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Alex Crowley
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Department of Economic and Sustainable Development
crowleya@bloomington.in.gov
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Bloomington Commission on Sustainability Celebrates First Annual Awardees

Bloomington, Ind. - The Bloomington Commission on Sustainability (BCOS) has announced the winners of its first annual Sustainability Awards. The committee considered initiative, impact and innovation in making award decisions in each of three categories: individual, business and nonprofit. The awards will be presented at the Bloomington City Council meeting on Wednesday, March 21, at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall (401 N. Morton).

The Individual Sustainability Award recipient is Madeline Hirschland. Madi is the force behind many clean energy initiatives including The Seventh Day Initiative (Hoosier Interfaith Light & Power), Earth Care and Solarize Indiana. While a consultant in microfinance in Africa, she noted the many children who died because of climate change-related malarial infections, and became determined to take action against climate change. Partnering with several different congregations, Madi founded Earth Care to raise awareness of climate change and cut energy use.  As co-founder and Board Vice Chair of Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light, she raised over $570,000 to support climate change awareness. The Seventh Day Initiative secured solar panels for 21 partner congregations, and also helped the first 13 decrease their energy use by over 33%. Most recently, Madi founded Solarize Indiana, organizing volunteers in 11 Indiana regions to promote home solar panel installation, which resulted in a 20% increase of solar homeowners in Indiana.

The Business Sustainability Award is given to One World Enterprises, founded by Jeff Mease and Lennie Busch. The enterprise includes independent local food businesses Pizza X, Lennie’s, and Bloomington Brewing Company. Lennie’s is the only certified Green Restaurant in Indiana, an incredibly selective certification, and has been awarded the Governor’s Award for Recycling twice. Further, Lennie’s donates all spent grain and organic waste to local farmers and compensates employees for biking to work. Also an initiative of One World Enterprises, the One World KitchenShare is a food business incubator which has increased the culinary diversity of Bloomington. For over 36 years, One World Enterprises has emphasized growing locally rather than expanding regionally, and it pays special attention to training each of its 230 team members. 

The Center for Sustainable Living (CSL) is the winner of the Nonprofit Award. CSL has facilitated the development of more than 15 ongoing community-based and sustainability-oriented projects including SIREN, the Bloomington Winter Farmers Market, and the Community Bicycle Project. With over 20 years of community-building experience, CSL also has committed to improving long-term environmental impacts through the Bring Your Bag Bloomington initiative, which aims to eliminate or put a fee on single-use plastic bags, and by facilitating the City's Solarize effort, which significantly increased the number of solar installations in Bloomington. CSL promotes access to healthy food for all people, sharing skills and knowledge through Simply Living Fairs, the Grow Organic Educator Series, and Sharefest. The organization also promotes the development of a local solidarity economy through the Glenn Carter Memorial Toolshare, seed libraries, free workshops for making rain barrels and vermicompost bins, and by starting Bloomington's first local currency, BloomingHours. In an effort to build awareness about the harmful environmental effects of the fashion industry and general culture of waste and disposables, CSL organizes the Trashion/Refashion Runway Show. Also thanks to CSL, Bloomington was designated a Wildlife Habitat City after members organized the Backyard Wildlife Habitat Stewards class, promoting the need to increase wildlife habitat spaces.

The Sustainability Award statues, made of 100% bio-based recycled waste materials, were made by Ryan Mandell, Digital Fabrication Labs Coordinator at Indiana University.  

The Bloomington Commission on Sustainability works to promote environmental health and social and economic development in Bloomington. For more information about BCOS, visit bloomington.in.gov/boards/sustainability, or contact Sneha Dave at snehadave09@yahoo.com or Teddie Phillipson-Mower at trphilli@indiana.edu.


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