Facing Down Climate Change: Changing Fear to Hope and Action

posted by Angelisa Belden on Friday, April 15, 2022

Windmill by Macksburg, Iowa"In 2010-2019 average annual global greenhouse gas emissions were at their highest levels in human history, but the rate of growth has slowed. Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, limiting global warming to 1.5°C is beyond reach. However, there is increasing evidence of climate action...

Since 2010, there have been sustained decreases of up to 85% in the costs of solar and wind energy, and batteries. An increasing range of policies and laws have enhanced energy efficiency, reduced rates of deforestation and accelerated the deployment of renewable energy."

That's according to the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released this month. The report talks of action and hope, yet it gave one clear message: we must dramatically reduce our use of fossil fuels in the next eight years to maintain a livable climate for the next generation.

It is clear our climate is changing. Drought, floods, derechos, extreme weather – Iowa has experienced it all… and just in the last 5 years.

Climate March 2019IEC has watched and listened to the science from the IPCC and other scientists across the US, and right here in Iowa. We’re taking action to fight climate change here at home. We’re pushing utilities to close unnecessary, CO2-spewing coal plants in our state by 2030 with the #CleanUpMidAm campaign.

We’re working on policies to encourage the transition to electrification and the continued growth of renewable energy in Iowa. We’re advocating for clean water protections and flood resilient infrastructure in the face of our changing future.

As a citizen of this planet, and a mom with two young children who will become adults and attempt to get jobs, buy homes, and live safely in the fraught future ahead, this work is incredibly personal and incredibly important to me. 

According to the IPCC report, "children aged ten or younger in the year 2020 are projected to experience a nearly four-fold increase in extreme events under 1.5°C of global warming by 2100, and a five-fold increase under 3°C warming." 

In our basement, March 2022

My children are already terrified of any rain or thunder, convinced another derecho or tornado will soon be ripping through their yard. Anytime a storm siren sounds - and that's been more frequent in the past few years - the tears start. We're still not accustomed to spending so much time in our basement, like we did in March 2022 as a massive tornado chewed its way across central Iowa.

The IPCC report and other climate news can be uncomfortable to face. Climate anxiety is a real thing affecting many Americans, and many Iowans. I am afraid for my children, yet inspired by the opportunities I know exist if we only have the willingness to be open. Maybe you think solar panels just aren't that pretty, or an electric vehicle might not be as convenient as a quick pit stop at Casey's. But the future will require much more from all of us if we aren't willing to adopt, drive, and demand changes in our fossil fuel use today.

No nature, no future at climate protest 2022No matter what you do, know as you do the work – calling on local and national leaders for change, attending climate strikes and marches, participating in environmental activities around the state, and so much more – that you’re not alone. IEC stands with you and your passion for our planet and together, we can change our course.  

  1. carbon pollution
  2. clean energy
  3. climate change
  4. resiliency

About The Author

Angelisa served as IEC's Communications Director from 2018 to 2024.

Previously, she worked in membership and marketing for WTTW, Chicago’s PBS station. Angelisa grew up along the Turkey River in Fayette County, Iowa, and earned her B.A. in Communications and Journalism from th ... read more