Opinion | It’s not too late to step up. Attend the Iowa City Climate Fest

The Iowa City Climate Fest will give residents of Iowa City a better understanding of steps we can take to improve the community.


Elise Cagnard, Opinions Contributor

If you’re like many Americans, you might have seen the International Panel on Climate Change’s 2021 report that came out this summer and felt a sense of hopelessness. With rising temperatures and no real programs set up to combat it, we seem doomed. You might have thought, ‘What’s the point of caring about the climate if we’re already so far gone? What can any one person do?’

There is something you can do. In fact, you can make an impact without ever leaving your own city.

The Iowa City Climate Fest is a celebration for the progress the city is making on climate action goals. Its purpose is to empower the residents of Iowa City to make goals and changes in their own life and identify resources available to them to help get this done. It also highlights all the steps that have already been accomplished locally and shows how people are making a change in the city.

This year, the event is being held from Sept. 20 – 25 and providing opportunities to experience the event both online and in-person.

Institutions like the University of Iowa have been actively working toward many climate goals. In 2020, the UI met its goal of obtaining 40 percent of the campus energy from renewable sources and producing less energy compared to previous years.

However, the university failed to meet its goal of reducing campus waste. The target was to reduce the trash going into landfills by 60 percent and instead redirect the efforts to recycling. In 2019, the rate was still at 39 percent. Therefore, remains important to keep reaching for our goals and be aware of what we can do.

This event is geared toward helping citizens gain an understanding of how that they can make an impact and help our city reach its climate change combat goals. If we all work together, we can make a real change in our community. Sarah Gardner, the event organizer, said the event should inspire people and move them out of the slump they can feel when tasked with the overwhelming project of saving the planet.

“The easiest way to believe a better future is possible is roll up your sleeves and get involved and Climate Fest is the perfect opportunity to do this,” Gardner said.

She said that while it might feel bleak looking at environmental progress from a global standpoint, Iowa City emissions have been cut down by nearly 50 percent in just the past 10 years. This just goes to show how individual actions in a community can have a major impact and help give people more hope.

The first two days of the event will be held primarily on Zoom and include virtual tours of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified buildings, tips on how to cut down on your emissions, and an insight on the green practices some Iowa City businesses are deploying.

Sept. 23 – 25 events will be held primarily in-person and include an outdoor movie and booths for different environmental organizations in the city.

This inclusive experience lets everyone enjoy the event in whatever way they feel most comfortable with. These few days are a great way to have fun while still learning a lot about what we can all do to help the planet and improve our own city.

So, if you feel you have more to give back to the planet, your next stop should be Iowa City Climate Fest.


Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.


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