Trish Nelson, regular editor of Blog for Iowa, posted this photo on the Internet, reminding us that there is a world outside the confines of what Al Gore described as “the worldwide digital communications, Internet, and computer revolutions (which) have led to the emergence of ‘the Global Mind,’ which links the thoughts and feelings of billions of people and connects intelligent machines, robots, ubiquitous sensors, and databases.” That is, outside blogs, Facebook, twitter, the World Wide Web and cable TV.
On the real world front, while Governor Branstad was participating in RAGBRAI, his staff was meeting behind closed doors with regional Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff regarding Iowa’s compliance with the Clean Water Act. Read the community organizing group Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) article here.
Putting the best face on it, the governor is managing mandatory compliance with the EPA on a number of fronts, including the Clean Water Act. Elections matter, and Iowa chose Terry Branstad, along with his views on EPA compliance, in 2010. To put the Iowa CCI face on it, they recirculated their frequent meme, “…the Farm Bureau does not run this state,” and demanded transparency. Both points have some validity, and there is no surprise by any of this as both party’s positions regarding concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are well known and have been.
Here’s the rub. In the May 31 letter from EPA staffer Karl Brooks to governor Branstad, Brooks wrote, “I respectfully suggest that those regulated parties with the most interest in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation Clean Water Act permitting and evaluation should be invited to this conversation.” While some members of Iowa CCI may be “regulated parties,” the governor was under no obligation to hold public hearings on the matter and didn’t. The Iowa Farm Bureau response, with recommended revisions to the CAFO program work plan, was not only expected, it was, for the most part, the purpose of the meeting. The Iowa CCI response to the meeting was, like so many of their news releases, a red herring that gained some press coverage but diluted their effectiveness. I appreciate Iowa CCI making the information readily available, but there is no news here for anyone who follows water and air quality issues in Iowa. This meeting was predictable, and consistent with the Branstad administration outlook on EPA compliance.
For most Iowans who participate in RAGBRAI, it is a chance to get away from the daily grind for a while. The governor and thousands of others are participating in RAGBRAI, and for Branstad, as a politician, it was a photo opportunity. For Iowa CCI, RAGBRAI was a news hook to beat the drum on one of their core issues, one they know well. One of my groups, Veterans for Peace, uses RAGBRAI to publicize the true cost of our wars, as do a host of groups with their pet issues. All of it is good in what remains of our democracy.
The point is that involvement in a specific cause, regardless of how vocal one is, does not equate political change. There is a lot to hate about the Branstad’s approach to clean water, clean air and compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency. To effect political change means getting involved and working for political candidates, most of whom are subject to influence by moneyed interests like the Iowa Farm Bureau. Any candidate who dismisses as irrelevant the Farm Bureau, the livestock producers and row crop associations won’t be elected to statewide office in Iowa. It’s not going to happen in 2014.
Groups like Iowa CCI make political results more difficult when they throw out red meat as bait for their members and supporters, when most people are tuned out. For one, I’d like to see Iowa CCI less divisive and more involved with electing candidates that support progressive views, as many of their members are, and less focused on braggadocio after hammering the same nail once again.
RAGBRAI is happening, the summer weather has been unusually nice, and most people I know are unplugged from the global mind and living in the real world under Branstad until we can do better. For me, I prefer not to dip even a bicycle in the contaminated Mississippi River, long bike ride or not. Whether we as a state will do better on water quality and compliance with EPA depends a lot on whether people get together to elect a new governor in 2014. The work of doing so should begin now.
David Biello of Slate wrote an opinion piece in Newsday titled, “Why Don’t Farmers Believe in Climate Change,” on July 16. Link to the article here or here, but here’s a spoiler alert: it’s the Farm Bureau. I commented on the article, but my comment was removed because it violated Newsday’s conditions of use. It’s their world. What’s a blogger to do? If you’re reading this, you know the answer.
In the article, Biello wrote, “take, as an example of skepticism, Iowa corn farmer Dave Miller, whose day job is as an economist for the Iowa Farm Bureau. As Miller is happy to explain, it’s not that farmers in Iowa don’t think climate change is happening; it’s that they think it’s always been happening and therefore is unlikely to have much to do with whatever us humans get up to down at ground level. Or, as the National Farm Bureau’s spokesman Mace Thornton puts it: ‘we’re not convinced that the climate change we’re seeing is anthropogenic in origin. We don’t think the science is there to show that in a convincing way.’”
