Monthly Archives: March 2017

CNP Fellow Dawson Davenport Receives Diversity Catalyst Award!

Congrats to CNP fellow Dawson Davenport, who was recognized this week with a Diversity Catalyst Award from the Chief Diversity Office and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity. The Award citation: Through their dedication, passion, and collaboration, this year’s winners have pushed for sustained change within training structures, mentorship, web accessibility, and classroom dialog.

Look Back: Jim Hansen on Climate Change, Climate Action

In 2012, Iowa native and leading NASA climatologist James Hansen recounted the story of his involvement in the science of and debate over global climate change. In doing so he outlined the overwhelming evidence that change is happening and why that makes him deeply worried about the future.

In 2017, how have Hansen’s views impacted our nation’s climate action plans?

How Americans View Climate Change

The New York Times recently featured a nice graphic lay-out on perceptions of climate change among various residents in the US, based on research by the Yale Program on Climate Communication. Main takeaway:

Most people know climate change is happening, and a majority agrees it is harming people in the United States. But most don’t believe it will harm them.

Part of this is the problem of risk perception.

Global warming is precisely the kind of threat humans are awful at dealing with: a problem with enormous consequences over the long term, but little that is sharply visible on a personal level in the short term. Humans are hard-wired for quick fight-or-flight reactions in the face of an imminent threat, but not highly motivated to act against slow-moving and somewhat abstract problems, even if the challenges that they pose are ultimately dire.

Upcoming Interview – Akash Bhalero

In helping to narrow down the scope of my project, one of my upcoming interviews is going to be with Akash Bhalero. Akash is a Senator & Sustainability Committee Chair at UISG and is also a former CNP fellow who looked at the effects of lifestyle choice on Climate Change. He particularly focused on how restoring yourself through yoga and meditation could help restore nature. I feel with that with his understanding of yoga as a form of restoration he could help to provide an interesting take on how we can shape the cities of the future to help us in the challenges that come up through climate change.

More on this interview soon!

Upcoming Interviews with Meskwaki culture team.

i have to go into the Language Department this week, so i will be able to conduct all my interviews then. I will interview Wayne Pushetonequa, Meskwaki Language Director; Johnathon Buffalo, Meskwaki Tribal Historian; and Mary YoungBear, Meskwaki museum curator and respected artist, and knows alot of stories. I have also spoke to Leah Slick-Driscoll, about working with her daughter, who i worked with last summer on projects, and another kid, for my voice overs, for my cartoon. i have my characters in development, and have started other animated layouts.

Broadcast TV News Guts Climate Change Coverage, Study Finds

A new study on Media Matters reminds us of the dismal ratings–and coverage–of climate change issues on broadcast TV news.

Here’s a clip:

In 2016, evening newscasts and Sunday shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC, as well as Fox Broadcast Co.’s Fox News Sunday, collectively decreased their total coverage of climate change by 66 percent compared to 2015, even though there were a host of important climate-related stories, including the announcement of 2015 as the hottest year on record, the signing of the Paris climate agreement, and numerous climate-related extreme weather events. There were also two presidential candidates to cover, and they held diametrically opposed positions on the Clean Power Plan, the Paris climate agreement, and even on whether climate change is a real, human-caused phenomenon. Apart from PBS, the networks also failed to devote significant coverage to climate-related policies, but they still found the time to uncritically air climate denial — the majority of which came from now-President Donald Trump and his team.

Upcoming Urban Forestry Renewal Interview

My first interview will be with Michael Dugan, the Forestry Coordinator of Openlands. The organization is a Chicago based non-profit working to renew urban ecology through the simple act of planting trees, an act which also not only builds greener communities, but also unites communities.

I would like to explore the social justice implications of urban forestry initiatives and connect this to the notion of a larger, nation-wide reforestation initiative and how this could resonate within the American consciousness.

Is planting a tree a revolutionary act? I think so, but I’d like to hear what a person who does it for a living thinks.


Vegetated Floating Islands (VFIs)

In the US many agriculturally dependent areas have ponds and lakes swarming with nutrition problems. The influxes of phosphorus and nitrogen in our waters from farming are non point source of pollution. This meaning the pollutes exact origin cannot be pinpointed, though some argue that farming is a point source. This is significant  because non point sources are not regulated by the EPA and can account for cases like the hypoxia zone in the Gulf of Mexico. The idea behind VFI’s is to create floating structures that allow native plants roots to hang into the water and absorbing this extra nutrient. A diagram of how these VFI’s work can be found below.

 This  idea was implemented by students at Iowa State on Lake LaVerne which was facing an algae bloom. This project was significant not because of already existing idea of VFIs, but because of the way the students executed the installment.

“Floating Island International produces a product called BioHaven, but their target audience is definitely more municipalities, water treatment centers and sewage treatment ponds where it is very expensive to install one of their items…The Lake LaVerne project aims to construct and monitor a series of low-cost, artistic VFIs and educate visitors about non-point source pollution like runoff and drainage, said Austin Stewart, assistant professor of art and visual culture.”

Here you can read the whole article:

Students working on the project also created a video explaining their goals and wanted outcomes of the project that you can watch below.

Is an idea like this realistic in cleaning up for example, the Iowa City River? How large do you think the VFI’s would have to be/how many would we need? What other places in society can we see aesthetic and function work together towards a regenerative future?

Upcoming Interviews – Charles Truong

As mentioned in one of my previous posts, I will be using hip hop dance as a catalyst for discussing human dependence on coal. I have scheduled an interview with Rebekah Kowal, Chair of the University of Iowa’s Dance Department, for March 23rd at 10:30am.

I decided to interview Professor Kowal because she is not only a dance professor, but a historian and researcher. You can find a feature of Professor Kowal on the University’s Research and Economic Development page here.

I will also be interviewing Jeff Chang, an infamous Asian American writer who has written about hip hop culture and its relation to social justice. I believe that both Professor Kowal and Jeff Chang are individuals that have made remarkable contributions to their fields and it is incredibly humbling to be able to speak with them soon.

Upcoming Interview

Jeffrey Recker, an average college student at the university of iowa, will be my first interview for my project. He is double majoring in computer science and economics, I will interview him to get a better understanding of the daily habits a busy college student like Jeff goes through. I have prepared a set of questions, about 5-6, to help me get more information for my project, since I will be doing a short clip i need some information coming from a person’s own personal experience(daily life). I am currently working on finding my second and third person to inverview, I want one of those to also be a college student but with a completely different habit and way of living than that of Jeff. This will allow me to better understand the type of life people live now a days. The third person I was thinking in interviewing would be an expert on Nutrition or Enviornment, such as an Enviornmental Scientist or Sustainability professor.