Earth Day in Iowa
Today is the 52nd annual celebration of Earth Day, and many Iowans are expressing the need for swift action to address climate change and to protect Iowa from the devastating effects that climate change-affected weather patterns have on the state.
“I have four young grandsons, the oldest is nine. And I was a biology major in college,” said Leslie Sand, an activist with Citizens Climate Lobby. “So, I’ve been concerned about climate for years because, you know, it’s happening.”
Leslie Sand is an activist based out of Decorah, Iowa and has been working on environmental issues in her own life for years with her husband and family. She tried to reduce her carbon footprint by doing some of the everyday things that everyone can do to try and help reduce the human effects of climate change. She and her family even bought used hybrid cars to reduce their carbon footprint, and she admits, “it’s cheaper, and it also uses less emissions” than it would take to produce another new car.
Even though she and her family had also been recycling and put up solar panels, Leslie said “ I still had this nagging feeling like this is not enough.” So, Sand set out to do more.
A few years ago, Sand became involved with Citizens Climate Lobby after attending a local film festival, and after hearing the name became more interested in the group.
“I thought the name of that organization is what I need to plug into. Because it’s grassroots lobbying, and we need to be lobbying,” said Sand.
Time to ‘Invest in Our Planet’
And this Earth Day, Progress Iowa, a multi-issue progressive advocacy organization, is joining the call to Invest In Our Planet. They say we need real action to help tackle the climate crisis and create a more sustainable future for all of us.
“Climate change is causing real, everyday problems for Iowans,” said Matt Sinovic, Executive Director of Progress Iowa. “We need elected officials who will address the climate crisis, not just push partisan agendas that make their corporate donors happy.”
President Biden has wasted no time taking action, immediately rejoining the Paris Agreement and re-establishing U.S. leadership at the global conference on climate change.
The Biden Administration has also set records for clean energy deployment, made major investments in electric vehicles and created good-paying, clean energy jobs. At the same time, President Biden has made an historic commitment to environmental justice, investing in communities burdened by pollution and making sure all Americans can breathe healthy air and drink clean water.
But of course, the work isn’t done yet. President Biden’s National Climate Task Force is working on several goals, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reaching a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.
Unfortunately, here in Iowa, the Republican-led legislature refuses to take the threat of climate change seriously. Even after experiencing devastating climate disasters like the 2020 derecho or last month’s deadly tornado in Winterset.
“Climate change affects everybody,” said Iowa State Senator Rob Hogg. “There are a lot of other issues that are important. But if we don’t get climate change, right, everything else will just prove to be rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”
It’s time Iowa leaders follow in President Biden’s footsteps and take real action to prevent future climate disasters.
“Nobody’s so rich that they’re not going to be affected by climate change,” said Senator Hogg. “Nobody’s ideology is going to protect them from climate change. It’s something where we all have to find a way to come together to address.”
You can read more about the Biden Administration’s plans to tackle the climate crisis here: whitehouse.gov/climate.
How to Get Involved
Senator Hogg has some advice for Iowans trying to get involved in the fight against climate change and what actions they can take on a personal level.
“Let’s say there are 100 things that everybody could do to help address climate change,” said Hogg, explaining his perspective. “For some people, they might pick, sort of one through 10. And other people might pick 70 through 80. And, different people are in different places. But here’s the thing, there’s something for everybody to do. Everybody can get more informed, more involved, do more, speak up more.”
Leslie Sand also encourages Iowans to find an organization that aligns with their beliefs as well.
“We all need to be doing our personal stuff. But there is strength in numbers, so join Sierra Club, Iowa Interfaith Power and Light, and there are a lot of churches that are doing great work too,” encouraged Sand. “There’s more power in numbers. So join the Citizens Climate Lobby… do all your personal stuff, but also get with an organization.”
But what both Hogg and Sand stressed? The importance of speaking up, speaking out, and contacting your legislators.
“We need to be telling our members of Congress what we want because they’re the ones that are responsible for coming up for collective solutions here,” stressed Sand.
“Ultimately, we’ve got to deal with the problem adequately,” said Senator Hogg. “We need good, strong, sustained public policy, and that only happens if citizens are engaged and active and speaking up.”
You can find your state legislators, as well as the House and Senate Environmental Committee, contact information here: Iowa Legislators and Leadership
Earth Day Events 2022 in Iowa
–Heartland Presbyterian Church in Des Moines is hosting a climate change conference this weekend with State Senator Rob Hogg speaking, as well as others. You can watch the live stream at 6:30 p.m. today and 8 a.m. tomorrow at this link here: Heartland Presbyterian Livestream
–Sierra Club Events: The Sierra Club is the nation’s largest environmental activism organization and is hosting events this weekend in honor of Earth Day. You can see these events here: Calendar of Events
–EcoFest Cedar Rapids 2022 – And tomorrow after a two year hiatus, Cedar Rapids is hosting EcoFest at NewBo Market from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Go out and join this family friendly event with food, games, and a lot to learn!