If there is a record drought like last year, large farmers will capitalize the loss over a period of years, plow the crop under and start over next season. For them, it’s just another aspect of dealing with farming as a business. This attitude is consistent with what I experienced when listening to row crop farmers in Iowa.
The idea, “they think it’s always been happening and therefore is unlikely to have much to do with whatever us humans get up to down at ground level,” is ridiculous. Climate change doesn’t just happen— it happens for a reason. And today, the main reason is carbon pollution from dirty energy like coal, oil and natural gas.
I encourage you to read the article if you are interested in the interface between Iowa farmers, the Farm Bureau and the environment. There is a lot to learn before Iowa makes progress in protecting our environment. Some say the Iowa Farm Bureau runs the state of Iowa. I say it could only do so in a vacuum of action from people whose views are closer to the reality of climate change.
DES MOINES- The Great March for Climate Action announced today that it is now ready to formally accept applications from prospective marchers interested in participating in next year’s eight-month, 2,980-mile trek from Los Angeles to Washington, DC. The Marcher Application and an accompanying promotional video were sent to 132 people who expressed interest in marching. The application and video can be found at ClimateMarch.org
“Sending out this application is very exciting for me,” reported Marcher Director, Zach Heffernen. “The diversity of individuals who requested an application is impressive. They age from 9-74, originate from all along the West Coast to the Midwest to all along the East Coast, and have backgrounds ranging from college students, to self employed business professionals, to medical doctors, to retirees and everything in between.”
“Today is a landmark day for the Climate March,” said Ed Fallon, March founder and director. “It’s the culmination of months of hard work, of laying a solid foundation for what we believe will be a pivotal moment in the battle to mobilize America to address the climate crisis.”
“Given the early interest, we are confident there are well over 1,000 people ready to make the commitment to march across America for this cause,” continued Fallon. “We now enter an important new phase, where we build a march community of 1,000 climate patriots. Not only will we march side by side for eight months, but we’ll learn how to live together, work together, and communicate the urgency of our message to the people we meet as we travel across the country.
“The release of the marcher application and promotional video is a huge milestone for the Great March for Climate Action,” concluded Heffernen. “It signifies a time for public engagement, an invitation for others to get on board by stepping forward for our planet and our future.”
If you are already on board and interested in marching, email Zach Heffernan at firstname.lastname@example.org and he’ll get an application to you right away.
Margaret Whiting of Waterloo will be exhibiting her artwork at the Faulconer Gallery at Grinnell College from July 19 until Sept. 8. The exhibit is titled, “Environmental Concerns,” and according to the gallery website, “Whiting carves, alters and recombines science texts, encyclopedias, law books and maps to raise environmental issues with her art. Her exhibition addresses such issues as: deforestation and the ways human laws help and hinder environmental protection, the connections between human health and the health of the land, and the patterns and systems that connect us all.”
A native of northern Minnesota, Margaret Whiting now lives and works in Waterloo. She graduated in Medical Technology from the University of Minnesota and received a BA from the University of Northern Iowa with emphasis in printmaking and paper making. She has worked as a medical technologist in hospitals and has taught workshops and classes in paper making and bookmaking.
Whiting has participated in numerous regional, national and international shows, and her work is included in several museum collections. Recently her artworks were exhibited in two national traveling shows, “American River” and “Paper Cuts: The Art of Contemporary Paper.”
Once again Iowa City will hold what is one of the more interesting events in their calendar year. Yep, the Rummage in the Ramp. This is a great way of recycling very useful items that may otherwise end up in the landfill. We have gotten many useful items there over the years.
The Rummage begins on July 26th at the Chauncey Swann parking lot under the College Street bridge. What is really neat is that there is new stuff every day, so a person must make multiple trips to or maybe miss the item they were looking for. Printers, couches, dining sets, who knows what may be there? Certainly worth a trip.
Here is the blurb for the Rummage from Iowa City’s web page:
When and where is Rummage in the Ramp held?
The event is always held the last week in July through the first few days in August to coincide with the apartment lease changeovers. The event takes place in the bottom level of the Chauncey Swan parking ramp, directly under the College Street bridge.
Date’s for this year’s Rummage in the Ramp will be Friday, July 26 at noon until Saturday, Aug. 3 at 4 p.m.
DONATIONS AND SALES will occur simultaneously during these times:
Friday, July 26 – Noon to 8 p.m.
