Drake student Holly Jones
From start to finish, the March to ReEnergize Iowa is nearly 35 miles -- a long distance to walk. But helping to educate individuals about the potential they have to create change and reduce global warming is a short step, says Holly Jones, a Drake University student from Mount Pleasant, Iowa.
Jones is a member of the Sierra Club Student Coalition and an organizer of the March to ReEnergize Iowa, which will start in Ames on Thursday, Aug. 2, and finish in Des Moines on Sunday, Aug. 5. Along the way, participants will hear speakers and performers talking about environmental issues such as coal, trade, biofuels, environmental justice and ways to take action in local communities. Featured guests will include Dr. James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie. The march will culminate in a rally at Nollen Plaza in downtown Des Moines.
"In Iowa, we're in a unique position because public officials at every level are listening to what have to say," Jones said. "We need to make the most of this attention by letting our leaders know that we want action on global warming now."
Organizers of the march advocate reducing carbon emissions by 2 percent each year and 80 percent by the year 2050.
The coalition of organizations, constituents and participants from Iowa will march simultaneously with a group in New Hampshire traveling from Nashua to Concord. Together, these two groups are believed to be the largest marches ever planned for global warming action.
Jones, a sophomore, is majoring in history and environmental policy. She is also a member of the Drake Choir and Alpha Phi sorority, where she initially got involved with ReEnergize Iowa. Although the only Drake student involved in organizing the campaign, Jones works with graduates from schools such as Cornell College, Wheaton College and University of Wisconsin-Madison among other colleges and universities.
The Sierra Club Student Coalition is just one of the campaign partners with ReEnergize Iowa. Other partners include the Sierra Club, Campus Climate Challenge, The United Steel Workers, Iowa Environmental Council, Iowa Citizens Action Network, I'M for IOWA, Iowans for Sensible Priorities, Iowa Farmers Union, Chinese Association of Iowa, Interfaith Power and Light and Methodist Federation for Social Action. Representatives from the labor community, churches and cultural groups also are helping with ReEnergize Iowa.
Jones said all Iowa government officials on the state and national level were invited to attend the march and final rally to sign a petition to reduce carbon emissions to 80 percent of their current level by 2050, create 2 million new jobs in renewable energy industries and require trade agreements to include enforceable workers' rights and environmental standards. "With the signing of this petition and the large attendance that's expected, we're hoping for the officials to realize that Iowans and the nation are concerned about fighting global warming and want them to take action now," Jones said.
ReEnergize Iowa isn't the only combat against global warming taking place on Iowa soil this summer. Drake University made a commitment to support clean energy and cut global warming when President David Maxwell joined the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment earlier this year. As a charter signatory of the commitment, Drake will complete an inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions within a year and develop a two-year plan to reduce emissions. The University also has endorsed the March to ReEnergize Iowa.
"With President Maxwell having recently signed the Presidents Climate Commitment, the endorsement of the March to ReEnergize Iowa will highlight Drake as a leader in the state, as well as the nation, in becoming a sustainable campus," Jones said.
March to ReEnergize Iowa march schedule (subject to change):
Thursday, Aug. 2: Ames to Huxley (10.4 miles)
• 9:30 – 10 a.m.: gather at Reiman Gardens, ISU campus, Ames to greet other walkers, prepare to start, Biofuels walking tour
• 10 a.m.: introduction and kick-off speeches featuring Ed Fallon, I'm For Iowa and Mark Kresowik, Sierra Club/Iowa Interfaith Power and Light / Ames Mayor Ann Campbell / Carolyn Raffensperger,
Executive Director of Science and Environmental Health Network
• 10:30 a.m.: depart for Huxley
• 10:30 – 5 pm: walk with water/lunch break half-way stop at Black Heritage Farms
• 5 PM – 6:30 p.m.: arrive at Railroad Park in Huxley for evening program, featuring David Osterberg, Executive Director, Iowa Policy Project, and Brian Joens, performer
Friday, Aug. 3: Huxley to Alleman (6.1 miles)
• 9:30 – 10 a.m.: gather at Railroad Park, Huxley, greet other walkers, prepare to start
• 10 a.m.: gather for morning speakers
• 10:30 a.m.: depart for Alleman
• 10:30 – 4 p.m.: walk with water/lunch break half-way
• 4 – 6 p.m.: arrive at North Polk High School, Alleman for evening program, featuring Alleman Mayor Bill Bodensteiner, and Community Energy service project
Saturday, Aug. 4: Alleman to Saylorville (11 miles)
• 9:30 – 10 a.m..: greet other walkers, prepare to start
• 10 a.m.: gather for morning inspiration
• 10:15 a.m.: depart for Huxley
• 10:15 – 5 p.m.: walk with water/lunch break half-way at Griffieon farm, second stop at Sunrise Park in Ankeny
• 5 – 7 p.m.: arrive at Saydel High School, Saylorville for evening program, featuring global warming issue workshops: coal, industry, biofuels
Sunday, Aug. 5: Saylorville to Des Moines (7 miles)
• 9:30 – 10 a.m..: greet other walkers, meet the press, prepare to start, featuring Lisa Renstrom, former President of the Sierra Club
• 10 a.m..: gather for commencement speech
• 10:30 a.m..: depart for Des Moines
• 10:30 – 3 p.m.: walk from Saydel High School to Des Moines
• 12 p.m.: Lunch stop and meet up at Birdland Park
• 3 – 5 p.m. final rally at Nollen Plaza, featuring music by Tubabu / Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie / the Rev. David Wood, First Presybterian Church of Waterloo / Carrie LaSeur, President, Plains Justice / David Foster, executive director of the Blue Green Alliance / Dr. James Hansen, director
of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies
For more information on ReEnergize Iowa, visit http://www.climatesummer.org/.