Why we do our work: Protecting People & the Planet; Past, Present, & Future
For more than 25 years, the Iowa Environmental Council has been the largest environmental coalition in the state, leading the way in addressing urgent concerns impacting people and the planet. Since 1995, IEC has addressed issues related to water quality and land stewardship; in 2005 we added efforts to advance renewable energy in Iowa. Today we recognize that climate change and environmental justice are root causes of the challenges Iowa faces around water quality and land stewardship and continuing our push for a 100% clean energy future. We cannot address these individually without addressing them collectively.
Climate change is at the center of all our environmental work. We believe Iowa can be a leader in mitigating the effects of climate change and becoming a carbon neutral state. From renewable energy production to conservation practices that sequester carbon, Iowans are well-positioned to be at the forefront on climate. Measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change can and should also create new economic markets, increase community resiliency, reduce pollution, protect public health, and improve habitat. We will advocate for a just transition that allows people to realize the full value of Iowa’s land, water, and ecosystem services while securing a more resilient future for Iowa.
Our work is guided by a commitment to environmental justice. The consequences of climate change and pollution are not and will not be felt equally by all Iowans. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and their communities are disproportionately and unjustly impacted by pollution, public health disparities, and economic injustices. Additionally, implicit bias and systemic inequality are inherent in many environmental laws and regulations. We also acknowledge that our work takes place on the ancestral and traditional territories of numerous Indigenous peoples. We will look for opportunities to fight systemic racism and inequality where we find it in environmental regulations, laws, and policies, including examining the disproportionate negative impacts of poor water and air quality, flooding, lack of access to public lands and outdoor recreation opportunities, and high energy bills on BIPOC and marginalized communities. We must actively seek to address these inequities, or else the efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change will exacerbate them.