Patrons and friends of the Brown County Y are invited to participate in the Solarizing of the YMCA. There are three primary reasons to invest in this project:
• Reduce electric bills so the pool and aged HVAC systems can be repaired or replaced
• Replace electricity from burning coal and natural gas with renewable energy
• Make the YMCA more independent as a disaster relief site

If you would like to get involved, click the link below to download the flyer

There are several reasons why we decided to become vegetarians

by Linda Todd

People often ask why we have chosen to become vegetarians. An obvious question for someone who has been a “meat-eater” for over 70 years. 

There are several reasons. My husband Bill has high cholesterol and for years our doctor has recommended that Bill take a statin to lower that number. Since Bill takes very little medicine and has heard of negative side effects of statins, he has declined to take them. We have been vegetarian for a year and a half and at his last exam, his total cholesterol was down 26 points. Not a huge change but that was after only 6 months! 

Another important reason to stop eating meat is the environmental impact it is making. I just read in Nutrition Action magazine that almost 12 pounds of greenhouse gases are released to produce one serving of beef. Cows and sheep are known polluters, releasing 250-300 liters of methane gases a day.  Methane from cattle is shorter lived than carbon dioxide but 28 times more potent in warming the atmosphere.  

Some people hesitate to eat vegetarian because they feel they aren’t getting enough protein. I have read that we need a lot less protein than we think and we actually eat a lot more than we think. The Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is about 50 grams a day. The average American eats about 90 grams of protein a day. By eating fresh fruits, vegetables and legumes you can also get enough protein.

We feel that we need to make a difference in this world and eating vegetarian is one to do that. We started by cutting out meat one day a week and found that the meals we were eating were tasty and satisfying.  I won’t say that we don’t occasionally have bacon for breakfast but we are trying our best to cut meat out of our diet. There are many new products in groceries now that replace meat. Eating vegetarian isn’t just having a plate full of vegetables for dinner. There are excellent recipes for casseroles, stews and soups that use non-meat substitutes. There are wonderful hamburger-like burgers other than veggie burgers and good sausages and “brats”. Most restaurants, even fast-food restaurants, have a vegetarian option now. I would challenge everyone to try it for one day and see how good a vegetarian meal can be.

Why we went solar…

by Denny Kubal

About a year ago my wife Donna and I decided it was time we did something about the  environment. We decided we wanted to try to concentrate on improving air quality.  We did some research and found that Indiana remains the state that leads the nation in  toxic pollution emitted per square mile. Upon further investigation we found that Duke Energy remains a super polluter and their Gibson Indiana plant is one of the dirtiest plants in terms of carbon dioxide emissions.  We are getting our power from Duke.  There are many options to choose from to help reduce CO2, but we chose to install solar panels.    

So for less than the price of an electric vehicle, we installed 43 Panasonic 325 watt solar panels on our roof last fall.  We are so glad we did.  

First, when I filed my taxes this year, I received a 26% tax credit back from the feds.  Meaning the government paid 26% of my system.   

Second, according to a recent study by Zillow, solar panels can increase the value of my home by up to 4.1%.  This is a plus, and something to consider financially, but not my primary reason for us to install the system. 

Third, I get the joy of not supporting Duke and having them send me greatly reduced bills, like this month’s $17.35 bill.  If we stay in our house long enough, the system will pay for itself in savings.    

Fourth, we get the daily satisfaction of watching what a difference we are making in the environment.  As I write this, we are generating 8,000 watts of power.  In the time since installation, we have generated 12,000,000 watts of power!  We’ve saved 18,500 pounds of CO2 and the equivalent of 141 trees planted!  GREAT!

Fourth, the system operates during daylight hours all year and is guaranteed for 25 years by Panasonic.  We value that we are creating a system that will continue to provide savings for the planet long after we move on.  Who knows how many new residents will live here and enjoy the savings and the value of helping to save the planet?  We very much like passing on something permanent to others!

So if you are serious about making a difference in our air quality here in Indiana, consider solar. 

NOTE:  Earth Rising will offer a free solar tour of some of Brown County’s solar homes, Saturday, August 21. Watch for further details!!


The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22nd, 1970. It was a monumental day, with over 20 million Americans pouring into the streets to demand environmental justice. To this day, it remains one of the largest single day protests in human history. 51 years later, climate change is a bigger issue than ever, with more Americans demanding sustainable change be taken now. From the initial Earth Day event, the holiday has blossomed into Earth Month, a whole 30 days to appreciate the planet and advocate for environmentally friendly practices to preserve it.

This Earth Month, we have curated actions which advocate for environmental justice. Whether it’s how a health diet can lead a more sustainable life all the way up to contacting the President to protect our national lands and water, we want to give individuals the tools to address climate change from all angles. There is no one cause of climate change, and numerous social and economic factors play into it as well. This month, take action to find out how everyone can make a collective impact on the climate, preserving our beautiful planet for generations to come.


Environmental Groups Sue to Stop Hoosier National Forest Plan

The lawsuit claims the Houston South Vegetation Management and Restoration Project will pollute streams that flow into Lake Monroe, the water source for more than 145,000 people.

Monroe County and two environmental groups filed a lawsuit to stop the implementation of a forest management plan for Hoosier National Forest they believe will pollute Lake Monroe, a major drinking water source for the area.

Monroe County’s Board of Commissioners and Environmental Commission, along with the Hoosier Environmental Council and the Indiana Forest Alliance filed the suit to stop the U.S. Forest Service’s Houston South Vegetation Management and Restoration Project until alternative plans are considered.

