Team Introductions: Meet Elizabeth Wagner
by Elizabeth Wagner on Monday, November 29, 2021
Growing up in Dubuque, Iowa, my family and I had access to a variety of outdoor green spaces. Whenever we wanted to get outside, we were always able to go for a walk alongside the Mississippi River or take a hike at the Swiss Valley trails. One of my favorite things to do was take a short drive with my friends to the Maquoketa Caves for a day, and explore the dark tunnels and tall stairways that the state park had to offer. However, even though I was surrounded by natural spaces, I grew up with very little knowledge about the environment.
I discovered my passion for sustainability and conservation during my first year at the University of Iowa. At the time I was an open major and had no idea what sort of future I wanted to pursue. I took a course called Contemporary Environmental Issues to fulfill a general education credit, and from that point on my mindset was completely changed. I was truly shocked that, at the age of eighteen, I had never before learned about the magnitude or severity of the environmental issues that exist today—not only the changing climate, but also the environmental inequities that exist as a result of racist and unjust social, economic, and political processes. After that semester, I decided that I would do whatever I could to learn more about these issues, and how I can become a part of the solution.
I am now currently a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa studying Environmental Policy and Planning, as well as pursuing a Social Justice minor and Sustainability Certificate. I first learned about the Iowa Environmental Council during my search of local environmental organizations when I was looking for ways to get further involved in my community. I was really drawn to IEC’s mission, work, and commitment to environmental justice, and I knew that I would love to be a part of the meaningful work that they are doing.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to work as 100% Iowa’s Clean Energy Field Organizer in Iowa City, and to be able to work every day with such a dynamic team. Not only do I get the chance to advocate for a clean and healthy environment with my fellow community members, but I continue to learn something new every day. I have greatly enjoyed my time here thus far, and I look forward to collaborating further with local residents, organizations, and businesses, and working together towards our goal of an equitable transition to 24/7 carbon-free electricity.