places. “By sharing the metrics with staff on a regular 5. Promote. Print T-shirts for employees. Use lots of signage. basis, we build an even stronger culture of enviInclude accomplishments in the ronmental responsibility,” Harding says. “It makes company newsletter; let clients employees feel good. It creates a positive culture. know about your efforts. It’s truly a business success.”
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Ask A skk Re Renee Sweany, of Green Piece Indy, a question about living in an environmentally friendly way and get an eco-friendly answer! Green Piece Indy is now Ask Renee. Receive these green tips in your inbox twice a week when you subscribe to the newsletter through Indiana Living Green.
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GREEN READS A POCKET GUIDE TO PLANTS S & GARDENING By Elizabeth McCorquodale Black Dog Publishing $14.95
INDY BIKE POLO Sundays at noon, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. Arsenal Park, Indianapolis, Ind. Polo + bikes = eco-friendly fun. Summer matches take place Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. and Sundays at noon at 46th Street and Haverford Road — or, in case of inclement weather, at 12th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. New players are invited to take part, as equipment is shared, but it also makes for a great spectator sport for the faint of heart. The friendly games offer another way to get some exercise without realizing it. Check out the Facebook page for updates and announcements. indybikepolo.org
ANGOLA BALLOONS ALOFT July 6-7 Angola, Ind. Traveling by airplane is not very green, especially compared to hot air balloons and dirigibles. This event will include competitions between balloon pilots as well as remote controlled aerial displays, skydiving, food, children’s activities and all the fun you can handle! This year, Angola Balloons Aloft will also showcase “special shaped balloons.” AngolaBalloonsAloft@gmail.com
INDIANA LEAD-SAFE & HEALTHY HOMES TASK FORCE MEETING July 12 USDA Rural Development Conference Room, Indianapolis, Ind. Are you concerned about the environmental health of your home and the homes of others? Join the Indiana Lead-Safe and Healthy Homes Task Force in connecting with healthy homes advocates, housing professionals and state and local government professionals who are working together to improve children’s environmental health in Indiana. Agenda will be posted on the website prior to the meeting. ikecoalition.org/healthyhomestaskforce
WABASH RIVERFEST July 14 Tapawingo Park, West Lafayette, Ind. Come enjoy the scenic banks of the Wabash River for a free, family-friendly celebration of this
beautiful natural resource. Entertainment provided by SAMI and the Dulcimer Gathering. Free pony rides for children will be sponsored by Henry Poor Lumber and Columbia Park Zoo. Canoe races will go throughout the day, as well as an officially-timed 5K race sponsored by the Tippecanoe County Partnership for Water Quality. email@example.com
CIRCUS CITY FESTIVAL July 14-21 Peru, Ind. Celebrate lavish and exciting circus heritage with amateur circus artists in a three-ring circus arena, topped off with a massive parade. Expect the unexpected with spectacular acts of courage and prowess, plus rides, food and family fun all week long! firstname.lastname@example.org
CLARK COUNTY OHIO RIVER AND SILVER CREEK SWEEP July 21. 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Charlottestown, Ind. and Clarksville, Ind. Volunteers are invited to participate in the annual Clark County Ohio River and Silver Creek Sweep. Help clean up the banks of the Ohio River and Silver Creek in a day of responsible environmental stewardship. Scouts, civic organizations, families, and individuals are encouraged to come. Volunteers will be provided with gloves, trash bags, bottled water, a free 2012 ORSANCO t-shirt and free admission to the Falls of the Ohio Interpretive Center. Check in stations will be at Falls of the Ohio State Park, Ashland Park, Lapping Park, and Charlestown State Park. (812) 283-8233- press 3
BIGGEST BLOCK PARTY EVER! July 28 Columbus, Ind. We like a festival with an exclamation point, and we think Columbus is an amazing town, so ergo: we pick it! Some of the most mindful stewards of the planet live and work in Columbus and the surrounding area, so come and rub your elbows with your green compatriots. The block party features all the good stuff: food, beer, wine and music, including The Why Store and Denise Kocur. artsincolumbus.org/caac
