On Thursday, November 18, the Iowa Environmental Council will hold a two-hour Bright Ideas 2021 event to discuss sources of clean energy in Iowa, like solar and wind power.
The event runs from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Des Moines but has satellite, group-viewing options in Iowa City and Waterloo. Attendees also have the option to watch a livestream that doesn’t allow participation.
The featured speaker is Destenie Nock, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. She plans to address energy equity.
The in-person locations include a brunch. The cost to attend ranges from $25 for online viewing to $65 for the Des Moines location. Students and young professionals will get discounts.More information is available here.
Thursday, September 23, at 5 p.m. the College of Engineering in partnership with CGRER and the CASE colloquium series presents a series of 4 webinars by world-renowned scientists who will explain the latest scientific findings, discuss measures to mitigate the impacts of climate change, adaptation to the effects on extreme weather, and natural systems, and ideas on engineering infrastructure for resilience in the face of change.
The first webinar will be presented by two leading researchers on climate and environment from the college of engineering at U Iowa, Prof. Greg Carmichael and Prof. Jerry Schnoor. The topic for the first webinar is:
“Climate science report AR6: what the IPPC’s latest climate report says about the changing climate, extreme weather and impacts on natural and engineered systems”
Dr. Schnoor pointed out several ways in which climate change has already taken hold in Iowa. More intense storms are eroding soil into waterways, humidity is on the rise, and floods are likely to be separated by periods of drought. If greenhouse gas emissions are not cut dramatically, all of these effects will become more severe. So, what can Iowans actually do to reverse course? Dr. Schnoor had several recommendations.
He urged individuals to consider limiting their own carbon emissions. At the state level, he stated that Iowa should join the sixteen other states in The Climate Alliance, which is a “proposition that climate and energy leadership promotes good jobs and economic growth.” Iowa is a national leader in wind energy and biofuel usage; the professor argued that joining the alliance obviously aligns with the state’s clean energy accomplishments.
Private sector and industry groups can be a part of the climate solution, too, he said. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development provides innovative ideas for companies looking to curb their emissions. Just recently, international martime shipping companies agreed to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent before 2050.
Climate change policy recommendations must be based in research. Dr. Schnoor invited Iowans to attend a WorldCanvass program on April 25th to hear about the latest scientific research related to climate change and climate-smart policy from several CGRER members. Part of a series of nine recorded discussions focused on topics of international interest, the event is free and open to the public.
What: WorldCanvass Climate Science and the Environment—What’s Next?
When: Wednesday, April 25th from 5:30-7:00 pm
Where: MERGE, 136 South Dubuque Street, Iowa City, Iowa
Iowa City area residents have the opportunity to understand what it might be like to be a part of the United Nations climate change negotiations.
On Saturday, April 21, the public is invited to participate in a World Climate Simulation. Created by Climate Interactive, nearly 900 of these simulations have taken place in 75 countries. The role-playing exercise assigns each participant a delegate position with a nation, interest group or negotiating bloc. During the mock international climate change negotiating meeting, participants are tasked with negotiating climate policy that would keep climate change below 2˚C over preindustrial temperatures. Meanwhile, the event facilitator, acting as a UN leader, uses the C-ROADS interactive computer model to demonstrate the climate implications of any number of climate policy proposals. The C-ROADS simulation is based on current climate change science.
Climate Interactive details the learning outcomes of the activity. They write, “During the event participants must face the climate science, engage in the drama and tensions of global politics, test their ambitions against a climate-modeling tool used by actual climate negotiators, and then reflect on how the experience challenges their assumptions about climate action.”
Iowa City’s simulation will take place from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at the Iowa City Public Library on April 21st. Interested parties are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible. More information about this event and the link to register can be found here.
Alliant Energy’s Operation ReLeaf tree distribution program will continue this week and into October. During this time, the company provides landscape-quality trees to their customers at a significant discount. Thoughtful placement of trees can cut energy costs for homeowners by providing shade in the warmer months and wind blocks during colder months.
Customers can buys trees that typically retail for $65 to $125 for just $25 each. Residential tree distributions will be held in Buena Vista, Fayette, Lee, Linn, Lucas and Story counties this October.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources provides several resources for homeowners looking to select the appropriate tree for their yards. In one of the DNR’s publications, “Rethinking Maple: Selecting Trees For Your Yard,” officials point out that maple trees make up more than one-third of all trees in Iowa, which increases their risk for disease and pest problems. The pamphlet encourages homeowners to consider other tree species based on desired qualities such like vibrant fall color, storm resistant, salt tolerant and others.
Trees will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis at the following locations on the following dates:
Salcedo said, “We’re plagued with it, Iowa, Nebraska, we actually lead the country. It’s in about 70% of all homes.”
He noted that the presence of radon has nothing to do with the construction of the home. Salcedo explained,
“It’s not a foundation issue, it’s basically just what we’re building on. It could be a brand new home, it could be a 50-year-old home. We have a lot of clay soil and there’s no way to stop it on the front end. The soil breaks down, the uranium deposits, the radon gases will eventually make their way into your home and cause those health issues.”
Niles said, “Most people confuse radon with carbon monoxide.”
At-home radon testing kits can be purchased for about ten dollars from most hardware stores. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, if the test reads above 2 picoCuries per liter of air (pCi/L), homeowners should consider having a radon mitigation system installed. Niles explained that the Akron Mercy Medical Clinic has had a mitigation system installed. A pipe along with a fan pushes radon gas from underground into the open air outdoors.
He said, “Every county has high levels of radon. While you’re outside in the environment, it doesn’t really cause any health problems, but it’s when you’re in confined spaces that it can really do damage to the lungs.”
Buchanan County ISU Extension and Outreach has partnered with Buchanan County Environmental Health to provide a free public radon workshop. Residents can attend the workshop to learn more about radon, how to test for it at home and what to do after the test results come in.
Free Public Radon Workshop
When: Tuesday, January 24th, 7-8:30 pm Where: Quasqueton City Hall, 113 Water St N – Quasqueton
Dr. Jacob Barney from Virginia Tech University will be at the University Capital Centre to talk about the management of risk related to plants in general, and specifically speak to the planned use of dedicated energy crops to support the biomass fuel project. The meeting is open to the public and free.
2:00 pm at the University Capital Centre (Old Capital Mall), room 2525D, Iowa City.