Collective Action Has Power: Working Together to Address Climate Issues

posted by Raihan Amir Rashidi on Friday, May 29, 2020

Earth Month came during an unparalleled time for our planet, forcing many of us to find new ways to celebrate and protect our beautiful home. Like a number of other organizations, we at 100% Iowa, a program of the Iowa Environmental Council, have been transitioning our clean energy work to the digital space. In April, we organized the online Renewable Readers: A Virtual Book Club Event, partnering with the Iowa Beyond Coal campaign. 

Virtual BookclubThe chosen book for our virtual gathering was the publication “Our House Is On Fire” by Greta Thunberg and her family members. The stories we experienced, the lessons learned, and the ideas shared were especially poignant in April, but remain applicable any day of the year and I encourage you to add this book to your summer reading list.

The book is told mostly through the mother’s lens, with a few chapters written by the then 15-year-old climate activist herself, revealing that their family’s personal struggles with inconspicuous mental health issues were what eventually led to their fight for a better climate and a better world. 

Written in 2018, the family advises readers about stepping back and slowing down from our insatiable lifestyles before it creates irreversible damages to the environment. Kerri Johannsen, IEC Energy Program Director and reader, said that the Thunberg family were somewhat foretelling the future. Today, we are facing a global health crisis that has taught us to take a step back, care for ourselves and each other, and briefly pause from progress. Collective effort is needed to stop the pandemic -- the same applies to the climate crisis. We all share a responsibility to take care of our planet, albeit some heavier than others. 

Kristen Weaverling, event moderator with 100% Iowa, admitted that as an environmentalist, she makes trade-offs like implementing energy efficiency measures to justify her love for traveling. This sentiment was echoed by an attendee who does environmental advocacy projects during her free time but works in a field that contributes to large CO2 emissions. Many of us admitted that we often question if we were doing enough to help tackle climate change.

In response, Emma Colman from Iowa Beyond Coal reminded us, “It is something a lot of people struggle with. But if you continue to improve your efforts and share your knowledge in some form of advocacy to someone new, it can change their whole lives and they would teach another person.” A chain reaction occurs and the hope is it never stops.

This is the power of activism. Greta began her school climate strike in August 2018, and today inspires millions of people around the world to fight for the climate with her. All of these voices are important in order to make structural changes and they yield impactful results.

There is evidence of this right here in Iowa - Jordan Oster of IEC explained that environmental advocates laid the groundwork for Iowa’s clean energy expansion, and today wind is the state’s top source of electricity. 

You can add your voice to the call by getting involved with 100% Iowa, a project of the Iowa Environmental Council, to continue the call for growth of clean, renewable energy to protect our planet. Stay connected with clean energy news and events by signing up for 100% Iowa and following our Facebook page.

  1. carbon pollution
  2. clean energy
  3. climate change
  4. energy efficiency
  5. renewable energy
  6. wind power

About The Author

Raihan joined was with the Council as a Clean Energy Field Organizer and Energy Campaign Coordinator from 2019-2022. Raihan worked on 100% Iowa, IEC’s grassroots initiative to expand on the state’s clean energy movement. She engaged multiple stakeholders in communities across Iowa to ... read more