Meet the 100% Iowa Team Growing Grassroots Clean Energy Support
on Thursday, August 6, 2020
guest post written by Olivia Hicks, IEC Communications Intern
What is 100% Iowa and how did it start?
"100% Iowa is a grassroots campaign and capacity-building project of the Iowa Environmental Council (IEC) aiming to gain supporters for clean energy within the state of Iowa. Solar and wind energy, as well as electric vehicles and energy efficiency, are our main areas of focus," explains Jordan Oster, 100% Iowa lead. Clean energy education leading to advocacy, whether supporting policy, environmental awareness, or the economic value of renewable energy is key in building a movement. The end goal of the campaign is to gain support across the state and ensure Iowans have the knowledge, resources, and platform to speak out in support of clean energy issues at a local, state, and broader national level.
What are a few past project highlights?
In the mere seven months 100% Iowa has been active, the campaign has gained more than 2,400 supporter sign-ups. Since the campaign began right before the caucus season, 100% Iowa had the opportunity to attend political events and meet clean energy supporters. The project even created their own mock caucus with four clean energy candidates: solar, wind, energy efficiency and electric vehicles.
The team launched a virtual book club series in April called Renewable Readers. The first event featured an overview and Q&A discussion about Greta Thunberg's book Our House is on Fire. Last month the virtual book club series continued with Renewable Readers Jr. This unique edition, geared towards children, featured a read-along and discussion with young Iowans about Allan Drummond's Energy Island and all things clean energy. A recording is available on YouTube for young people to watch anytime.
“It is encouraging to hear younger voices speak about climate issues. They are learning and taking action for their generation and ones to come, so there is no excuse for the rest of us to keep delaying environmental efforts. We need to play our part in securing a better future for them,” said Raihan Rashidi, one of 100% Iowa’s clean energy field organizers.
Other highlights have included tabling at IEC’s Energy Efficiency Day and Environmental Lobby Day at the state capitol, mobilizing their network to participate in IEC’s Action Alert calling for the dismissal of a petition that would limit net metering for solar energy, and partnering with the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign and other environmental organizations to promote a 100% clean energy resolution in the City of Des Moines.
How has social media played a role in this work?
While less focused on a social media presence prior to the pandemic, 100% Iowa staffers are glad to have the opportunity to expand 100% Iowa’s supporter base digitally. Not only can they reach a broad demographic through various social media platforms, but digital content also is user-friendly through surveys, videos and graphics.
“Since we started our short video projects on YouTube in May, the effectiveness of our approach is apparent with viewers watching an average of over 70% of each video,” said Danny O’Halloran, a clean energy field organizer for 100% Iowa.
Supporter engagement is the foundation of 100% Iowa’s effectiveness, so they seek to push past text-heavy material and promote understanding through interactive and innovative means. This unique approach has yielded results: 90% of supporters were not previously followers of IEC.
100% Iowa aims to share the stories of everyday Iowans sparking change through clean energy. These include topical videos and graphics exploring clean energy themes, how those issues impact Iowans and a call to action.
What is in store for the future of 100% Iowa?
Although COVID-19 has prevented in-person events, 100% Iowa has several virtual events and projects coming up. August 1 the group launched a digital sustainability scavenger hunt running through August 31, mobilizing the 100% DSM campaign to fight for a 24/7 clean electricity resolution in Des Moines by 2030, conducting a virtual clean energy tour in September, and assisting with IEC's annual Bright Ideas Breakfast on October 7.
Why is it important to encourage community voices in conversations about clean energy?
“The core of what we do is community involvement. Sometimes your neighbor is the best advocate for you to get involved,” said Kristen Weaverling, a 100% Iowa clean energy field organizer. “Conversations about clean energy need to start at the local level in order for the movement to gain traction. Supporters would feel more accountable and motivated to make positive change so close to home as it affects them and their neighbors.”
That catalyst for action is what 100% Iowa is trying to spark, encouraging people to have that dialogue both in-person and online so that they can take time to educate themselves, become advocates and educate others. The more engaged supporters are, the more likely they are to take action. For example, since 100% Iowa supporters were engaged in the FERC Action Alert content, an educated supporter base was able to more quickly understand the complexity and importance of net metering and take action.
“At the end of the day, we want to empower Iowans to advocate for the clean energy transition in their own communities,” said Paige Penningroth, a clean energy field organizer.
Learn more about 100% Iowa at 100percentiowa.com. You can follow 100% Iowa on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can view 100% Iowa videos on the group's YouTube channel.
Meet the 100% Iowa Team
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|Jordan Oster, 100% Iowa Team Lead ||Raihan Rashidi, 100% Iowa Clean Energy Field Organizer ||Kristen Weaverling, 100% Iowa Clean Energy Field Organizer |
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|Paige Penningroth, 100% Iowa Clean Energy Field Organizer ||Danny O'Halloran, 100% Iowa Outreach Consultant ||Carter Oswood, 100% Iowa Outreach Consultant |