Iowa Climate Action Planning
by Ellen Wanamaker
Ames Public Library invites you to attend an Iowa Climate Action Planning meeting on Wednesday, April 14th at 7:00 pm via Zoom. To join the meeting, go to the calendar on the Ames Public Library website.
The meeting seeks to educate the public on what a climate action plan is, why a community needs one, and what goals might be included in Ames’ specific plan. You’ll have a chance to learn from climate action experts from neighboring cities. The moderator for the event is Vivian M. Cook, ISU graduate student in Community Development and Sustainable Agriculture. Panelists include Dr. William Gutowski, ISU Professor in Geological and Atmospheric Sciences; Josh Mandelbaum, Des Moines City Council Member; Sarah Gardner, Climate Action Engagement Specialist (Iowa City); and Tamara Marcus, Sustainability Program Manager (Linn County).
This program is presented in partnership with Ames Public Library, Ames Climate Action Team, The EcoTheatre Lab, Ames High School - CAUSE, Iowa State University (ISU) Department of Community and Regional Planning, ISU Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture, ISU Climate Reality Campus Corps, and ISU Center for Building Energy Research.
There are other ways to learn about climate change and climate action planning, and Ames Public Library is here to help. We have an extensive selection of books, magazines, and documentaries about environmental issues. In our nonfiction section, you can browse the 363 and 551 call numbers for books about weather, climate, clean energy, sustainability, environmental activism, and related topics.
One book that caught my eye is called “Weather: An Illustrated History – from Cloud Atlases to Climate Change,” by Andrew Revkin and Lisa Mechaley. It couples beautiful illustrations with short essays on topics like super droughts; deciphering rainbows; watermelon snow; climate clues in ice and mud; London’s great smog; peat bog history; eruption, famine and monsters; and dozens more. Some of these essays are serious, and others not so serious (the origins of Groundhog Day for example).
“Angry Weather: Heat Waves, Floods, Storms, and the New Science of Climate Change” is another timely book by Friederike Otto, an author who combines her expertise as a physicist, climate researcher, and philosopher to call attention to the human influence on extreme weather.
A new title by atmospheric science professor Michael Mann is called “The New Climate War: the Fight to Take Back Our Planet.” In this extensively researched book, Mann outlines a plan to hold corporations and governments more accountable for slowing climate change. Mann admits to the uphill battle against the effects of climate change, but offers optimism in what he calls a “perfect storm” of recent events that he thinks will propel us in the right direction. Those events include a series of unprecedented extreme weather disasters, a global pandemic, and a resurgence of environmental activism among young people.
A book that puts a positive spin on things is “Hope Matters: Why Changing the Way we Think is Critical to Solving the Environmental Crisis,” by Dr. Elin Kelsey. Kelsey writes about working with kids in 2008 through workshops led by the U.N. Environment Program Children’s Conference. She met with kids from 92 countries and was “overwhelmed by their expressions of fear, anger, and despair.” Kelsey pursued this idea of a mobilization of hope, and argues that “hope for the environment is not only warranted but essential to address climate change and biodiversity loss.” One of her successes is a social media campaign called #OceanOptimism, designed to share examples of ocean conservation successes and solutions.
Kelsey begins each chapter with snippets of her astounding poetry. One such poem reads: “What we pay attention to / shapes our lives / no matter what species we are / plant roots / sense and sidestep rocks / before they hit them / songbirds / avoid tornados / by listening for them / from hundreds of miles away.”
To dive deeper into specific environmental topics, join us for the 2021 series of EcoChats on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm via Zoom. Upcoming EcoChat topics include “Reduce/Reuse/Recycle” (May 4); “Water” (June 1); “Watersheds” (July 6) and “Electric” (August 3). More information and related materials are available at www.amespubliclibrary.org/ecochats.