The plan calls for the harvest of thousands of acres of trees and herbicide treatment in a part of the Hoosier National Forest located in the northwest corner of Jackson County near Houston, Indiana.

In the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in New Albany, county officials and the groups said many of the activities called for in the plan will take place on “steep slopes with highly erodible soils,” that would pollute streams that flow into Lake Monroe, the water source for more than 145,000 people.

The Monroe County officials said they repeatedly raised the issue in comments and objections and requested alternatives that would better protect the environment, but the Forest Service denied the plan would adversely affect the environment and Monroe County residents.

“After nearly 18 months of commenting, asking for key reports, and objecting to this project and the U.S. Forest Service’s dismissal of all the important concerns, Monroe County and the plaintiffs were left with no other recourse but to file this suit,” said Monroe County District 2 commissioner Julie Thomas in a press release.

Thomas and other county officials submitted comments about the plan, saying they were concerned about degradation to the lake’s already threatened water quality due to algae caused by sedimentation and other factors.

Some algae can release toxins that have harmful effects on humans, kill pets and livestock and impair drinking water supplies.

The Forest Service’s responded to the commissioners’ concerns about runoff pollution contributing to algae growth by stating that site-specific soil and water effects were already analyzed in a 2019 report.

The report concluded the project could directly affect water quality through local erosion and sedimentation and cause point-source contamination from equipment fluids and herbicide spray. However, it was restricted to the boundary of the South Fork of Salt Creek, one of four watersheds feeding into Lake Monroe and did not analyze the management plan’s effect outside that boundary, or any alternatives presented by Monroe County officials.

The report said the South Fork Salt Creek watershed was set as the boundary because it would be impossible to distinguish the project’s impact from the effects of other land-use activities in the other watersheds.

The lawsuit said the omission of the impact on the other watersheds feeding into Lake Monroe violates the National Environmental Policy Act, a federal law that requires federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of proposed federal actions prior to making decisions.

“The U.S. Forest Service has seemed hell-bent on doing this project regardless of its dramatic impact on people, wildlife and the forest ecosystem in general,” said Jeff Stant, executive director of the Indiana Forest Alliance. “We’re taking a stand to show that refusing to consider alternatives is against the law.”

Enrique Saenz, Indiana Environmental Reporter, May 19, 2020


Brown County Solar Initiative

Update 4/26/2020:
Hope this finds everyone well and steering clear of the virus. 
I have gotten some numbers together that may give some guidance to those of you that want to move forward as soon as is reasonable according the current situation.
If you look at your energy bill it will tell you how many kilowatts that you have used over the last year.  Probably around 6 to12 Kwh.  We have narrowed our panel selection down to a Solaria 355.  This panel has a built in inverter and therefore is a great panel for partial shade conditions.  Reve has been able to get a quote for buying a volume of 25 or 50 panels.  The breakdown is as follows:

Solaria 355 panel
Cabling for each panel
Shipping (per panel)


This comes out to about $450 to $500 per panel.  This is for a roof mount system if you want a ground mount I would add about $100 to $200 per panel.
Labor is not included since we are trying to do this as a group installation team. “You help me with mine and I help you with yours.”

This gives you some idea of the cost.  So if you wanted a 10 panel array (ca. 4Kwh system) then it would be around $5,000 – $6,000.  20 panels would be double that for an 8Kwh system.
These are obviously estimates and subject to a custom fit for your application.  The nice thing about this is that if you had  a dollar amount in mind to spend then you have an idea of how many panels you can request.  I am asking that you let me know what you are thinking money wise and we can move forward with the order.
I would like to begin the planning of the jobs as soon as possible.  Since we primarily are working outside I believe the risk of infection is lower.
There have been some really nice sunny days lately and more to come. 
Let’s make Brown County green with this effort!

Drawdown Climate Solutions

We can stop global warming – the solutions are right here

Every day at Project Drawdown we are asked, “What can I do to solve the climate crisis?” The answers are all around us. Solutions to climate change are in our daily lives right now. And we have no time to lose putting them in motion.

Which solution surprises or inspires you? Who would benefit from knowing about it?  Use the icons on each solution’s web page to share a solution via email to an elected official, policy maker, or business leader.  Share your favorite solution on Facebook, Twitter, and dozens of social channels.  Add the hashtag #ClimateSolutions for greater reach.

On this landmark Earth Day, you CAN make a difference. Explore the sectors below with 86 solutions that are in place now. Find one that moves you and start working on it today!
Project Drawdown, 4/21/2020


Earth Day Celebration

This coming week marks the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day (Wednesday, April 22). And in these trying times, the Sierra Club offers a special way commemorating it. All week they have virtual activities led by Sierra Club supporters and partners.


Animal Agriculture and the Global Environmental Impact

This lecture outlines the basic principles about the relative impact of our food choices on the environment and for food security, and puts them in perspective of global ecological parameters. See the links below to download all the references used.
Dr. Tushar Mehta, 11/2019


Absentee Voting

Information on Absentee Ballots for the 2020 Primary Election

All voters may choose to cast a ballot by mail in the upcoming June 2, 2020 Primary Election. To request an absentee-by-mail ballot, please complete this form ( ABS-Mail Primary 2020 ) and return it to your county election officials. The deadline to return the form is May 21, 2020 by 11:59 p.m. local time.