Thoughts About Renewable Energy Day

IFCL members Ed Morris and Phil Goodchild share information with people attending Renewable Energy Day.

Renewable Energy Day at the Indiana Statehouse hosted by Solar United Neighbors, and co-sponsored by a wide swath of the environmental community: Earth Charter Indiana, Hoosier Environmental Council, Faith in Place, and Citizen’s Action Coalition and many others was held February 13, 2024 .

Friends Ed Morris , Phil and Deb Goodchild shared a table with Solar Energy Solutions and met several people who were interested in IFCL and Quakers concern about creation care.

Those interactions included a young lawyer of color from northeast Indiana who works for better public policy for disadvantaged populations, who had come to see how the “sausage is made” at the Statehouse and was interested in IFCL’s handouts and our website. Another encounter was with an elementary school teacher at The Oaks Academy in Indy who wanted to learn more about a faith-based group’s approach to environmental issues because her 5th graders are so fearful about our planet’s future.  

One of the goals of Renewable Energy Day is to engage with one’s elected officials. Ed was able to offer support to Representative Carey Hamilton and Senator Fady Qaddoura during a difficult short session.  Carey’s HB1193 for Community Solar never got a hearing nor was she able to get any Republican legislators to sign on to the bill.  Ed briefly met with Senator Qaddoura to express his concern for Fady’s family in the West Bank as Fady is a graduate of Ramallah Friends School. Phil and Deb Goodchild and neighbors were able to have a fruitful discussion about renewable energy with their representative, Becky Cash. Phil quickly sent a follow up email thanking Representative Cash for her time and gave her additional resources about HB1193 and programs available to Hoosiers who want to invest in energy efficient products.

The importance of enabling all Hoosiers to have access to clean, renewable energy was reinforced today as I read, Not the End of the World: How We Can Be the First Generation to Build a Sustainable Planet, by Hannah Ritchie.   Dr. Hannah Ritchie became overwhelmed with all the scary information that she was be surrounded with about climate change as she studied ecological science.  But as a data scientist, she started to dig into the data and really understand where we are and where we are headed. She skillfully reviews our human history and impacts that humans have had on the environment. Not only have we created many of the problems that exist, she tells how dedicated people from all over the world have solved some huge problems.  Remember acid rain from the 1980s? Fixed by adding scrubbers to remove sulfur dioxide from coal-fired powered smokestacks.  Remember the hole in the Antarctic ozone layer? The 1987 Montreal Protocol got the world to phase out ozone depleting fluorocarbons and ozone has decreased by 99.7%.  It will take until 2050 to completely restore the hole over the Antarctic, but tremendous change has happened.

Dr. Ritchie writes, “Environmental action is often framed as at odds with the economy. It’s either climate action or economic growth. Pollution versus the market. This is just wrong. Countries have slashed air pollution while growing their economies at the same time. Lower pollution, better health and a stronger economy? That sounds like the perfect sales pitch to me.”

Later in the book she states, “Now we’re going to look at what we can do to take climate change. For this to make sense, we have to accept two things: climate change is happening, and human emissions of greenhouse gases are responsible.”

Last Sunday at First Friends, we hosted a SOUPer Bowl lunch featuring vegetarian soups to raise awareness about the benefits of a plant-based diet. Friend Ed shared that not everyone must become vegetarian, but decreasing the amount of beef in the diet is an important act for Creation Care. His statement was reinforced with another passage from the book.

“What we think is effective in cutting our carbon footprint often isn’t. Actions such as giving up a car, eating a more plant-based diet, reducing flights or switching to an electric vehicle are most effective in cutting our personal carbon footprint.  … But surveys across 21,000 adults in 30 countries showed that people think actions such as recycling and upgrading light bulbs were among the top 3 most effective.”

Join me for an inaugural meeting of the IFCL book club as we read Not the End of the World, for an hour each week at 7:00 PM by Zoom.  Look for an email where we can choose the best date to start.  Get ready for Earth Day on April 22 to share that we can make a difference for our beloved home!