Saturday, July 27 and Sunday, July 28 – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Monday, July 29 to Friday, Aug. 2 – Noon to 8 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 3 (LAST DAY) – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
On the last day, EVERYTHING GOES! Beginning at noon, we’ll implement a “Name Your Price” sales strategy. Come on down, see what’s left, and tell us what you’ll give for it!
How does it work?
Rather than throwing things away, students, tenants and other citizens are encouraged to donate their no-longer-needed items to Rummage in the Ramp, a giant garage sale sponsored by the City of Iowa City. The donated items are then offered for sale to incoming students, low-income families, and any other residents who are looking for great bargains on items for their home. The event is nine days long and is staffed by local environmental and human services nonprofit groups. These groups then split the profits from the sale to help fund their work in the community.
Volunteers will be on hand to visually inspect and help unload your donation. Items beyond reuse will not be accepted. Donated items are tax-deductible — please ask for a receipt! We’ll accept the following items for donation and resale:
Beds, frames and box springs
Household and kitchen items
Small appliances (must be clean and in working order)
Non-perishable food for the Crisis Center’s
Electronics and small appliances (TVs, microwaves, computers, monitors, printers, etc.) Please note that a $5 recycling fee will be charged PER electronic item in case we cannot sell it. This includes televisions, VCRs, DVD players, stereos, computers, monitors, printers, etc.
Not accepted: non-working, broken, badly torn or stained items; water beds
So the Rummage is not just for discarded college student things. If you have some unwanted items in house, this could be a great way to recycle.
Lastly, the city will pick up items from your house for a fee:
Need help getting your donations to Rummage in the Ramp? We can help! Beginning on Wednesday, July 17, follow the link below to schedule a pickup time.Times will be limited, so sign up early! Please donate only items that can be reused. Pickups are limited to homes within Iowa City city limits. The pickup fee is $10; additional recycling fees will apply for electronics.
In addition to cash at the time of pickup, pre-payment is now accepted using a credit card. You must be present at the scheduled pickup time. To pre-pay, please schedule a pickup using the link below, and then call Jennifer Jordan, Iowa City Recycling Coordinator, at 319-887-6160 to make your payment via a credit card over the phone.
So, there is a good chance I will be there several times. Maybe I’ll see you there?
Expanded Awareness as the Basis of Deep Green Business and Deep Sustainability
Symposium sponsored by the Department of Business Administration
July 5-6, 2013
10:00-12:30 and 1:30-4:00
FREE and open to the public
Sustainable Living Center, Room 12
Maharishi University of Management
Transformation of Consciousness
There must be a transformation of consciousness in order to truly “embed” sustainability in our companies and our society.
• How can this transformation take place?
• What are the mechanics of implementing change?
• How have businesses and communities facilitated transformation?
• What are the results of such a transformation?
Join us for a discussion of these and other questions as we explore the role of consciousness in creating sustainable business and a sustainable world.
For more information and to register, email email@example.com.
Schedule of Activities
Friday morning: Expanded Awareness for Deep Green Business
Vicki Alexander Herriott, J.D., LL.M. “What is Deep Green Business?”
John Ikerd, Ph.D. “The Essentials of Economic Sustainability”
Stuart Valentine, MBA. “Money and Life”
Friday afternoon: Applying Expanded Awareness in Business
Francis Thicke, Ph.D.“Sustainable Dairy Farming and the Future of Organic Food”
Paul Tarnoff, “Creating A Network for Sustainable Business to Support Expanded Awareness”
Scott Herriott, Ph.D. “The Seventh Generation Paradox”
Andrew Bargerstock, Ph.D. “The Resonance of Lean and Sustainability”
Friday evening: Art walk: Exploring Fairfield
Saturday morning: Applying Expanded Awareness in Technology
David Goodman, Ph.D.” Clean High Tech and Micro-business Low Tech”
Michael Garvin, Steve Fugate
Bob Pepper, President Yava Technologies, Inc. “Sustainable Mining”
Saturday afternoon: Applying Expanded Awareness in Leadership
Harald Harung, Ph.D. “World-class Performance through Expanded Awareness”
Jim Schaefer, Ph.D. “Raising Consciousness to Ensure Sustainability around the World”
Panel discussion: Challenges of Introducing Deep Green Business
Saturday evening: Dinner in Annapurna
Optional Sunday Morning: Expanding Awareness to Ensure Sustainability: The Next Step – World Cafe
JEFFERSON COUNTY FARMERS AND NEIGHBORS, INC.
