As I sit here transcribing the interviews for this article, I hear a local TV commercial on in the background advertising water safety test kits for homeowners.
The commercial lists the ways the water we consume could be making us sick. This makes me wonder if the basic necessities of life have become unsafe in America.
Growing up, I never remember needing to filter water. Nowadays, every home I go into has a built-in water purification system or a Brita container in the refrigerator. How will future generations come to know water? Two state-wide organizations are working hard to make sure future generations can enjoy the planet we know today.
Our Children’s Trust
Our Children’s Trust is an Oregon-based organization with chapters throughout the United States. While the name sounds like a bank account, the mission of Our Children’s Trust is to protect earth’s atmosphere and natural systems for present and future generations by amplifying the voice of the youngest generation through film and legal action. Jim Poyser, the executive director of Earth Charter Indiana, is the representative for the Indiana chapter.
“For me personally, I am rather an alarmist about climate change. It can be a very dismal experience over five, 10, 15, 20 years and see a world that has become increasingly chaotic when it comes to its weather,” Poyser said.
Fighting climate change with adults through policy and government can paint a dark picture of doom and gloom. In taking a different approach, Poyser now spends his days visiting schools throughout Indiana educating kids about climate change. Poyser feels that working with kids builds a more conscious community, society and world.
“I tell kids the truth, that fossil fuel emissions create a different physics for the atmosphere and that change changes the way the atmosphere behaves. That is why we have more massive rain storms and droughts,” Poyser said.
Action items for kids
While kids do not have the right to vote or have the say to put solar panels on their home or erect a wind turbine in their yard, there are three ways Poyser believes kids can have a big positive impact.
First, they can be conscious of how much power they use and to be sure to turn off the lights when they leave a room, check to see if they have all the right light bulbs, and check if there are any drafts in the house. Secondly, while kids can’t drive, they can encourage their parent(s) to carpool, take mass transit, walk or bike.
Finally, an area kids can have the biggest impact in is how much they waste. They can learn about everything they consume and ways to reduce the waste they produce.
In the end, Poyser says focusing on the kids does so many great things. Mostly, it gets us adults out of our own individual perspectives and spaces. It gets us thinking about our kids and our grandkids and all of the challenges they will be facing due to the decades of treating our environment like an open sewer that we pour the bi-products of our lives down.
Mom’s Clean Air Force
Wendy Bredhold of Evansville became interested in air quality long before she ever became a mother. Bredhold is outraged by the idea that there are days that we are told that the air is not healthy enough for us to go outside and breathe.
“Air should be something that we can take for granted, that we can breathe and not damage our health. We should not have to be concerned about our children developing asthma and respiratory diseases. There shouldn’t be warning days that children with asthma, elderly and active people should stay inside,” Bredhold said.
Instead of just complaining about the problem, Bredhold has been taking action. She is Indiana’s field organizer for Mom’s Clean Air Force, a project of the Environmental Defense Fund. The Moms Clean Air Force campaign, specific to Indiana, is on the issue of mercury pollution and how it affects infants and young children in particular. Because of all the coal-fired power plants in Indiana, all bodies of water in the state (lakes, streams, rivers) are contaminated with mercury, which falls from smokestacks. Pregnant women, nursing women, women that may become pregnant and young children should heed eating many types of fresh fish and seafood from any waterway in Vigo County. Click here for more information: fn.cfs.pur
Bredhold says there is a consortium of utility companies that are suing the EPA to stop them from putting Mercury Air Toxic Standards into effect. MATS was a part of the 1970 Clean Air Act, which has never been enforced. According to a 2010 United States Geological Survey, mercury contamination in water and fish throughout Indiana has routinely exceeded levels recommended to protect people and wildlife. About one in eight fish samples tested statewide had mercury that exceeded the recommended safety limit for human consumption. The causes include mercury in the rain and mercury going down the drain.
“Climate supersedes every other issue for me because I want my daughter to grow up on the same planet that I grew up on,” Bredhold said. “I feel that it is my duty to try and fight for her future, since I brought her here. I don’t want to sit back and say ‘ya know there is nothing we can do about it’ I think that we should try and preserve it and pass it on as is to our children.”
Bredhold’s job is to put pressure on coal power plants to get them to drop their suit against the EPA. I asked Bredhold if she is intimidated about going up against big money. With her boxing gloves held eye level, Bredhold is unlikely to back down, since she has the support of a national organization. She says she feels more empowered than before Mom’s Clean Air Force invested in Indiana. If Bredhold wins the fight, it could mean millions of dollars will need to be spent to make the power plants put out purer emissions. The cost could then get passed down to consumers. I asked her if she would be willing to hold that weight of adding that additional cost to every homeowner, her answer was simply yes.
“We are already paying the cost of the carbon economy just in completely different ways. We are paying with our health, we are paying with our children’s future. I would rather pay ten to fifteen extra dollars a month,” she said.
