The Hoosier Environmental Council held an awards presentation Saturday, Sept. 8, 2007, to acknowledge several individuals and groups who have helped in protecting the environment this past year.
The HEC awarded Steve Bonney of Lafayette the Environmentalist of the Year. Bonney founded the nonprofit organization Sustainable Earth. According to the HEC press release, “Bonney has been working to stop the new terrain I-69 highway” to save surrounding farmland. He has also been a main component in the Indiana Toll Road lawsuit for the past year.
“I am convinced that the key to create thriving communities is to seek economic development solutions that keep rural communities rural, build sustainable local food systems and keep dollars circulating in Indiana,” Bonney said.
The Alliance of Crown Hill Neighbors, an Indianapolis organization, was the recipient of the Grassroots Organization of the Year award. The Alliance helped save the Crown Hill Cemetery from selling 70 acres of premium land to a private developer who wished to redevelop the woodlands and wetlands. Since conservations lacked the time to raise funding to buy the land, the Alliance organized a public awareness program and protested the rezoning.
The group successfully stopped the rezoning when the Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission denied the developers’ rezoning petition. Negotiations are now in progress with Crown Hill and organizations such as the Department of Natural Resources and the Indianapolis Parks Foundation to purchase the land for preservation.
The Grassroots Organization of the Year award went to Barbara Sha Cox of Wayne County. According to the HEC press conference, Cox has helped to educate the Indiana elected officials about the “environmental impacts of industrial scale livestock production.” The increasing number of livestock is polluting the air and water with waste material in many Indiana counties, and Cox’s mission is to hold livestock organizations accountable for the pollution they are causing.
The Frontline Award, aimed at thanking local individuals for their determined local activism, recognized Jan and Bill Boyd. They have worked towards educating Indiana citizens about the destruction that highway projects, such as new terrain I-69 and the Indiana Commerce Connector, cause to rural lands.
The HEC’s Max Goodwin Environmental Litigator of the Year went to lawyer David VanGilder. His law firm in Ft. Wayne has defended Indiana’s waterways and natural areas in many legal cases.
The Greater Lafayette Public Transportation Corporation won HEC’s Excellence in Government award. The GLPTC bought two hybrid buses in the spring of 2007, making them the first to use hybrid transportation. According to the HEC press release, Rae Schanpp, Wabash Riverkeeper, said, “Public transportation improves our urban environment in many ways. Now it will be even more environmentally friendly.”
The Green Business Award acknowledged CasaVerde, LCC, an Indianapolis development company, and the Indiana Clean Manufacturing Technology Institute. NUVO won the Green Business Award last year.
CasaVerde, LCC, began building Indianapolis first residences by the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) Green Building Certification System. These homes will use less than half of the totally energy than a regularly built home of the same size would.
The Indiana Clean Manufacturing Technology Institute works to eliminate pollution by educating business on new technology and building design. With the CMTI’s help, manufacturers have reduced environmental waste by more than 7,400 tons and saved these companies about $14 million in costs
Two HEC staff members were also recognized for their service with the Distinguished Service Award. Former Staff Bookkeeper Dean Ice and former Coal Policy Director Brian Wright have both recently left HEC, but spent many years serving HEC and its mission.