{MAY 2008}GrassrootsAction & GreenEvents Calendar & related notices

GrassrootsAction & GreenEvents Calendar & related notices

{MAY 2008} events - Table of Contents:

*Special Notices -
*New Local Eco News outlets - Radio, Print & Net
*New Green Media Lab @ the Caldwell Eco Center - call for help
*Upcoming episodes of INTERCHANGE on WFHB Community Radio
*10 acres of Marc Haggerty's property in path of proposed I-69 open to eco ideas


{Various/Multiple dates ~ Gardening Updates from Stephanie S. of MHC}
5/2 ~ Deadline to Register for Building Green: Affordable Housing Conference
5/2 ~ HECM Conselor Exam Preperation Webinar

'The water was black'

Rather than raking through the stacks at IDEM, I'm expanding my CSO or combined sewer overflow education by raking through Alternative editor Steven Higgs' file cabinet. Hopefully, my summarization of an article Steve wrote for IDEM in 2000 about the E. coli riddled Little Lick Creek in Hartford City (our next destination), will better prepare me, and others, for what to expect.

Reading the article, I learned something new right away. Not all strains of E. coli, a bacteria living in the intestines of warm-blooded animals, produce the same results. One of the more threatening strains, O157:H7, causes the bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps often associated with an E. coli infection. This strain and others are found in Little Lick Creek.

Three variables, according to the article, account for this strain in Little Lick: runoff from nearby agribusinesses, failing septic systems and, not surprisingly, untreated waste from CSOs.

Happy Mommy's Day, child abuser!

Written especially for all of us whose mothers were truly mothers (as in that compound word that begins with “mother” and is followed by a second word that begins with “f.”)

Well, it’s May 11, 2008, Mother’s Day. A day to get sentimental about Mother, celebrate fulsomely how our mother contributed so positively to our upbringing as children that she guaranteed our satisfaction and success as adults. But what my mother so fulsomely gave me through the way she raised me—and I’ll be brutally honest here— is simply a deep sense of regret at being born.

Protecting kids from the water

As we delve into combined sewer overflows or CSOs, (having everything to do again with poop, only now, from we humans) many of you are probably thinking, "Here we go again." I know I did.

But I've learned through the "Indiana Environment Revisited" project that one of the major environmental threats we're up against is the export of human and animal waste. And while other looming threats like the pending coal plant in Edwardsport or the construction of I-69 have nothing to do with what comes from our bodies, one major connection tying these and many environmental movements together is water.

The mercury from coal plants, the destruction of Indiana's wetlands by I-69 and the contaminants from CAFOs and CSOs all threaten our water, the most important natural resource on Earth.

As this is our only "Indiana Environment Revisited" piece this issue, it looks like it's up to me, for the moment, to explain the threat of CSOs and why anyone should care, as I am learning them from the Improving Kids' Environments (IKE) Website.


A good-natured dig at my friend Jim Wolfe, who gets carried away at times with his religious earnestness--GF

Jim Wolfe, who just recently became past President of the Indianapolis Peace & Justice Center (IPJC) when his term expired in April, is a nice guy, an ordained Presbyterian minister, and professor in the Religious Studies department at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI). He also has a penchant for quoting the Bible in support of his positions, and there lies the interestingly troublesome rub.

Sophia for Commissioner Update

I'm pleased to report that my campaign website is featuring plenty of information for people studying up on their local candidates: Sophia for Commissioner

When you visit the site you'll find a page expressing a "visual statement of values" and details about my progressive platform. You'll also see a listing of people I greatly admire who have done great work in our community as Progressive Democrats---people who care about peak oil, are unafraid to speak out against the new terrain route NAFTA I-69 highway, care about land use, local agriculture...and beyond. I'm honored to be able to say that the list includes my campaign chairperson City Councilman Andy Ruff----and even includes several of his colleagues, some great writers affiliated with Bloomington...and activists who continually amaze and move us by their tireless efforts.

CAFO conversations

The first CAFO supporter is in.

The e-mail came on a Monday. No name was attached, just an address and the initials DP. "We all love our technology," DP wrote, "TV's, Computers, I-pod's. I don't believe consumers will pay for a 1975 production system."

I'd like to start by saying I don't own an iPod.

All joking aside, although I really don't own an iPod, I'd like to make it clearer where I stand on CAFOs, considering I knew little about them until about a month-and-a-half ago. Based on the information I've learned in that time, the call here is not to eradicate factory farms, as CAFO’s are also called, though in a perfect world, we'd give farming back to the farmers.

Read more Amber blogs
Read more 'Indiana Environment Revisited'


I write this Open Letter to the Indianapolis Living Wage Coalition not only as a former activist in it, but more tellingly, also as a low-wage worker who's had to accept pay cuts in order to keep his job.

'CAFOs are not farming'

The e-mails are pouring into my inbox. "Your articles and videos are excellent," "thank you for letting people know what is going on," I read. It's great to revel in the support from people who understand just what kind of wreckless establishment CAFOs are. And while the support is welcomed, I wonder where the other side is.

If CAFOs are allowed to be built without setbacks and to operate with effectively no regulation, there must be support for it. And I expected, somewhat, to hear from those people.

Read more Amber blogs
Read more 'Indiana Environment Revisited'

If the feedback we've received is an accurate reflection of how people statewide or nationwide feel about CAFOs, citizens want permits for CAFOs to be granted under the strictest of conditions and run with the highest standards of health and safety. Otherwise, Indiana's public-private CAFO alliance is a complete and deviant local assault.

One of two things are happening. Either CAFO supporters aren't threatened enough to defend their position or the majority of people in both rural and urban Indiana don't know about the problem. Of those who do, the sentiments are the same -- they are thrilled to have a media entity care.


Everything has its price, and the cost of the Indianapolis Colts’ new Lucas Oil Stadium portends to be exorbitant for the taxpayers of Marion County, where Indianapolis is situated. But the cost is genteelly hidden, so the taxpayers are liable to overlook what this new toy for the Colts is going to cost them. This is the new football arena the Colts insisted had to be built for them by public funds, or else they’d leave. All the more reason to call it by what it really is—the Extortion Dome.

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