Iowa ( , Lakota: Ayúȟwa) is a state in the upper Midwestern region of the United States. It borders the Mississippi River to the east and the Missouri River and Big Sioux River to the west; Wisconsin to the northeast, Illinois to the east and southeast, Missouri to the south, Nebraska to the west, South Dakota to the northwest, and Minnesota to the north.
Iowa is the 26th largest in total area and the 31st most populous of the 50 U.S. states, with a population of 3,190,369, according to the 2020 census. The state's capital, most populous city, and largest metropolitan area fully located within the state is Des Moines. A portion of the larger Omaha, Nebraska, metropolitan area extends into three counties of southwest Iowa. Iowa has been listed as one of the safest U.S. states to live in.
During the 18th and early 19th centuries, Iowa was a part of French Louisiana and Spanish Louisiana; its state flag is patterned after the flag of France. After the Louisiana Purchase, people laid the foundation for an agriculture-based economy in the heart of the Corn Belt. In the latter half of the 20th century, Iowa's agricultural economy transitioned to a diversified economy of advanced manufacturing, processing, financial services, information technology, biotechnology, and green energy production.
Climate action[edit | edit source]
Biodiversity[edit | edit source]
The ecology of the state of Iowa has been heavily affected by agricultural production, but remaining natural areas reflect a wide varieties of environmental niches.
Whiterock Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) land trust located in west-central Iowa that stewards over 4,000 acres of contiguous land located in the Middle Raccoon River watershed, and an additional 1,000 non-contiguous land located in the Brushy and Middle Raccoon River watersheds. The Whiterock landscape almost exclusively made possible by an extraordinary planned land gift from the Garst family to Whiterock Conservancy. The landscape is a mosaic of agricultural land, wetlands, preserved prairie and oak savanna, riverine woodlands, and upland forest. The land is also home to the historic Roswell and Elizabeth Garst Farmstead, which hosted Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in 1959, and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The land is used for recreation, environmental conservation, and for the production of agricultural products, and is managed as a working landscape where cultural, environmental, agricultural, and recreational land uses are held in equal importance.
Environment quality[edit | edit source]
The explosion in the number of high-density livestock facilities in Iowa has led to increased risk of rural water contamination and a perceived decline in air quality. Other factors negatively affecting Iowa's environment include the extensive use of older coal-fired power plants, fertilizer and pesticide runoff from crop production,.
Open spaces[edit | edit source]
There is a dearth of natural areas in Iowa; less than 1% of the tallgrass prairie that once covered most of Iowa remain intact, only about 5% of the state's prairie pothole wetlands remain, and most of the original forest has been lost. Iowa ranks 49th of U.S. states in public land holdings.
Community energy[edit | edit source]
Solar power in Iowa is limited but growing, with 137 megawatts (MW) installed by the end of 2019 and 27 MW installed during that year, ranking the state 40th among U.S. states. Iowa also generated 0.23% of the state's total electricity production in 2019 from solar energy; an amount sufficient to power over 17,000 Iowa homes. The state's early position as a major wind-power provider may have limited early large-scale solar investment.
Solar power in Iowa on rooftops can provide 20% of all electricity used in Iowa.
Making up over 62% of the state's generated electricity in 2022, wind power is the largest source of electricity generation in Iowa. In 2020, over 34 billion kWh of electrical energy was generated by wind power. As of 2022, Iowa has over 12,200 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity with over 6,000 wind turbines, ranking second and third in the nation below Texas respectively.
Cycling[edit | edit source]
The Mississippi River Trail (abbreviated MRT) is a designated bicycle and pedestrian trail that traverses the shores of the Mississippi River in the United States. The trail extends from the headwaters at Lake Itasca in Minnesota to near the mouth of the river in Venice, Louisiana. Much of the trail’s 3,000 miles (4,800 km) follows roadways used by motor vehicles, although some of the route is on multi-use trails. The segment in Minnesota has been designated as U.S. Bicycle Route 45 (USBR 45), part of the U.S. Bicycle Route System.
Wikipedia: Cycling in Iowa (category)
Food activism[edit | edit source]
Resources: Creating change in the food system, The role of regional food networks in Iowa, March 2012 (PDF)
Sustainable transport activism[edit | edit source]
Wikipedia: Hiking trails in Iowa (category)
Resources[edit | edit source]
Networks and sustainability initiatives[edit | edit source]
Citizens data initiative[edit | edit source]
Energy Data & Statistics for Iowa, from the U.S. Department of Energy
News and comment[edit | edit source]
Iowa's Climate-Change Wisdom, November 20