3 Takeaways from IEC's 2017 Annual Conference
by EMILY HOLLEY on Thursday, October 19, 2017
On October 5, the Iowa Environmental Council welcomed nearly 200 attendees, 20 exhibitors and over a dozen speakers to the DMACC FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny for our 2017 Annual Conference. This year’s theme, “ACT Iowa: Local Solutions for a Healthier Environment” inspired attendees to learn about exciting ways individuals, businesses and communities are working together to make Iowa a safer, healthier place to live.
Here are three takeaways from this year’s conference to inspire you to think differently, take action in your own communities and fight for Iowa’s environment.
Advocacy is power
Our most popular panel featured a discussion on the power of advocacy for Iowa’s environment. Marc Beltrame, Attorney at Brown Winick, and Kerri Johannsen, IEC Government Affairs Manager, educated a captivated audience that the most powerful and effective way to advocate for Iowa’s environment is to share your personal story. By sharing your personal connections to Iowa’s land and water, and how policies will impact those connections, you are inviting a policymaker to explore similar connections. Attendees were encouraged to be bold and build relationships with their legislators outside of the Iowa legislative session by inviting them to see and participate in current projects or by meeting them at community events or public forums.
Sustainability increases quality of life
The Mayor of Fairfield, Iowa, Ed Malloy gave an engaging talk sharing sustainability measures the City of Fairfield has enacted over the past several years and the resulting positive effects on the community and businesses. Since enacting their green plan to create a sustainability culture, foster economic development and create sustainable community design and infrastructure, Fairfield has seen growth in population, efficiency, entrepreneurship and public-private partnerships. Most importantly, Mayor Malloy reminded us that every town in Iowa, and the country, is able to create a sustainability culture. The only question now is what city will be next?
Livestock production can be part of a sustainable environment
Our keynote speaker was Nicolette Hahn Niman, sustainable rancher, attorney, vegetarian and author of “Defending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Meat Production”. Her presentation challenged attendees to think outside of the box when it comes to livestock production. She reasoned that grass-fed, sustainably raised livestock could actually be a solution to environmental problems. She gave the example that good grazing from grass-fed beef actually results in more water in local ecosystems.
As environmental problems increase across Iowa and the country, it is time for all of us to explore innovative solutions and to be bold and tenacious. What environmental changes can you enact in your home, business and community?
Thanks to our generous sponsors, attendees, speakers and board for making this year's conference possible.