Indiana Moral Mondays

Indiana Moral Mondays                                                                                     2/4/2015

Environmental Justice

I appreciated yesterday’s conference call of the Indiana Moral Mondays Environmental group.  I thought the discussion of what sets IMM apart was important.

I’ve been thinking a lot about social justice in general, and how the past several decades have seen the political process manipulated to the advantage of the wealthy, and the disadvantage of the already disadvantaged.  I think what sets Moral Mondays apart is the unified and consistent approach we bring.  While we should continue to carefully follow specific legislation, I think our strength will be our consistent voice for any legislation that promotes social, economic and environmental justice and improvement for all the people of the state.

The national Quaker lobbying organization that I’m a member of, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) has brought this kind of consistent advocacy to Washington, DC, for over 75 years.  Our goals are similar to those of IMM, with a particular emphasis on peace.  One campaign that has been so success you might heard of it (especially since Google street views often show these signs) is the “War is Not the Answer” campaign.  Thousands of yard signs, buttons and bumper stickers have been distributed all over the United States.  This simple but powerful message appears at almost every peace gathering.  And a huge banner saying that is displayed on the outside wall of our building which is right across the street from the Hart Senate Office Building.

The other thing I’ve been thinking about is maybe we aren’t setting our goals high enough.  One way we can significantly impact the lives of everyone in Indiana would be to provide them with free energy.  I think people often miss the point that once solar panels or wind turbines are paid for, they continue to deliver free energy.  Think of the economic, political and social improvements free energy would bring to any community, but especially those who are currently economically (and environmentally) disadvantaged.  People would not only no longer have electric bills to pay, but would have free electricity, and that would free up their money to do great things.

One approach for IMM Environment Justice could be to focus on this idea.  Maybe we can come up with a good simple message similar to “War is Not the Answer”.  “Solar, wind, people power” or something.  And we could use this consistent message as a lens to select and advocate legislation to promote.  And legislators would begin to know us for this.

Jeff Kisling