P.O. Box 811, Fairfield, IA 52556 •
firstname.lastname@example.org • www.jfaniowa.org • 641-209-6600
Nationally Known Environmental Attorney Charlie Speer from Kansas City Creates Legal Team with Jefferson County Attorney David Sykes to Fight Problematic CAFO’s In Iowa
Jefferson County Farmers & Neighbors’, Inc. (JFAN’s) legal counsel David Sykes from Fairfield, Iowa has formed a legal team with the nationally known environmental litigation trio of Charlie Speer, Richard Middleton, and Peter Bieri to take cases in Iowa.
Speer is an award-winning environmental attorney from Kansas City. He has been fighting factory farms for over 17 years, working with Peter Bieri from Kansas City, and the Savannah, Georgia-based Richard Middleton. The team is known for achieving numerous multi-million dollar awards for their clients.
The expanded legal team is now providing new legal opportunities for Iowans to pursue in addition to community organizing efforts. Cases that are evaluated and considered viable by the new legal team will typically be handled on a contingency fee basis, and the legal team will only be compensated if they win monetary damages for their clients.
Sykes is a general practice attorney who, for eight years, has worked behind the scenes with the JFAN, a Jefferson County organization that has been opposing CAFO’s. He’s been representing clients fighting CAFOs for the last five. Sykes will organize new cases from Iowa and work closely with Speer’s legal team as cases progress.
“The Speer legal team has a national reputation for taking on CAFO’s and winning. They have a passion about their work and feel deeply about their cases and clients,” says Sykes. “They currently have cases in seven states and have significant resources to go the distance with CAFO integrators, such as Cargill, Prestage, and others.”
The new Iowa legal team came together after a large group of residents approached Sykes to fight Valley View Swine, a 10,000-head hog confinement sited between the cities of Batavia and Eldon, Iowa. Sykes reached out to Speer, and after they met together with the group, the two lawyers decided to work jointly to fight this CAFO and to consider other cases in Iowa.
Sykes says he feels this new team is partially the result of JFAN’s efforts over the past eight years. JFAN is a 501 (c) (3) grassroots tax-exempt nonprofit educational foundation that has worked to protect the quality of life of Jefferson County from the proliferation of factory farms. It has curtailed the efforts of at least six CAFOs in the county since 2005.
“JFAN helped the Batavia and Eldon group to organize. It has knowledge, resources and experience in this area. JFAN has made connections throughout the state and country, and they bring all that energy and knowledge in when they help a group organize. All these building blocks, all that synergy…I think that is what helped to attract Speer,” he says.
Sykes says this new legal team has the potential to discourage CAFO operators from going ahead with a confinement. “Given the marginal return on CAFOs, the cost of a jury trial and the possibility of having to pay a large financial award is a daunting prospect,” he says.
“This gives Iowans who live in close proximity to an existing or proposed CAFO hope,” Sykes added. “This legal approach helps to level the playing field for rural communities that are not able to financially go head-to-head against the deep pockets of multi-million dollar factory farm-oriented corporations. In addition to community organizing, Iowans now have one more realistic option for dealing with a CAFO in their neighborhood.”
For more information contact JFAN at 641-209-6600 or email@example.com. Visit our website at www.jfaniowa.org
I am a tree hugger. I make no excuses. I have been a tree hugger since I was quite young and found some of the most delicious food in the world came from our friends the tree. And until the neighbor caught you, the food was free. Over the years trees became the subject of many of my science papers for school, the object of my attempts at poetry and every fall becomes the subject of my awe as the seasonal changes take place.
Having said all that you can imagine what a heavy heart I had when I gave the final order to take down the huge ash in our backyard. It was planted a couple years before we moved here. But it was planted in a spot that was never quite good. West Liberty has electric, phone and cable wires above the ground. As the ash tree grew, it got tangled up in these. It grew so big and the leaves so heavy that it often brushed on the roof despite my attempts to keep it trimmed back. One of it’s major branches came down in a storm many years back, leaving a a hole I made some poor efforts at covering. It also looked as if it could land on the neighbor’s house in a bad storm.
So considering the situation we made the decision to bring it down. The first slice with the chain saw made me feel like they were cutting me.
The tree gave great shade on the south side of the house. When the kids were young the tree served as something to climb, the home for their sand box, the home for their tree house and at one time a nice shady spot for our little backyard pool. The shade it provided and the air it cleaned will be sorely missed. The birds and the squirrels will certainly need to look for new homes.
