Tag Archives: Featured

Climate Action at the local level

DES MOINES: The city of Des Moines is one step closer to moving forward with developing a climate action plan. On May 6, 2019, during a City Council work session, Eric Giddens of the University of Northern Iowa Center on Energy and Environmental Education discussed the results of a newly completed Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory for the city of Des Moines. Check it out here.

The city of Des Moines adopted the energy and water benchmarking ordinance at its June 3rd meeting. The much-watered down ordinance that was passed is not the end of it. The council will revisit the ordinance and a proposed change in August.

Later in the year, the city of Des Moines will be voting to approve an MOU with UNI’s Center for Energy and environmental Education to start the process of creating a citywide climate action plan! These efforts are being lead by the Des Moines Citizens Taskforce on Sustainability.

IOWA CITY: The city of Iowa City adopted a Climate Action plan in 2018. Check out their plan here. We appreciate the cities leadership in creating and adopting the plan. Now we must ensure the city implements to GHG reduction steps laid out in the plan. Stay tuned for how you can get involved.

AMES: The city has established key energy goals to reduce their green house gas emissions. In addition, the city is in the process of updating their greenhouse gas emissions inventory and creating a community solar garden. A community group – the Ames Climate Action Team – has formed to help push the city to do even more to address climate change.

New Farm-a-Save signs go up

For over 18 years, 1000 Friends of Iowa has been working to address land use issues in Iowa. One of the first tactics our early founders used to draw attention to land use issues across the state was by putting up Farm-a-Save signs along well traveled roads.

18 years later, the familiar signs are still letting motorists know that there is a better way! Recently, the signs that are on the south side of Interstate 80 near Earlham got an upgrade with new signs.

Co-founder LaVon Griffieon has recently re-painted and created fresh signs that are ready to go to their new homes!

If you are interested in hosting a set of Farm-a-Save signs, here is  what you need to know:

  1. Pick a strip of land along a well-traveled roadway, or empty store front windows.
  1. In order to ensure passerby’s can read the signs, the signs should be spaced 90 feet apart with a total length of 360 feet.
  1. Choose the set of signs you want, based on what is relevant for your area
    •  To the earth/make amends/park your car/bike with friends
    • These old buildings/Still got magic/their destruction/would be tragic
    • Urban sprawl/ain’t too pretty/save our farms/build in the city
    • Urban growth/on rural ground/how ‘bout raising/hogs downtown
    • Wal-marts and roads/Sprout up like weeds/and our tax dollars/are the seeds
    • Keep our mainstreets/strong and healthy/when we buy local/our towns stay wealthy
    • These lovely hills/unique beyond measure/time is a ticking/to save such a treasure
  1. You can pick up the signs or we can deliver to you.
  1. Once installed, keep the area mowed or free of weeds, shrubs, etc that will block the view of the signs.
  1. Take pictures and send them to us! We’ll let others know where they can see the signs at!

For more information or to get your get of signs contact us at kfoi@1000friendsofiowa.org or call 515-288-5364.

 

Take Action to Proct Topsoil

Protecting topsoil is one of 1000 Friends of Iowa’s highest priorities. In 2015, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Commission gutted the requirement to maintain at least 4 inches of topsoil on residential construction sites. Because topsoil is so crucial for flood mitigation, carbon sequestering, filtering out pollutants to keep our water clean and for growing the pants and food we depend on;  we are turning to local communities to take action to protect our topsoil.

To help communities and Iowa residents take action to adopt topsoil restoration and protection ordinances, 1000 Friends of Iowa has created a handy toolkit with how to’s, talking points and sample ordinances that we like. Get our toolkit here.

Take action! — Communities within the Greater Des Moines Metro Area have been talking about adopting a region-wide topsoil ordinance for a couple of years, but have been dragging their heels. The time to act is now!

Please do two things:

  1. Write a letter to the editor to the Des Moines Register calling on metro cities to adopt the topsoil ordinance. Submit your letters here.
  2. Contact your council members and mayor. Go to you cities home page and click on city council for contact information.

2017-2018 Topsoil ordinances

Congratulations to both the cities of Clive and Cedar Rapids for being the most recent communities to adopt topsoil restoration ordinances!

In 2017, we will reach out to additional communities around the state to adopt similar ordinances. Our soil is too precious not to.

Click here to download the toolkit

Click here to to see the Topsoil Restoration Guide from King County, WA

Click here to view the preliminary ordinance for the city of Clive

Let us know if you take this ordinance to your community by emailing us at kfoi@1000friendsofiowa.org 

Why it matters:

* Topsoil retention is very important to urban landscapes — growing plants need healthy soil. New homeowners with no topsoil left in place are often faced with very expensive soil remediation to even begin to establish healthy lawns, trees, and gardens. The savings to the building and construction industry (numbers that keep changing and are unsubstantiated) comes at a great cost to the homeowner and to the watershed.

* Rain events quickly wash fertilizers, also called nutrients, off lots that have been stripped of topsoil. This pollutes our rivers, lakes, and streams. Furthermore, it is costly for the landowner who must spend extra money for repeat fertilizer applications. Keeping soil in place contributes to natural storm water management solutions and helps build healthy, green, and more sustainable neighborhoods for future generations.

Stay updated on our topsoil protection actions at www.1000friendsofiowa.org.