Bredhold is seeking Indiana moms who are willing to go to the EPA listening session on new Carbon Pollution Standards in Chicago on Friday. For more information contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jane Santucci is an environmental freelance writer for the Tribune-Star. Santucci is a proud volunteer with TREES Inc. and Our Green Valley. She also sits on the Wabash Valley Goodwill Industries Board of Directors. Share your environmental stories and tips with her at JaneSantucci@yourgreenvalley.com.
As I sit here transcribing the interviews for this article, I hear a local TV commercial on in the background advertising water safety test kits for homeowners.
‘Passion in the Park’ re-enacts birth, trial, crucifixion, resurrection of Jesus
Many say it is a life-changing experience that brings the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus to life. It is certainly a community effort driven by a desire of many volunteer Christians who come together to express their passion for the passion of Jesus Christ.
‘Worshipful, reverent’ music goal of organist who plays Friday night at Terre Haute church
To an untrained observer, a concert organ looks as complex as the controls of a jumbo jetliner.
Four tiers of keyboards, dozens of knobs (known as pistons) and two rows of foot pedals fuel the instrument’s lush sound. An organist would seem to need 10 limbs to play it.
White Violet Center to offer day of fun with nature on April 26
Live performances, demonstrations, animal programs, relaxation and other events —all specifically geared toward honoring the planet — are planned April 26, as the longest-running and largest Earth Day celebration in west-central Indiana continues at St. Mary-of-the-Woods.
Providence Food Pantry going strong after year at new location
The setup inside the building makes it feel like you’re walking into a “mom-and-pop” grocery store, with a check-in area, and aisles for patrons to walk through and eye all the food set up perfectly on tables.
Shape of an Idea: Inspiration flows from 19th-century songwriter to modern-day sculpture in his honor
As a child, Teresa Clark played near a river. A century earlier, young Paul Dresser did the same.
Their memories inspired artwork. A song Dresser wrote in 1897 flows through a sculpture Clark is now creating.
Exhibit showcases history of churches in Terre Haute
This summer everyone is invited to an old fashioned, interdenominational church summer picnic celebrating that “Old Time Religion,” as part of the Vigo County Historical Society Museum’s opening exhibit for 2014. The exhibit and associated events will take a look back at how religion has shaped the development of the Wabash Valley.
Author visits birthplace of Calvin Coolidge
Editor’s Note: Today, in this seventh and final installment of Mike Lunsford’s “New England Journal,” the writer visits a small town in south central Vermont, birthplace of the nation’s 30th President, Calvin Coolidge. Be sure to look for Mike’s regular column in Monday’s edition of the Tribune-Star.
Guiding Star: Inspired by family, Terre Haute native rallies famous names to fund cancer research
Famous people filled the Riviera Country Club, a scenic golf resort in affluent Pacific Palisades, Calif.
A city block away, Sunset Boulevard runs toward the Pacific Ocean. The Santa Monica Mountains overlook it all. Inside the Riviera, during a 2009 fundraising dinner, Terre Haute attorney Tony Tanoos found himself surrounded by a who’s who of celebrities — actors such as Ray Romano, Mark Wahlberg, Don Cheadle and others, and golfing greats like Gary Player, Johnny Miller and Rocco Mediate. Soon, the crowd of notables heard the words of main speaker Lisa Paulsen, the president of the Entertainment Industry Foundation.
MIKE LUNSFORD: The long goodbye to winter
I have no idea what the weather is to bring to us on the morning this story runs, but on the day I write most of it, the sun is shining, and we have just come off a weekend of pleasant warmth and cloudless skies.
Making Waves: Woman devotes part of rural Vigo County home to museum on hairstyling
Some studies show that women spend more than $50,000 in a lifetime and more than one month of their entire life at a beauty salon, trying to get and keep their hair just the right style. How they have accomplished this through the ages has been a fascination for local hairstylist Brenda Ellis for more than 50 years.
Heaven on Earth: Writer gets lost — both figuratively and literally — at Acadia National Park
Editor’s Note: Today, we continue the New England Journal as Mike Lunsford writes of a day hiking the Atlantic shoreline and the trails of Maine’s Acadia National Park.
Rock of Ages: Hulman Center stage has been entertaining crowds since 1974
As the stage lights came on, Sam Wellington and his cohorts gazed out at an audience of 8,060 Midwesterners.
The scene was familiar for him. Wellington and his country music quartet, The Four Guys, opened shows night after night for fellow RCA Records artists Ronnie Millsap and headliner Charley Pride on tours across North America.
Wearing a Legacy: Inspired by Debs, a variety of places and things beyond Terre Haute — from a town to beers — bear his name
A town and a school. Two styles of beer. A radio station, a street, a township, and a house for college students. Even a parade.
Any of those places or things named in honor of legendary labor and social activist Eugene V. Debs could theoretically exist in Terre Haute. Alas, none do.
Flowing forward: As Riverscape leader retires, he sees great things ahead for the Wabash River
An iconic photo of Harry Truman hangs in John Mutchner’s office.
