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Waterloo JEDI Event

Environmental Justice


Iowans face environmental burdens that impact our daily lives. From public health and agriculture, to increasing stress on our economy and environment, the impacts of climate change are happening now, they’re happening here in Iowa, and they are intensifying. However, these burdens are not felt equally amongst us. 

People who have had less political power – particularly people who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, as well as low-income communities – have faced greater environmental degradation. They have not been well-represented in groups like IEC that advocate for a cleaner environment. Progress that only benefits those in power cannot fulfill our vision.

IEC recognizes that communities that are the hardest hit by the impacts of climate change and pollution may also have the least amount of capacity to respond to them. Therefore, we must ensure that equity and justice considerations are meaningfully included in all of IEC’s work and policy positions. This includes a just energy transition away from fossil fuels by minimizing the energy burden on Iowans, particularly those directly impacted by Iowa's remaining coal plants. Additionally, everyone deserves access to clean drinking water, protected public recreation areas, and a sense of safety in their communities.

IEC welcomes diversity amongst staff, but we acknowledge that our voice alone does not adequately serve the needs of the Iowan public. We recognize that in order to build a more just and equitable Iowa, it is imperative to elevate the voices of local leaders and amplify their work to implement real solutions to the real challenges faced in Iowa’s most disadvantaged communities. View our Environmental Justice in Iowa toolkit for more information about statewide considerations for environmental justice, as well as resources for interested advocates.

The Iowa Environmental Council advocates for the fair treatment and involvement of Iowans for a series of environmental justice campaigns:

  • Energy burdens
  • Degraded air quality
  • Flood concerns
  • Agricultural loss

On April 23, 2024, the EPA announced the Environmental Justice Clearinghouse, an online collection of environmental justice resources, to help the public access federal and non-federal resources for their communities. Learn more about the announcement and toolkit at the EPA's website