On The Radio – Iowa City celebrates Regenerative City Day

Turning Iowa City into an "ecopolis" includes utilizing local renewable energy sources and constructing environmentally-friendly building (Tom Jacobs/Flickr)
Corner of Iowa Avenue and Dubuque Street (looking south) in Iowa City. (Tom Jacobs/Flickr)
Nick Fetty | June 6, 2016

This week’s On The Radio segment looks Iowa City’s effort to become the Midwest’s first “Regenerative City.”

Transcript: Iowa City celebrates Regenerative City Day

Mayor Jim Throgmorton wants Iowa City to be the Midwest’s first “Regenerative City,” according to a proclamation released in May.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Throgmorton’s May 3 statement proclaiming it Regenerative City Day in Iowa City was the result of more than a year of community discussions and forums. The language of regeneration, rather than sustainability alone, recognizes the city’s responsibility to promote both the reduction of harmful practices and the promotion of environmental restoration initiatives. These may include overhauling urban farming practices, ridding parks of pesticide use, and enacting soil health initiatives like native prairie restoration, according to Throgmorton.

Throgmorton: “The proclamation is aspirational. It doesn’t have the force of policy or law but it does indicate that we intend to lead the way.”

Iowa City recently affirmed the Compact of Mayors agreement to place climate actions as a central priority in planning decisions, joining Des Moines and Dubuque.

For more information about Iowa City’s Regenerative City Day, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research, I’m Betsy Stone.

On The Radio – Des Moines mayor touts ability of city governments to pursue sustainability

CGRER co-director Jerry Schnoor (left) interviews Des Moines mayor Frank Cownie at COP21 in Paris. (CGRER)
CGRER co-director Jerry Schnoor (left) interviews Des Moines mayor Frank Cownie at COP21 in Paris. (CGRER)
December 21, 2015

This week’s On The Radio segment looks at Des Moines mayor Frank Cownie and sustainability initiatives he has led in Iowa’s capital city.

Transcript: Des Moines mayor touts ability of city governments to pursue sustainability

Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie was among more than 500 mayors from around the world in Paris earlier this month as part of the COP21 international climate conference.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Mayor Cownie sat down with University of Iowa civil and environmental engineering professor Jerry Schnoor at the international climate conference in Paris to discuss ways that city governments can help in the global effort to reduce carbon emissions and also to discuss specific initiatives taken in Iowa’s capital city. One such initiative was Des Moines’ LEED platinum-certified World Food Prize building, which at the time of its opening was the largest single-owner, single-occupant LEED platinum building in the world.

Des Moines was also one of the first cities to the sign the Compact of Mayors agreement, which is an accord by mayors from roughly 120 cities across the United States that have responded to the president’s plea to address climate change through local government initiatives. Cownie said he thinks that the smaller size of city government makes it easier to implement certain measures compared to state and federal initiatives.

COWNIE: “We don’t need to have an act of congress or an appropriation that might come 12 to 16 months down the road. If there are things that need to be done we can do them today. We’re working in preparedness and mitigation techniques. We recognize from past experiences some of the vulnerabilities we have even in Iowa.”

For full text and video from the interview with Mayor Cownie, visit Iowa-Environmental-Focus-dot-org.

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Nick Fetty.