The walls of that room and others inside Mutchner’s scenic eastside home offer glimpses of his interests, from auto racing to basketball to political history. The famous picture of a triumphant Truman, hoisting an erroneous “Dewey Defeats Truman” Chicago Tribune headline, rests neatly framed alongside a 1952 campaign button and an autographed notecard from the former president.
Hope Awakened: On a floating hospital, Terre Haute nurse sees lives of needy transformed
The woman was 24 years old. She weighed 70 pounds.
She had young children and, for a long time, a heavy burden. A tumor, large as her head, engulfed her jaw. Eating and breathing became all but impossible for her. Undoubtedly, she’d been ostracized because of it, too. Such cases are rare in the Western world, but they occur frequently in the Republic of Congo. The coastal African nation has just one doctor for every 20,000 people.
Rock Collector: Indiana Coal Council president loves rocks, fossils and 4-H
You might say Bruce Stevens grew up with lots of pet rocks.
Scavenging for rocks and fossils as a boy near his home at Coalmont launched Stevens’ fascination with geology. His love of all things sedimentary led him to a successful career in hydrology, reclamation and the coal industry.
‘Afternoon on a Hill’: The formal poet who led an informal life — Edna St. Vincent Millay
EDITOR’S NOTE: Today, we continue the New England Journal as Mike Lunsford writes of an afternoon exploring the rural gardens and home of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay near Austerlitz, N.Y. Join Lunsford in February for the sixth installment of this series as he wanders along the wooded shorelines of Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park.
No Intermission: Character meets demise on ‘Walking Dead,’ but lively acting career continues for Terre Haute’s Jose Pablo Cantillo
Characters often make dramatic exits from television shows.
Few could top Terre Haute-raised actor Jose Pablo Cantillo’s departure last month from AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”
The scene occurred in the fourth season of cable TV’s most popular drama series ever.
Telling stories in song
Pieces of Terre Haute’s infamous past gather dust in the town’s metaphorical attic. Closed-up, old baggage — forever linked, like it or not, to the historical record.
Real people lived through those times, but as generations pass, memories of those characters fade and disappear.
Effort under way to restore Civil War monument to original grandeur; ‘Soldier of the West’ unique in state of Indiana
“How sleep the brave, who sink to rest with all their country’s wishes blest.”
A lone soldier sits atop Forest Hill Cemetery in Greencastle. He is seated with his foot on a cannon of long ago, looking westward, perhaps toward the future he fought for. “He” is a stone memorial, rising nearly 30 feet in the historic cemetery. He represents all the men, young and old, from Putnam County who fought and died in the Civil War, and he is aptly titled “Soldier of the West.”
‘Nomadic aural tinkerer’ Saturday Giant scheduled for Verve’s stage on May 3
The Saturday Giant, a one-man art-rock band from Columbus, Ohio, will perform at 9:30 p.m. May 3 at The Verve in downtown Terre Haute.
Swope to present work by young artists in spring exhibit
Spring brings one of the most popular yearly exhibitions at the Swope Art Museum, its annual showcase of work by student artists.
Sign up to Bowl for Kids’ Sake
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Vigo County is appealing to the community to support Bowl for Kids’ Sake, the mentoring organization’s biggest annual fundraiser, which raises money needed to carefully pair volunteer mentors with children who face adversity in staff-supported, long-term mentoring friendships.
‘90 Minutes in Heaven’ author to speak
Don Piper, author of “90 Minutes in Heaven — a True Story of Death and Life,” will speak at 7 p.m. CDT April 10 in First Baptist Church of Casey, Ill.
‘Scattered’ explores one of nature’s most powerful forces
An innovative mix of dance, theater and film explores one of nature’s most powerful forces when Motionhouse brings its show “Scattered” to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology’s Hatfield Hall on Saturday, March 29.
‘Smokey Joe’s’ takes look into classic moment in American culture
Audiences will be rocking and rolling with “Smokey Joe’s Café” in Tilson Auditorium on Friday. The timeless musical revue is set to play one night only as part of Indiana State University’s Performing Arts Series, sponsored by Terre Haute Savings Bank.
Final Fridays: Lunes Domingo hits Abbey Road March 28
Local music collective Lunes Domingo will present its third Final Friday show at 10 p.m. Friday at The Verve, 677 Wabash Ave. Admission is $3.
Sinfonietta Pops, Crossroads of America Youth to share stage
The Sinfonietta Pops Orchestra and Crossroads of America Youth Orchestra will share the stage to perform the concert “Fortune Lost” at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Cecilian Auditorium at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.
See Easter Bunny, hunt for eggs at Deming
The Easter Bunny is coming to town: From 1 to 4 p.m. on April 5 and 6, the Easter Bunny will be in the Holiday House at Deming Park for pictures.
Ivy Tech to host Matter & Motion March 22
From touring an ambulance to play acting at Ivy Improv!, learning is fun for everyone at the 14th annual Matter & Motion from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 22, at Ivy Tech Community College-Wabash Valley, 8000 S. Education Drive.
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