Endangered butterflies in Iowa

Photo by Roger Smith; Flickr


According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, one-fourth of Iowa’s native butterflies are endangered, threatened, or are of special concern.

Head over to the Des Moines Register to read an excellent piece on our butterflies, and to find out what you can do to help.

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Taxes for the environment

Photo by Teresa Meadows; Flickr.

Photo by Teresa Meadows; Flickr.

The Iowa Public Radio released a segment yesterday about an upcoming bill that’s “a dream come true” for environmentalists and natural resource advocates.

The bill raises the state sales tax for a natural resource trust fund that was approved two years ago.

The amendment says that any time Iowa raises its sales tax, a portion of the penny of it should go toward natural resources.

If it passes, the sales taxes devoted to the trust fund would be raised to over a third of a cent over the next three years, and will be utilized for conservation, recreation, and water quality in the state.

Listen to the full story here.


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Can we achieve a sustainable economy?

Assistant Professor Aaron Strong; Photo courtesy of the Iowa City Press-Citizen

Assistant Professor Aaron Strong; Photo courtesy of the Iowa City Press-Citizen

Aaron Strong, an assistant professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Iowa, hosted a discussion yesterday about the changing the structure of our economy to emphasize sustainability.

Professor Strong acknowledged that while the idea of sustainability is being discussed more frequently, it has no single definition.

He wrote in the Press-Citizen opinion page that definitions of sustainability can be any of the following:

  • Meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs
  • Long-term cultural, economic and environmental health and vitality
  • Maintenance of the value of the capital stock where capital includes physical, human, cultural and environmental

While common themes exist among all of the definitions of sustainability, differences also occur in how to implement them.

The discussion focused on economic approaches as well as pollution and environmental quality, and patterns seen over time. Ultimately, researched explored whether or not the present system can adequately achieve joint goals of sustainability.

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On the Radio: GPC of Muscatine facing lawsuit over environmental violations


Photo by Saul Tannenbaum; Flickr

This week’s On the Radio segment covers the state lawsuit against GPC of Muscatine for their environmental violations. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

Continue reading

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UI Biomass Fuel Project

Photo by Jay Hsu; Flickr

The University of Iowa is approaching its 2020 sustainability goals, one acre at a time. The UI Sustainability Office is moving forward to have 40% of burned fuels be renewable.

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Governor Branstad hails Iowa’s solar energy progress

Solar energy panels at the Iowa State Fair;  Photo by vanhookc, Flickr.

Solar energy panels at the Iowa State Fair;
Photo by vanhookc, Flickr.

During Iowa Solar Day, an annual event sponsored by Iowa’s Solar Energy Trade Association (ISETA), Governor Terry Branstad and Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, said because Iowa is a leader in wind energy, we can use the same road map to become a leader in solar energy as well.

“I see tremendous potential for growth in solar energy as I do in other renewable energy items in our state,” Gov. Branstad said.

Northey expressed support of expanding Iowa’s solar energy tax credit and on March 27, 2014, the bill to triple the tax credit passed unanimously in the Iowa Senate.

Increasing Iowa’s solar energy is an important aspect of boosting the state’s overall use of clean energy, however Iowa has only tapped a small portion of the potential solar energy in the state.

To read the full story, visit the Iowa Environmental Council.

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Event: Iowa Climate Festival

ICF_photo for website

The University of Iowa welcomes you to join us on April 26, 2014 at the Museum of Natural History in Iowa City, IA for the Iowa Climate Festival.

All events are free and open to the public.  For free registration and more details, please visit the website.

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