Author Archives: Maggie Dressel

Maggie’s Final Project

 I interviewed Blair Frank, climate activist and co-founder of Gaia’s Peace Garden in Iowa City and took a tour of the garden. My project will be a video about the garden, regenerative living, and being a water protector.


Here’s a few clips:

“There’s five grannies that are gonna go on trial…They were arrested the same day as my wife was. That’s an absurdity in the spotlight. If our system was working, would our grandmothers be on trial?”


“When it comes to oil…well, I’m working on it. I have ten solar panels. I have an electric car….There is so much alternative energy…when we find our collective voice…the people are going to demand the CEOs, the masters of energy, that now is time. Their pants are down. We know what’s going on. You’ve hidden the free energy…There is energy in the air. There’s energy everywhere! We don’t need fossil fuels anymore! We do not need them! Anybody that tells you different, tell them to turn their TV off and come over to Gaia’s and talk to me. ”


Maggie’s Initial Project Outline

Theme: Living regeneratively, in practice. The Little Creek Camp serves as an example of an alternative way of living.

General Storyline: I will explore the different aspects of the camp, such as housing, waste, energy, water, and food cultivation. I would like to explore how indigenous teachings influence the treatment of the land. I might do a “day in the life” at camp, talking to different people.

Main Characters: The land, the camp, the creek, the camp inhabitants and visitors

Interviews/Research: Christine Nobiss (Indigenous Iowa, Little Creek Camp creation), Robert Frazier (camp life and respectful presence), Jo Schneider (sustainable midwestern agriculture), and hopefully our very own Dawson Davenport on Indigenous Iowa and the Camp.

Arts Medium: Video seems like the obvious option for this project, but obvious isn’t always best. I am still looking into audio-only formats like podcasts.

BBC Story on Invasive Species–More to Come with Climate Migration?

BBC Newshour ran a story today on the Brown Tree Snake, an invasive species that is causing quite a problem for the ecosystem in Guam. Dr. Haldre Rogers, Assistant Professor in the
Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology at Iowa State University, calls the snake the “poster child” for invasive species and their impact. Believed to be brought over in the 1940s, the snake has since wiped out much of the local bird populations. The birds were essential to spreading the seeds of certain local trees and many of these trees are dying out. One invasive species can have a huge ripple effect on entire ecosystems.


Humans are not the only forced climate migrants. Animals are quickly losing their habitat and moving to new areas newly hospitable to them. The migration changes are altering ecosystems in ways we cannot predict–and we can assume will continue to do so as the global climate changes.


BBC Newshour 3/8/17 jump to minutes 18-23 for referenced interview.

Effects of Global Warming on Display in Antarctica

NPR’s Morning Edition interview about the acceleration of ice melting in Antarctica.



And let’s visit the bottom of the earth, Antarctica. It’s late summer there, and the high season for science is drawing to a close. We had a conversation about climate change earlier this morning with a researcher there, James McClintock. He’s a marine biologist with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and he was at Palmer Station, a research center operated by the National Science Foundation. McClintock described the first time he saw a chunk of ice break off from the nearby glacier.

JAMES MCCLINTOCK: It was quite exciting, 15 years ago, to see a calving, a big chunk of ice, hit the water up in the bay next to the station. The entire station staff would leap up and run down the halls and throw open the doors and look out the windows and watch this big event as the waves came down the bay. And when I arrived here several weeks ago, I was struck immediately by the changes in the glacier and the fact that it was lopping off these huge pieces of ice, instead of once a week, several times a day. So dramatic changes just in front of my eyes over this 15-year period.

Dressel Project Proposal

I am considering making a documentary-style video or possibly audio in a style similar to NPR’s This American Life. It would consist of mostly interviews with video, audio, or voice-over that would feature people with actual experience living in the spirit of regenerative communities. The intention is to humanize regenerative cities for the audience and make them seem tangible and attainable.


With Indigenous Iowa’s permission, I would love to focus on the Earth Mother Community Education Camp. They plan to “utilize sustainable technology and infrastructure and traditional indigenous agricultural practices” to be a model of sustainable, and I would argue regenerative, living. The project would hopefully also be helpful in spreading the camp’s message to the public, as was done with videos on Standing Rock.


Follow this link to learn a little more about the Earth Mother Community Education Camp from the Indigenous Iowa FB page

Climate, Construction, and Community

Buildings that blend nature and city

In this TED talk, Jeanne Gang talks about how building design can be sustainable and create community at the same time. Using sustainable materials and constructing as a community she states that the process and the structure “connects people to each other and to the environment.”

Projects start with conversations with residents of the area where the building will be constructed. The student center, high rises, and “polis” station all are constructed in a way to encourage community bonding while bringing some green space into dense urban areas.