As the name suggests, this totable book is the perfect pocket guide to all things garden related. It has easy to reference illustrations for on-thespot questions, and these handy drawings cover everything from types of twigs to tree rings. It is reminiscent of a science textbook, but with a much more visually alluring twist. In addition to the extensive illustrations, the information in it is precise and to the point for the busy gardener and outdoorsman. Quick facts are highlighted and keep the pace of the book quick and light. In the beginning, one of these highlights informs the reader that “Without plants there would be no us.” Such a concise statement reminds the reader that we may harness nature into our gardens but do not really control it. McCorquodale gives advice on how to safely maintain plants, most importantly on how to coexist rather than dominate our beloved plants and gardens. Mostly, this is a fun, immensely interesting read that lends repeatable tidbits such as, “Some seeds can remain viable for several hundred years.” Who knew? — OLIVIA MCPHERSON
SPEAK TO THE EARTH By Rachel Peden Indiana University Press $19.95
e Rachel Peden, 1901-1975, experienced the life of a farm wife with a knowing heart. She recognized the hard realities of making a living off the land while savoring the rewards of connecting with the hornet that built its home of paper; the indigenous plants that popped up in a well-tended garden, stayed a season and moved elsewhere; the possum gathering leaves onto her tail, curling it and carrying the load to build a nest. Peden shares observations along with opinions and humor with honesty. She’s poetic and blunt, as the need arises, to make her point as she carries us through a year of observations beginning with: “The February day was ending in a cold sunset ... a dazzling silver disc in a gray muslin sky … ” to “It is June and the wheat is ripening … The morning light is blue and gold, the color of contentment … ” The insightful foreword by Scott Russell Sanders and inviting drawings by Sidonie Coryn are lovely companions for this collection of brief essays. It is best savored slowly, read aloud in companionship with another or alone, for the sheer pleasure of hearing voice give flight to well-crafted prose. More at iupress.indiana.edu. — RITA KOHN ILG
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Geist Farmers’ Market Come visit us starting May 3rd Thursday 2:30 - 6:30 p.m. Holy Cross Lutheran Church 8115 Oaklandon Rd. geistfarmersmarket.com
Offering retail sales of cloth diapers and accessories, gift sets, baby slings, and natural parenting products. We provide oneon-one diaper consultations, local workshops, and on-line gift registries.
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The Children’s House Montessori Preschool founded in 1971 A classical education through Unique atmosphere, vendors individual instruction in an atpoguesrungrocer.org and producers mosphere free of competition. An Indy Food Co-op store, North United Methodist Church Pogue’s Run Grocer is a full- Contact us at 317-253-3033 or localharvest.org/heartland- 38th and Meridian thechildrenshouseindianapolis.com Olry Photography service natural and organic Thursdays 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. family-farm-M9428 Eco-Friendly Wedding, Engage- grocery featuring affordable, Opens June 2 ment & Event Photographers fresh, healthy, and locally- Gardening Services Farmers’ Markets Proud to be certified members produced products. Holistic dog shampoos, deof Greener Photography’s odorizing spritzers, paw balm. Leadership Circle Community Handcrafted products containing aromatherapy oils and vitaolryphotography.com mins. Woodsy or herbal blend. NO TOXINS. firstname.lastname@example.org Pet Esoteric Healing with Lynne Hirschman. Remote 30-minute sessions allow your pet to receive treatment without leaving home. Since 1998. Call 317-205-9020.
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Health & Wellness SUSAN CLEARWATER, RN HOLISTIC NURSE PRACTITIONER & HERBALIST offering help for a wide range of health issues. Specializing in mood problems (anxiety, depression, bipolar, ADHD), women’s health & menopause, digestion, respiratory problems, boosting immunity to reduce colds & flu, counseling, Buy Fresh, Buy Local body work, and much more. Starting on May 1st Open Saturday from 8:00 am Call for appointment: to Noon 812-335-0640. 11501 East Washington Street Center for Wholism at 2401 N. town.cumberland.in.us Walnut St, Bloomington, IN. Relief from Chronic Pain Manual Therapies including craniosacral work. Serving clients since 1985. Lynne Hirschman, MS, PT. 317-205-9020.
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THE PANIQuiz 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. What do Ohio’s “pooling” laws give drillers the right to do?
