BY ERIN HOLLINDEN
As a leader of Bloomington’s Interfaith Community of Environmentalist Youth (ICEY), Tamar Moss, 17, believes climate change is her generation’s most important issue. Her co-leader, Hannah Kasak- Gliboff, concurs. “The longer we hold off on addressing climate change, the worse the damage will be,” says Kasak-Gliboff, also 17.
ICEY began in 2012 in response to a call-out by the adult-led group, Earth Care. ICEY uses education and action to reduce humanity’s negative impact on climate. Members have come from Monroe County middle and high schools and from Congregation Beth Shalom, the Islamic Center of Bloomington, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington, St. Paul Catholic Center, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, and Trinity Episcopal Church.
ICEY has helped caulk and insulate dozens of homes, helped educate people using Bloomington’s EnergyMobile (a Toyota Prius V hybrid stocked with weatherization and efficiency materials, information on utility rebates, and other items), and protested the Dakota Access Pipeline. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2016, the group led a two-day Youth Empowering Sustainability (YES!) Conference in Indianapolis, teaching 50 teenagers from nine other Indiana youth groups how to weatherize houses, lobby legislators, and promote sustainable food. A group from Muncie replicated the conference in its area.
Making legislative change is also part of the group’s strategy. Members learned lobbying tactics at the 2015 Friends Committee on National Legislation spring lobby weekend. “You have to have a piece of legislation in mind and be specific,” Kasak-Gliboff says.
The group lobbied federal legislators for the Prepare Act, which calls for investment in preparation for hurricanes and tornadoes exacerbated by climate change, and the Portman-Shaheen Energy Efficiency Bill, which would save money while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. “I learned how accessible our government officials are,” Moss says. “That’s a great thing about democracy.”
This summer, the group held forums with SIREN (Solar Indiana Renewable Energy Network) in the Elm Heights and Bryan Park neighborhoods. “We went door to door talking to people about how easy it is and how much money they can save by going solar as a group,” Moss says. ICEY secured commitments from homeowners to triple the number of solar-powered homes in the neighborhoods from 20 to 60.
To learn more, visit iceybloomington.org or the ICEY Facebook page.