It's a Wonderful Life - IEC Style

posted by Jennifer Terry on Tuesday, May 5, 2020

I checked in a couple of weeks ago with a longtime friend and supporter of IEC. We exchanged the now-typical inquiries about number of zoom meetings we attended that day (five), whether we’re striking the right tone with our communications during this fragile time (mostly), and how difficult short range, let alone long range, planning can be when balanced with the immediate need to track down the illusive bottle of hand sanitizer.

My friend stopped me short, though, when she pointedly asked “Have you ever thought about what it would happen if IEC went away? I’m serious!” she continued. “What might happen to our water, air, and land? What wouldn't be protected if there were no IEC?”

Her question was on my mind last weekend as I wound my way through southeast Iowa on a day trip through the countryside (masked and distanced). The wind turbines were spinning that day in Poweshiek County—steadily growing jobs, lowering costs for ratepayers, and reducing reliance on dirty fossil fuels.

A deserted beach at a county park—grass in need of mowing; boat house that used to house a concession stand years ago now deserted; reminded me how important it is to defend the integrity of the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Fund.

Laying out the arguments why trails and beaches are every bit as important to Iowa’s health and economy as miles of corn fields. Fighting like crazy when agricultural interests try to stamp out public land ownership. Holding the state government’s feet to the fire for codifying a water quality policy that is as ineffectual and failed as the broken down field sprayer I saw in a ditch.

The old ag drainage wells, many now capped, that mainlined farm pollution into ground water. The failed attempt last year at the Statehouse to snatch away Iowans’ right to affordable solar energy. The dozens of bicyclists spinning along a river trail, and a large sign in a farm field that said “Practical Farmers of Iowa: working together, always learning”.  

Wondering, as I passed farm house after farm house, whether the occupants had read our data about the dangers of contaminated private wells and whether they knew what they were drinking every day. Every year. For decades.

I confess I had a George Bailey moment, thinking back over the last 25 years IEC has spent fighting for, defending against, protecting and preserving, and forging strong bonds that connect Iowans from border to border. As in an “It’s a Wonderful Life” moment—knowing it’s an honor and privilege to stand on the shoulders all the leaders, workers, growers, bikers, scientists, birders, activists, analysts who made the work described above possible.

And I also thought, with gratitude, about the donors, the supporters, the partners . . . the community that is IEC that makes my job inspiring. As we mark a special Giving Tuesday Now, we thank you for your energy, your interest, and your support. Here's to a day of giving, years of hard work, and 25 years of making a difference for Iowa.  

Thank you!

  1. 25th anniversary
  2. clean energy
  3. clean water
  4. climate change
  5. drinking water
  6. land stewardship
  7. renewable energy
  8. solar power
  9. water quality

About The Author

Jennifer served as Executive Director of the Iowa Environmental Council from 2017 - 2020. Jennifer is a native Iowan, raised on a dairy farm in north central Iowa where she developed a passion for protecting Iowa’s land and water. After a career in the healthcare industry, Jennifer returned ... read more