Environmental group unites companies, native governments
Brian Campbell is government director with the Iowa Environmental Council, a nonprofit, nonpartisan alliance of varied group and people together with county stable waste companies and conservation boards, the Iowa Farmers Union, searching organizations and companies.
Campbell grew up on the Alabama Gulf Coast and within the mountains of Western North Carolina. Since 2014, he and his spouse Gina and two sons, Ian and Elliot, have known as Des Moines house.
IFT: Please inform us in regards to the IEC and its mission? How lengthy has it been lively?
CAMPBELL: IEC was based in 1995 by a bunch of motivated Iowans together with environmentalists, pure useful resource advocates, enterprise leaders and lawmakers. They noticed the chance for these teams to work collectively on shared pursuits and priorities to realize actual wins. One of many first successes was motion to shut ag drainage wells throughout Iowa. Within the 25-plus years since our founding, the council has made good points in advancing enhancements in water high quality, sustainable land use, renewable power progress, and far more in Iowa.
As the biggest environmental coalition within the state, comprised of 100-plus member organizations, tons of of supporters, and 1000’s of engaged followers and motion takers, we do our work in another way than many environmental organizations. Whereas we’re engaged and lively in supporting work on the bottom, IEC focuses on federal, state, and native coverage to make sure a simply, wholesome setting and a sustainable future for all Iowans.
IFT: What are present priorities?
CAMPBELL: IEC stays engaged in work to enhance water high quality and sustainable land use and develop renewable power improvement and use throughout the state. In our water and land use work, we proceed to concentrate on bettering and strengthening guidelines and rules to guard consuming and leisure waters; to guard communities by implementing pure infrastructure options to flooding and addressing water high quality considerations; and to advocate for land use practices that enhance soil and water high quality throughout the state.
On the power aspect, we’re seeking to speed up the transition to scrub power by increasing, bettering, and sustaining entry to renewable power and utilizing power as effectively as attainable.
Moreover, this work is now guided by an organization-wide concentrate on local weather change adaptation and mitigation, in addition to environmental justice efforts to make sure all Iowans are shielded from the hazards of local weather change and profit from a wholesome, sustainable future.
IFT: Do you suppose agriculture is extra conscious of the altering local weather than possibly it was a decade in the past?
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CAMPBELL: The agriculture trade is extra conscious of local weather change than ever earlier than. Farmers know that climate patterns and the depth of storms have modified over the previous few many years. The extreme drought we’ve skilled over the previous two years with no indicators of aid heading in 2023 is simply extra proof that the local weather is altering, and agriculture can not ignore it.
Many within the ag trade see alternative in carbon-smart farming, renewable power and different local weather options. Not solely is carbon sequestration a giant space of analysis for agriculture, with trade attempting to develop markets, however agriculture has to contemplate different variations to a brand new local weather regime. Incorporating resilience into farming operations, like growing soil well being and retaining water for reuse, have gotten extra frequent practices. Ag is definitely being attentive to the rising electrical car market and anticipating the way it would possibly have an effect on commodity markets, and wind and photo voltaic improvement is presenting alternatives and sparking debates throughout the state.
IFT: How do you see the function of IEC evolving?
CAMPBELL: IEC has lengthy been a voice for Iowans that care about our water and land. That function stays the identical however has advanced to incorporate a wider vary of points, a extra holistic imaginative and prescient of the longer term, and a larger understanding of the intersectionality of financial, social and environmental points.
This extra holistic, intersectional strategy has additionally challenged us to suppose creatively in regards to the methods we strategy our coverage and advocacy work. We proceed to be lively on the state legislature, however we’re additionally more and more lively working with native communities and dealing to attach Iowans with federal assets. We proceed to function a watchdog, holding state companies accountable, however we’re additionally more and more targeted on accountability for companies that impression Iowa’s local weather, land and water. Lastly, we acknowledge that our coalition should evolve, so we’re dedicated to constructing a extra various, inclusive environmental motion in Iowa.
We consider Iowa is usually a chief in mitigating the results of local weather change and changing into a carbon impartial state. Measures to mitigate and adapt to local weather change can and also needs to create new financial markets, improve group resiliency, scale back air pollution, defend public well being and enhance habitat.
IFT: Are there points that you simply consider will transfer extra to the forefront within the coming years?
CAMPBELL: Clear, reasonably priced consuming water will all the time be a problem, however the impression of local weather change on our water assets will change the context of the dialog. As we’ve seen over the previous couple of years of drought, defending water high quality and making certain sufficient provide of fresh, protected water for consuming will grow to be extra of a precedence with extra urgency.
IFT: In the event you might ship farmers one message, what wouldn’t it be?
CAMPBELL: As Iowans that care about our state and as a state with an ag-centered financial system, we have to proactively envision and advance the way forward for farming within the face of local weather change. Farmers deserve a simply, considerate transition to the crops and land use of the longer term. Persevering with to prop up corn and soy markets just isn’t sustainable as markets naturally shift away from carbon-based fuels.
Planning for the long-term of agriculture requires foresight, creativity and coverage change. We received’t be capable of do what we’ve finished for the previous 50 years within the subsequent 50 years, and the ag group must be proactive and engaged within the transformation. Farmers ought to take again the reins on farm manufacturing choices by supporting coverage reforms that restructure the farm security internet, assist various farming operations, and strengthen antitrust enforcement and truthful competitors.