Our adult kids shed a small tear when they heard, but they understood. We plan to tear down our old garage and put up a new one nearer the house.
Then when all that gets in place the old tree will be replaced by a couple of smaller trees better suited to life in a small town.
Over the next several years the old ash will give us one more gift as we use the wood to warm ourselves in the winter by the fire. The memory of all that tree did for us will be extinguished slowly and with love.
Thank you, old tree.
On Friday a whisper came across the network press airwaves and wires,
By the time that wave came back after traveling all the way around the planet, we realized we had something Good, something substantial and something Real we could stand up and Celebrate,
After many a year of environmental activists protesting, hardwork and remaining rock steady and steel hard in our commitment and resolve we had two SOLID victories to our credit, A) Mid American announced it is dropping plans for a nuke plant in Iowa AND B) San Onofre nuke plant in California announced it is totally Shutting DOWN AHO! proving to all, once and for all, our hard work has merit fruit and worth to the effort, nullifying all the naysayers who say our work has no meaning, is fruitless and worthless, (of course most stand on the sidelines saying negative, destructive criticism, with no skin in the game)
Well, let this be instructive to one and all, there IS a method to this madness and IT WORKS!
In fact, this is the only way forward as step by step, one by one we take down ALL the nuke plants, nuke weapons and totally SHUT DOWN King CONG(Coal, Oil, Nuclear, Gas) Can ya hear us Comin Halo at Palo, you’re about to be consigned to the dust bins of an illegitimate unjust history,
For All of You who have STOOD UP and Protested, Congratulations!!!
You have a day to Celebrate
Knowing that all your hard work has paid off and is beginning to turn the tide planetarily
to a Homo Solaris Solar Powered Day Planet wide
You truly are planetary heroes
walk and stride in pride
Workers for Peace Iowa
click on this:
The Iowa Sustainable Business Alliance (isballiance.org)
extends an invitation to you to attend a very special talk:
Who: Jeffrey Hollender (Founder of Seventh Generation Natural Products, Chairman of the Board of Greenpeace USA)
When: Saturday, June 22, at 10 am
What: A speech entitled ‘Responsibility Revolution”
Where: The Arts & Convention Center, Fairfield, Iowa
Who is Jeffrey Hollender and why is this talk important?
Jeffrey Hollender is a leading authority on corporate responsibility, sustainability and social equity. More than twenty years ago, he co-founded Seventh Generation and went on to build the fledgling company into a leading natural product brand known for its authenticity, transparency, and progressive business practices. It is now one of the country’s largest and most successful green products companies. Today, as a social entrepreneur, author, speaker, consultant, and activist, Jeffrey’s mission is to inspire and provoke business leaders to think differently about the role they and their companies play in society. Along the way, he’s working to drive systemic change that makes it easier for businesses to become radically more sustainable, transparent and responsible.
Jeffrey also co-founded the American Sustainable Business Council (www.asbcouncil.org), which includes over 200,000 businesses. Last June, ABSC and the White House gathered a group of big names and small business owners together, upholding the promise to give its members’ access to the government and policy makers to voice real concerns. Troy Van Beek and Laura and Paul Tarnoff, from Fairfield attended. They had the chance to pick the brains of 7 cabinet members and over 30 key policy makers. This was the inspiration for gathering our team to create ISBA.
Jeffrey’s talk inaugurates the official debut of The Iowa Sustainable Business Alliance(ISBA). ISBA is a member organization of Iowa businesses, organizations, social enterprises, and individuals advocating for a prosperous, accountable, and just Iowa economy. ISBA unites Iowans and businesses committed to developing sustainable solutions capable of supporting the needs of today and future generations. Through representation, advocacy, and community ISBA becomes a catalyst for change. ISBA will inform and engage the public, policy makers, and the media, highlighting the necessity, opportunity, and benefits of building a more sustainable economy. ISBA hopes to work with and support all of Iowa’s environmental groups through education of businesses and individuals and through legislation and lobbying.
This talk will cover sustainability, responsibility and social equality. Come discover SOLUTIONS THAT REALLY WORK!!!
Please feel free to email this to any friends or associates you think might be interested.
Please spread the word!!!! Thanks!!! We look forward to seeing you there.
Contact: Laura Tarnoff – Project Coordinator – Iowa Sustainable Business Alliance
P.S. For information on becoming a member of Iowa Sustainable Business Alliance please visit: http://www.isballiance.org/#!member-benefits/c58h