Climate change and environmental advocates flew a banner over the Iowa State Fairgrounds today, calling on Sen. Joni Ernst to acknowledge climate change and to act on policy.
“We’re out here today because Iowans are feeling the impacts of climate change more than ever and seeing it first hand,” explained Jennessa Agnew, Deputy Field Director from the League of Conservation Voters.
“Iowa Senators in D.C. aren’t even willing to acknowledge that this is something that’s happening,” Agnew said. “This year, we’ve seen record flooding across the state hurting families, farmers, the economy and the quality of life here in Iowa.”
The banner, organized by the National Wildlife Federation, Moms Clean Air Force and the League of Conservation Voters, reads, “Sen. Ernst, What the Flood?”
These groups, with the help of Link Strategies, organized a press conference at the fair near the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox to talk about environmental struggles in the state and demand senators like Ernst vote to move the U.S. to a 100% clean-energy economy.
Sen. Joni Ernst has been firm in her stances for some time now. As far back as November of 2018, Ernst said during a CNN interview that the climate “ebbs and flows.” Ernst said, “We know that our climate is changing, our climate always changes, and we see those ebbs and flows through time.”
More recently, Ernst “laughed off” some voters’ concerns about climate issues during a town hall in Denison. One attendee challenged Ernst on weather patterns and reports from climate scientists, which she responded to with a joke about electric cars and a broad critique of the Green New Deal.
“How many of you are going to sell your car today and go buy an all-electric vehicle?” Ernst asked. “Everybody shut your businesses and go home.”
The Senator’s attitude toward addressing these issues has raised concern amongst a good number of Iowans, especially as intense weather issues plague farmland across the state, and the Midwest.
“Earlier this week, Senator Ernst laughed off climate science,” said Frank Szollosi, Regional Field Director for the National Wildlife Federation. “[We] encourage [Sen. Ernst] to act on climate. The flooding, the heat; it impacts not just farmers, but also wildlife.”
While the agricultural issues related to flooding are a good talking point for rural Iowans to pressure Sen. Ernst to act on climate change, it’s far from the only example. Szollosi acknowledged the wildlife impact, and Karin Stein, of Ecomadres and the Moms Clean Air Force, brought up other impacts, and inequities, of climate change.
“We are asking Sen. Ernst and Sen. Grassley to support 100% clean energy by 2050 across the economy,” Stien said. “This means not just electricity generation. Why are we asking for this? Because of the incredible extremes we’re seeing in the weather in Iowa and all around the world.”
Stein spoke form her perspective as a mother, concerned about the health of the planet, and its inhabitants, for future generations.
“Please know that mom’s stand behind 100% clean energy and that we’re voters, and that we’re raising voters,” Stien said. “Thank you, and please take our voices seriously.”
by Josh Cook