6. What is the name of a new app that depicts climate change?
a. Take any opposition to court and sue. b. Drill without landowner’s permission. c. Pool their resources to overcome environmentalists. d. Drill pools for summer enjoyment. e. Use the phrase “drill baby drill” without needing to pay royalties.
a. Fragile Earth. b. Persnickety Planet. c. Appocalypse Now. d. Apocalypse, Interrupted. e. Apocalypse Now.
2. Why may the amount of plastic in the oceans be vastly underestimated? a. Scientists were being conservative. b. The plastics industry manipulated the numbers. c. Wind pushes lightweight particles below the surface. d. Sun on the ocean surface blinds scientists. e. Wishful thinking.
3. What major announcement did Burger King make? a. French fries are good for you. b. It will only use chickens and pigs that are cage-free. c. It will stop serving meat by 2020. d. It will eliminate all BPA from their packaging. e. It’s going to transgender into Burger Queen.
4. On Earth Day in Indiana, what did a woman do when she saw another woman littering? a. Stopped and punched her. b. Picked up the litter and recycled it. c. Wept. d. Shot her. e. Made her eat the litter.
5. What, according to new research, is created by wind farms?
7. According to climate change skeptics, what will cancel out the rise in temperature? a. Natural cycles. b. The strength of their beliefs. c. Increased rainfall. d. Less regulations. e. Clouds.
8. In the U.S., who seems to get the brunt of polluted air? a. Disadvantaged kids. b. Kids who breathe. c. Those without respirators. d. Everybody. e. Only subjects of research studies.
9. To what do researchers attribute the drop in support for cutting greenhouse gas emissions? a. Low IQ among those polled. b. People fear they will be fined for farting. c. People unwilling to stop driving their SUVs. d. Cleverly worded questions. e. Republican distrust of environmental scientists.
10. What is significant about the last twelve months? a. Nothing, it’s been lame. b. Warmest ever recorded. c. I didn’t die! d. A drop in CO2 emissions. e. You didn’t die!
a. Bird smithereens. b. Piercing headaches. c. Electromagnetic radiation. d. Warming air. e. Crops of wind.
A S K RENEE
Got a question for Renee? email@example.com
Q: I hear urban
chickens are popular these days. Is this legal? Is it cheaper to get eggs from your own chickens? No need to get your feathers in a ruffle over having chickens in the big city. There are no city ordinances that ban chickens, only rules prohibiting “swine, a horse, pony, mule, donkey, jackass or llama.” I just got chickens this spring. Believe it or not, I won a coop in the Tour de Coops raffle last fall! This is an event hosted by Nap Town Chickens, and a great way to spend a day if you’re considering backyard chickens (www.naptownchickens.org). I can’t say we’ve saved money on eggs. We’re getting 1-2 daily from four hens. Feed and other supplies can add up (~$20/month), not to mention tending to chickens is one extra chore during the day, but it’s loads of fun. Just like with growing your own vegetables, your food travels a shorter distance to your plate and you know exactly how it was grown.
Is it more green to use the air conditioner or run fans? That’s a loaded question, so my loaded answer is: It depends. There are lots of factors to consider including your room/house size, efficiency of equipment, your heat tolerance, your priorities, and more. A fan uses less energy, but it might not always provide the same cooling result as central air. If you truly want to go the greenest route, here are a few things to try: Cool your room to the desired temp, then use a fan with the windows shut to see if you can maintain comfort. If a fan doesn’t quite do the trick, try an energyefficient window AC unit to cool the rooms where you sleep and/or spend the most time. Be sure to keep blinds closed to prevent the sun from raising the ambient temperature. Consider installing an Indiana-made solar attic fan (if it makes sense for the size and style of your home). Don’t use your oven on extremely hot days. For me, I choose windows open with ceiling fans until I simply can’t stand it anymore. It helps to have well-placed awnings and trees, a love of hot weather, and a die-hard commitment to being green. That said, come August, you may hear the whir of the AC fan. Editor’s note: Renee Sweany’s Green Piece Indy has merged with Indiana Living Green, and now lives under the “Ask Renee” moniker. We are in the process of moving her vast archival materials to indianalivinggreen.com. Renee will continue to send out two newsletters per week, with a similar format of delivering great green information — and answering your questions. Please go to our web site to sign up for the Ask Renee newsletter. ILG
Correct Answers: 1 (b): Drill without landowner’s permission. (AP); 2. (c): Wind pushes lightweight particles below the surface. (ScienceDaily); 3. (b): It will only use chickens and pigs that are cage-free. (AP); 4. (a): Stopped and punched her. (Muncie Star Press); 5. (d): Warming air (Reuters); 6. (a): Fragile Earth. (Reuters); 7. (e): Clouds (New York Times); 8. (a): Disadvantaged kids. (Huffington Post); 9. (e): Republican distrust of environmental scientists. (USA Today); 10. (b): Warmest ever recorded. (Washington Post).
