Monthly Archives: March 2016

Ayman’s CNP Outline: Day in the Life of Islam, Iowa City and Climate Justice

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 2.20.26 PMWorking draft of Ayman’s Climate Narrative Project. “A Day in the Life of Islam, Iowa City and Climate Justice.”

Theme: Climate Justice and Islam

Arts Medium: “Day in the Life” series of photos, with verses from Islam, descriptions.

Story Outline:

Morning: Photographs of rising, any rituals, prayers. Photographs of breakfast. Photographs of kids going to school.


Day: Photographs of daily chores, cooking, sources of food, etc.


Lunch: Photographs of lunch.


Afternoon: Photographs of kids, park, nature, prayers. Photographs of your study, garden?


Evening: Photographs of evening meal.


Night: Prayers.


Day in the Life photo series:

Islam and Climate Change

Kara’s Climate Narrative Project: Women and the Environment

Theme:  The relationship between women’s equity and environmental/climate justice issues; both how climate change affects women and how women contribute to the fight against climate change

General storyline: “Monologues” from different women about their connection with climate change; may be a mixture of cohesive stories with simple thoughts and phrases

Main Characters and Interviews:  Miriam Kashia, climate action warrior; Dianne Dillon-Ridgley, social justice activist, Katie Roche, musician with the Awful Purdies; someone younger (our age)?

Arts Medium:  Spoken word prose poems, with POSSIBLY some sort of visual art in the background?

Interview with Dianne Dillon-Ridgley

Dianne-Dillon-RidgleyToday I had the great opportunity to speak with Dianne Dillon-Ridgley, an amazing environmental and human rights activist whose list of accomplishments would require several books. Dianne has worked for countless organizations and been on many delegations and councils all over the world, working with many noted environmental leaders towards justice for the environment, for women, and vulnerable or oppressed populations in general. As she shared her experiences with me, she kept coming back to the interconnectedness of these “justice” issues. “Justice is the word of the 21st century,” she says, but the connectedness of all forms of justice is not necessarily a new concept. Some of the earliest calls for environmental responsibility happened in the context of labor movements in the early 20th century, with calls to end pollution that was hazardous to the health of workers. But sometime after the Great Depression and World War II, due in part to more specialization within fields of work and study, social movements were put into seperate “silos”. Talking about her earliest days of involvement in environmental justice:

“There were women’s issues, there were environmental issues, there were racial issues, which were really justice issues, and there were economic equity issues and they were kind of thought of as four seperate things. Now, they really were truly interconnected, but perhaps not so coincidentally, the language – I’m not a conspiracy theorist, so I won’t say it was designed to keep them apart – but the evolution of and maturation of them had not occurred to the point to see the interconnectedness and the intricacy of how they really are the same set of issues: working towards a just world.”

Growing up in a family of physicians, architects, and engineers as well as artists, Dianne grew up with the ability to recognize when people talk about the same things with very different language. She believes that women are innately apt to seeing interconnections, and that that makes them especially effective in addressing climate justice because it helps them to find solutions that truly benefit everyone and don’t inadvertently hand off the problem to someone else. Dianne emphasizes that “all issues are women’s issues,” and that while women are often the most harshly affected by climate change and disasters, they also hold the greatest untapped potential in creating true holistic solutions.


Sophie’s Project: Accessibility of Sustainable and Healthy Foods Through a Cookbook

Theme:  Issues people face getting access to healthy and sustainable foods.

General Idea: Create a cookbook of sustainable recipes with ideas on how to cut down on cost.

Interviews: Andrew Hirst- Co-created the UI Student Food Pantry, Ilsa Dewald- Works for North Liberty Food Pantry, Someone else

Arts Medium: Cookbook with about 15-20 recipes from various people interviewed, create a small cooking show during the presentation teaching someone how to cook.

Project Outline 3/29

Gina’s Climate Narrative Project: The Underbelly of Meat Consumption

Theme:  Climate/social justice and the impact of meat consumption

General storyline: Student goes to a local burger joint and orders a burger for $4.99. With his order comes out the harmful environmental elements necessary to produce it, such as a large amount of water. Student asks server about each element and in response to the explanation, the student provides a fallacy arguing against the server. (i.e. we don’t have a water problem, I need meat for protein). In response to the student, either facts and/or graphs appear on the powerpoint that undermine the fallacy. At the end of the meal the check accounts for the carbon emissions involved with consuming meat. Presentation ends with the server saying something along the lines of “we don’t always advertise the actual cost.”

