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Marchers Create Unity on Climate Change in Iowa

A climate march and rally in Iowa on Saturday will focus on issues including the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Bold Iowa)
A climate march and rally in Iowa on Saturday will focus on issues including the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Bold Iowa)
April 28, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa – By tomorrow, more than two dozen Iowans will have logged more than 80 miles in eight days to build solidarity around the state on the issues of climate, health and the rights of all people.

The "Climate Justice Unity March" began in Millersberg on April 22, and Ed Fallon, executive director of Bold Iowa, is among those marching. He says while they've encountered some negativity along the way, they've also broken down barriers through simple conversations.

"One guy described himself as a dyed-in-the-wool conservative; he's a big supporter of wind energy; he knows we've got to do something about water quality," he said. "I ran into a guy in the park in Sully; he recognized my name from my time at the Statehouse and he said, 'We agree on nothing, Ed Fallon.' Ten minutes later, we picked out six things we agree on."

The trek will end in Des Moines on Saturday, where marchers will join hundreds of others at the State Capitol to rally for justice, jobs and clean energy. The event coincides with the People's Climate March in Washington D.C. and hundreds of similar events around the country that are protesting the Trump administration's work to dismantle the Clean Power Plan.

Kari Carney, executive director of 1000 Friends of Iowa, says here in the Hawkeye State, efforts will focus on local pieces to the larger climate-change puzzle. She says they are fighting back against the Dakota Access Pipeline, and efforts by utilities to push back against renewable energy.

"Alliant Energy has currently been working at the state level trying to end net metering, which is a rate tool that's used to make renewable energy more affordable," she said. "They're trying to undercut that."

Clean energy is a key tool in reducing emissions that contribute to climate change, says Carney, which is already impacting Iowa through increased rain events, droughts and extreme heat.

"Here in Central Iowa, we had virtually no winter at all, and really hot 70-, 80-degree days in February, and then turn around and the next day we have a freeze," she added. "So that has a big impact on what happens with farmers."

The People's Climate March marks the 100th day of the Trump presidency. Similar events will also be held Saturday in Cedar Rapids and Davenport.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IA