THE LAST ROW
WITH MARIA SMIETANA
I owe it all to
J.I., Mother Earth and Rosie
“So how did you learn farming?” I am frequently asked. I always gulp, because the answer is rather long-winded. My folks were partly to blame for what I know. They were both avid gardeners, although Dad was more inclined to fuss over grandiflora roses, while my mother tended toward growing produce to put on the dinner table. Garden chores were therefore an integral part of the childhood summers I shared with my younger siblings. A biology degree added academic rigor to the hands-on experience, and gave me an understanding of plants’ dark and dirty secrets, known otherwise as physiology and genetics. In truth, though, most of what I know about cultivating plants comes from a dead guy named J.I., a magazine called Mother Earth News and a gal named Rosie. The latter two are very much alive, I’m happy to say. From them, I learned the practical how-to’s of soil conservation, healthy crop production and the control of undesirables — weeds, insect pests, and diseases. J.I. of course, is Jerome Irving Rodale, founder of Organic Gardening magazine, among many other publications. In its early days, this little journal was as much political as horticultural, and judging by letters to the editor, the current readership is still about evenly split as to whether the modern iteration of Organic Gardening has sold out its creator or simply mellowed with time so as not to alienate the other half of its readership. I don’t take sides. As much as I love radicals, I can’t complain that today’s OG editors are filling the pages with solid articles on the new30
est eggplant hybrids or the best way to propagate chives. The advice is easy to follow, and at a couple dozen bucks per year, is something I can afford even on a farmer’s budget. Mother Earth News has the same devotion to sustainability as Organic Gardening, though it covers a wider range of topics. If I’m in need of clever ways to make recycled garden structures or a cheap method to capture solar heat, I’m likely to get help from Mother. But even the best published advice can’t match what I learned from Rosie, whom I met through Indiana Organic Gardeners, a lively club dedicated to the advancement of chemical-free gardens and a well-fed membership. Rosie is a retired schoolteacher. Her Facebook page slyly claims she’s 107, though she looks about 60 and is likely upwards of 70. Rosie has always said she “yardens” rather than “gardens,” and her lawn-free urban plot in a charming historic neighborhood on Indy’s near-southside is solid proof, miniature frog pond and all. Among many other things, Rosie taught me not to plant my new raspberry patch near wild blackberries. Since both are members of the rose family, disease can spread easily from one to the other. Who knew? The most valuable trick I got from Rosie is called solarization, a process that involves spreading large sheets of plastic across planting beds in late winter. The trapped solar heat kills overwintering weeds and their seeds, giv-
ing crops a clean head start when the plastic is taken up in spring. Though I haven’t told Rosie, I’ve found that less time with weeds means more time with a good glass of wine, which is not a bad trade-off. Then there’s Rosie’s “tricky grandma” lesson. It starts with the so-called tomato hornworm, a green caterpillar that devours tomato plants. Worse yet, it resembles tomato leaves and stems so closely that it’s a real effort to find it. Turns out the grower has an ally, though, in the form of a tiny wasp of the genus Trichogramma. In one of nature’s more spectacularly gruesome adaptations, the wasps lay their eggs
“Rosie has always said she ‘yardens’ rather than ‘gardens.’ ”
over the surface of the hornworm. The resulting wasp larvae, whose bright white cocoons now make the hornworm easy to spot, feed on its insides, leaving the shriveled, dead hornworm behind. The wasps then emerge from their cocoons and go on to inflict the same punishment on adjacent hornworms. Rosie thinks that such resourcefulness is worth remembering. Trichogramma, she says, can easily be recalled as “tricky grandma.” Rosie should know. When it comes to garden lore, she may well be the trickiest (and wisest) grandma of them all.
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