Main Characters and Interviews: University of Iowa student (preferably male), and server at restaurant, also college student (gender not significant?)

Arts Medium:  Live skit with power point projected behind

Bhutan: Becoming a Carbon Negative Country

From EcoWatch, an interesting report on Bhutan’s efforts to become a “carbon neutral” country. Here’s a clip:

“This means the country’s carbon sinks, such as its forests, absorb more carbon dioxide each year than its sources of pollution, such as factories, emit.

“According to recent figures, the country emits around 1.5 million tonnes of carbon annually, while its forests absorb over 6 million tonnes,” Proudly Carbon Neutral said.

To boot, Bhutan is aiming for zero net greenhouse gas emissions, zero-waste by 2030 and to grow 100 percent organic food by 2020. The Himalayan nation is currently 72 percent forested and the constitution requires that no less than 60 percent of it remains forested. It has even banned export logging.

Trees hold special value in Buddhism, the nation’s dominant religion. Last June, a team of 100 volunteers set a world record for planting 49,672 trees in just one hour. And earlier this month, to celebrate the birth of the first child of King Khesar and Queen Jetson, all 82,000 households in Bhutan planted a tree, while volunteers planted another 26,000 in various districts around the country, for a total of 108,000 trees.”

Climate Injustice: Murder of Environmental Leaders

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 6.23.24 PMAccording to a new report by Global Witness, at least “116 environmental activists were murdered in 2014 – that’s almost double the number of journalists killed in the same period.” An estimated 40 % of victims were indigenous.

The recent murder of Goldman Prize recipient Berta Cáceres in Honduras was a reminder of such dangers for environmental activists. Here’s a clip from the Goldman Foundation on her work:

Iowa’s Altered Landscape

Dew-coverd-PrairieMy CNP project this semester centers around how the state of Iowa has been transformed to a monoculture of corn cropland from diverse prairie grasses. This transformation has implications rooted in climate change through the alteration of the land in three main ways: (1) changing from a robust prairie grass system capable of surviving climatic change to an “eggs in one basket” approach to monoculture corn, which is less resistant to stressors. (2) Iowa is America’s (and world’s) largest producer of corn as a result of our once fertile soil from the dense root systems provided through prairies that was ultimately tilled up with the advent of the steel plow to now grow corn for ethanol biofuels, which some argue is not the answer to thwart climate change. And (3) a large portion of Iowa’s corn goes to feed the animals we humans eat, which in turn supports the agriculture (meat and dairy) sector (perhaps the largest contributor to potent greenhouse gases known to cause our warming planet Earth). It can be argued that the state of Iowa is the most altered landscape in the US and I hope to build off that to draw conclusions about the future or Iowa’s lands and climate change. One of the ways I hope to inspire and encourage people to take action against habitat and ecosystem loss related to climate change is through connecting with Nature. It is my belief that people in tune with Nature will understand its importance to the success of our species and others in an age where Nature can be the engine to minimize climate change.

For my project I am interviewing four people from different backgrounds. I have already interviewed Julie Decker (Executive Director of Harvest Preserve) of Iowa City about the 100-acre plot of land her organization has set aside for anyone to use who is interested in connecting with Nature (albeit spiritually, emotionally, or physically). My write up will be coming soon. The next three folks I have scheduled interviews for are with Liz Maas (Board of Directors President of Bur Oak Land Trust) to discuss prairie grass and wetland restoration, Dick Sayles (President of the Quad City Audubon Society) to gain a perspective of how Iowa’s native species have been impacted (past, present, and future) by Iowa’s altered landscape, and lastly Jeffrey Landgren (UI graduate student) who is an avid outdoorsman to learn about Iowa’s Nature versus other states.

I will likely do a film for my project but unsure if it will be more of a picture film or a traditional documentary type film. I have also tossed around the idea of doing a fake radio broadcast, news story, or commercial.

NPR: How is climate change affecting agriculture?

forest pictureCheck out this article on NPR on how climate change affects agriculture. The story examines a new study from the University of California.

Here’s a clip:

“Growers change crops depending on many factors, including climate change and market conditions,” said Hyunok Lee, lead author and research economist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Davis. “The challenge was to separate the effects of climate on acreage. To isolate the climate effects from the market effect, we used an econometric model.”