Iowa City Climate Expo prompts discussions on local action to address climate crisis

After the release of the city’s 100-Day Report outlining the climate issues the city faces, the City of Iowa City hosted an expo to discuss initiatives to combat climate change.

Members+of+the+Citizen%E2%80%99s+Climate+Lobby+discuss+local+solutions+to+climate+change.+The+first-of-its-kind+Climate+Action+event+took+place+at+Big+Grove+Brewery+on+Nov.+21.+
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Iowa City Climate Expo prompts discussions on local action to address climate crisis

Members of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby discuss local solutions to climate change. The first-of-its-kind Climate Action event took place at Big Grove Brewery on Nov. 21.

Members of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby discuss local solutions to climate change. The first-of-its-kind Climate Action event took place at Big Grove Brewery on Nov. 21.

Reba Zatz

Members of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby discuss local solutions to climate change. The first-of-its-kind Climate Action event took place at Big Grove Brewery on Nov. 21.

Reba Zatz

Reba Zatz

Members of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby discuss local solutions to climate change. The first-of-its-kind Climate Action event took place at Big Grove Brewery on Nov. 21.

Jacob Shafer, News Reporter

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Big Grove Brewery was packed with community members Thursday who turned out to hear speakers talk about local initiatives and projects to combat climate change.

Following the city’s release of the 100-Day Report on its Climate Action Plan, the City of Iowa City hosted an event to display findings, initiatives, and information from the report to community members.

The city has created 64 actions to count toward its goal of achieving a 45 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and reaching net-zero by 2040. Half of its actions will begin in 2020, according to city council documents.

The event had several speakers from the city, nonprofits, and local leaders to start the conversation on how Iowa City will accomplish its goals in cutting emissions and stopping climate change.

Iowa City Sustainability Coordinator Brenda Nations said there were many events leading up to the city’s Climate Action Plan and Thursday’s event. Nations said in December 2016, the city established goals for reducing carbon emissions, but on Aug. 6 the city updated those goals in an attempt to reduce more of the city’s carbon emissions.

Nations said the city’s 64 different actions range from incentives to regulations, internal city policies, and projects to help residents of Iowa City see the community’s change to become more eco-friendly and learn how to participate.

The climate expo was the start of a series of events to help community members become more educated on their impact on the climate crisis, Nations said.

RELATED: Iowa entities join declaration to commit to Paris Climate Agreement goals after federal withdrawal

“It’s going to have to be personal choices people make…We can help,” Nations said. “We would like to assist and make sure people have the right information. We are going to need people’s help to do it and get there.”

Nations said the city can’t regulate how Iowa City residents use their energy in their homes or cars.

“We are on the right track but it will take a lot of different pieces to fit in place,” Nations said.

University of Iowa Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Jerry Schnoor began the conversation talking about what’s to come if there isn’t action to reverse the effects of climate change. He said the effects of climate change will be seen in Iowa with more storms and flooding.

“Students should be angry,” Schnoor said as he turned toward the crowd. “We are handing them a messed up planet that they have to fix.”

Iowa City Resource Management Superintendent Jennifer Jordan focused her conversation on recycling within the community.

“The biggest thing we can do is reduce waste,” Jordan said. “The stuff you buy, look where it comes from, but think about where it’s going to be in the years to come.”

Jordan explained the work she has done within the city’s landfill and recycling center. She said the city is rolling out more recycling bins within the community, making recycling easier and more of an option for residents.

Chuck Mead, an event attendee, said he was encouraged by the City Council and the plans it has in motion.

“I’m curious how far the actions will lead,” Mead said. “Hopefully, from here, to the state, to the nation.”

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