# Environment



Book review: The Land Remains

Larry Stone reviews Neil Hamilton’s new book The Land Remains: A Midwestern Perspective on our Past and Future.

Many of us baby boomer farm kids recall growing up in the 1950s and 60s walkin’ beans, baling hay, quail in the fencerows, and “the back 40.” But you don’t need a time machine to recapture that era, or to ponder the future of Iowa agriculture. Just read The Land Remains, by Neil D. Hamilton.

Raised on an Adams County farm, Hamilton earned forestry and law degrees before becoming director of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University in Des Moines. He recently retired after 36 years. His memoir traces his growing awareness of how our agricultural policies have shaped not only the land but also the very fabric of our society.

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Calling on MidAmerican to partner with DSM on climate, clean energy

Dr. Brian Campbell is Executive Director of the Iowa Environmental Council and a member of the Des Moines Citizen Task Force on Sustainability.

I joined the Des Moines Citizens Task Force on Sustainability in 2017. Formed in the wake of the Paris Climate Agreement, this small, dedicated group of volunteers have worked with the city on important sustainability initiatives over the years, including the city’s 2021 resolution committing to 24/7 clean energy by 2035.

It’s hard to overstate how important MidAmerican Energy is to achieving this goal, with 50 percent of Des Moines’ greenhouse gas emissions from electricity and another 25 percent from natural gas—all supplied by MidAmerican. Although the utility has made significant investments in wind energy in Iowa, it remains the state’s largest climate polluter by operating five coal plants.

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Environmental scorecard for the Iowans in Congress

Sheri Albrecht is a member of Indivisible Cedar Rapids Metro and on the executive committees of the Sierra Club’s Iowa Chapter and Cedar-Wapsie Group.

EcoFest 2022 was held on April 23 at the NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids in celebration of Earth Day.

Our local Indivisible CR Metro group hosted a table. We had three goals: 1) Find out what issues were most important to the people who visited our table; 2) In keeping with the ecological theme of the event, provide data showing attendees how their legislative representatives voted on environmental issues; and 3) Encourage ordinary citizens to engage with their elected representatives.

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Iowa Democrats won't speak truth to ethanol power

The biofuels industry got a big win in the Iowa legislature this week, as the state House and Senate approved a bill requiring most gas stations in the state to dispense a higher ethanol blend known as E15 from at least half of their pumps.

All but a handful of Democratic legislators voted for the bill, and no Democrat spoke against the proposal during Senate or House floor debate.

It was the latest example of how Iowa Democratic politicians have embraced biofuels industry talking points and avoided challenging any policies seen as supporting ethanol.

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Progressive Caucus passes resolution condemning carbon pipelines

Brian McClain chairs the Iowa Democratic Party’s Progressive Caucus.

For decades now, corporate interests have had their way in Iowa and both parties have been complicit. It is time for the Iowa Democratic Party, the Party of the People, to say “enough is enough.” It is time to ask our elected officials, our candidates, our leaders which side they are on. Are they on the side of the oligarchs and corporations that seek to profit off the backs of all Iowans, or are they on the side of the people?

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Interview: John Norwood outlines his vision for Iowa agriculture

Polk County Soil and Water Commissioner John Norwood announced on February 7 that he will run for Iowa secretary of agriculture as a Democrat. In a news release enclosed at the end of this post, Norwood promised to “protect urban and rural consumers, expand economic opportunities around diversified food and agricultural production, and advocate for the needs of ALL food, grain, and livestock producers.”

He added that he wants to create a “a modern vision for Iowa for its highly productive but “unbalanced” agricultural system,” in order to provide “healthy soil, clean air, swimmable/fishable waters and safe drinking water for everyone.”

Norwood expanded on his vision in a recent telephone interview with Bleeding Heartland. (Disclosure: I have known the candidate since before this website existed and consider him a friend.)

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