We All Want Clean Water

The “We All Want Clean Water” podcast is available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

About us:

Silvia Secchi is a Professor in the Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences at the University of Iowa.

Chris Jones is a Research Engineer at IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering at the University of Iowa.

This two-section essay (each of us communicating our own perspectives) outlines some of our thoughts on Iowa water quality within the context of production agriculture, and why we are beginning a regular podcast on this topic.

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Seniors can't afford another six years of Chuck Grassley

Kay Pence highlights Senator Grassley’s double standards on the federal deficit, depending on which party controls the presidency.

I was 4 years old when Senator Grassley first entered elected office. I grew up, got married, raised a family, went to college, had a career and now I’m retired. Who knows, I may have even voted for Senator Grassley at one time. A lot has changed in the last 62 years though: namely, Chuck Grassley. 

Normally I would support a healthy senior continuing to work as long as they want. However, I’ve always believed we send Representatives to Congress to represent our interests. The Alliance for Retired Americans has been tracking Representatives’ voting records since it was formed in 2001 and Senator Grassley has only voted correctly on senior issues 11 percent of the time.

 

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Catholic nuns to Cindy Axne: Tax the rich

Sister Jeanie and Sister Elaine Hagedorn, who co-authored this post, are Catholic sisters with the Congregation of the Humility of Mary. They live in Des Moines and are longtime advocates for Catholic social justice with groups like NETWORK.

No matter where we come from or what we look like, Iowans believe that working families deserve a fair shot. All work has value, and all working people have rights, from farmworkers in vibrant rural towns to factory workers in our bustling cities. But for too long, a greedy few corporations and CEOs have rigged the game in Iowa and across the world, taking from working people to make sure that a powerful few can get rich off the profit that working Iowans, particularly Black and Brown working Iowans, produce.

For years, wages in Iowa have stagnated for everyone, and the racial wealth gap has exacerbated inequalities embedded in our economic system. In particular, Black, Brown, and Indigenous workers have been pushed to the economic margins by systemic inequality in our tax code. Meanwhile, the climate crisis continues to put all Iowa families at risk as storms like the 2020 derecho devastate working neighborhoods.

As Catholic nuns with decades of ministry experience in Iowa, we have worked closely with those most impacted by Iowa’s inequities. Union workers, immigrant communities, hungry children, and houseless families have turned to social services, religious communities, and mutual aid efforts because of our state and federal government’s misplaced priorities.

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Climate change is on the ballot in Des Moines

Carolyn Uhlenhake Walker is a Des Moines resident and retired teacher.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently issued its Sixth Assessment Report on the Physical Science Basis of climate change. The report pulls together the best scientific knowledge about climate change, and it’s clear that the situation is more dire than ever. Human-caused climate change is undeniable. Its scale and scope are unprecedented, and its impacts are already being felt. Significant climate changes are inevitable, and we need to do everything we can to stem the bleeding. 

At a bare minimum, every elected official should recognize the climate crisis and be committed to meet it head on.

That’s why I’m disturbed a climate denier, Cory McAnelly, is running to unseat Josh Mandelbaum, a climate champion on the Des Moines City Council.

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Derecho brings hotter summers to Cedar Rapids

Eric Gutschmidt has been a real estate developer for twelve years, is owner of Gutschmidt Properties, and serves as president of the Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association in Cedar Rapids.

Am I the only one who noticed that it’s been hotter than usual this year in Cedar Rapids? When I wake up in the morning the weather forecast often projects temperatures in the 80s, but by midday it is already in the 90s. 

The forecast is based on historical weather data from back when we had trees, and well, that ain’t it right now.

As a landlord, I know tenants are having problems keeping their houses cool, even with the air conditioner running nonstop. It’s not just the increased temperature making the AC’s struggle. Many of my houses were shaded by nearby trees; now they are in direct sunlight.

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New Iowa carbon task force looks like greenwashing

“If someone tasked you with making an exhaustive list of who could profit from carbon sequestration, this is what you would come up with,” tweeted Chris Jones, a research engineer at the University of Iowa who has written extensively about agriculture and water quality.

He was referring to the Carbon Sequestration Task Force, which Governor Kim Reynolds established through a June 22 executive order. In a written statement touting the initiative, Reynolds said Iowa “is in a strong position to capitalize on the growing nationwide demand for a more carbon free economy.” She will chair the task force, and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig will co-chair.

The task force looks like a textbook greenwashing effort: deploying concern about about “sustainability” and “low carbon solutions” as cover for policies that will direct public money to large corporations in the energy and agriculture sectors.

One tell: Reynolds did not involve any of Iowa’s leading environmental organizations, which have long worked to reduce carbon emissions.

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