Climate Change – Greenhouse gas emissions damaging Iowa’s crop production

This is just a fraction of the trash thrown away at the Cedar Falls Transfer Station everyday. Although they do their best to recycle and resell some of the waste, most of it cannot be recycled and will sit in the Waterloo landfill.

The wildfires in California have destroyed all in its path, leaving many people without homes and available medical care. 

The natural disasters like this one have been going on for a while now, but have become more often and even worse due to the changing climate. This change in the environment has been a long time coming because of the amount of greenhouse gases humans emit. 

These recent events have opened the eyes of many people who have realized just how much humans have an impact on the environment. 

This change is not only impacting the coast, but it’s also affecting the Midwest, including Iowa. The primary source of income for Iowa’s economy is producing crops and has been for many years, but with the recent effects of climate change, Iowa is becoming more unstable. 

According to the Associated Press analysis of weather data, climate change is going to make growing crops very difficult because extreme climates lead to soil erosion from increased precipitation which leads to flooding as well as a decrease in air and water quality. 

According to the Climate Nexus study of greenhouse gas emissions, agriculture is the second largest contributor to greenhouse gases with the amount of methane and carbon dioxide emissions, so Iowans are killing their own crops, but if they were to adapt to the changes and switch to more eco-friendly options, they could slow the increase in temperature and extreme conditions.

What can we do to help?

Temperatures in Iowa have been rising and will continue to rise until something is done to stop it.

Cedar Falls is one of the more eco-friendly cities in Iowa, with the transfer station where people can recycle, and the solar farm allows users to receive a credit based on the output of their panels. The city also utilizes a compost pile from yard waste, but Cedar Falls could be doing a lot of things to bring itself up on the list of most eco-friendly. 

1. Curbside recycling because currently, according to Mayor Jim Brown, those who want to recycle with their trash, they have to pay extra to a private company to recycle, and not everyone can pay extra for that service. 

2. Zero emission buses could also be very effective at reducing the carbon footprint. 

3. Encouraging people to recycle their plastic bottles as well as encouraging restaurants to recycle their recyclable materials would also help. Using recyclable and reusable products and eliminating the amount of garbage the average person makes are also worthy options.

But this isn’t going to reverse the effects of climate change, so people still need to be prepared and educated on disaster prevention and what they could do to help after one occurs. The Red Cross has been one of the most helpful organizations with disaster relief, and they have a lot of good information on their website, and their volunteers are also very educated on the matter.

What could someone in Iowa do to help after disasters like the one in California?

According to the Regional Communications Officer Caslon Hatch, “There are a lot of organizations and government partners working on recovery efforts right now, including the American Red Cross so there are a lot of great ways Iowans can help. If Iowans want to help through the Red Cross, they can donate at www.redcross.org/donate. People who donate can specifically choose where they want their money to go, including disaster relief.”

How many volunteers from Iowa helped in California?

“Right now at least 15 trained Red Cross volunteers from Iowa are in or just recently returned from California after assisting survivors of the devastating wildfires. Workers helped in many of the shelters that were set up in California, providing meals to eat and casework to those who lost everything to help guide them in what to do next when it comes to rebuilding their lives. Red Cross workers are also on the ground providing emotional support for those who need it.”

What can someone do to help prevent disasters?

“For future disasters, people in Iowa can become Red Cross volunteers. All volunteers who want to deploy must go through training before doing so. There are also other services the Red Cross provides including blood donations and disaster prevention like educating the community on what to do before a wildfire hits, a tornado strikes or a hurricane approaches.”

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