How screwed are we? First annual Iowa Climate Festival may have the answers

Iowa Climate Festival
Registration for this event is requested here. — photo by Alan Light

Iowa Climate Festival

UI Natural History Museum (Macbride Hall) — April 26, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Free)

Co-hosted by the American Chemical Society, various UI departments, the City of Iowa City and statewide organizations, the first-ever Iowa Climate Festival kicks off Saturday, April 26 with opening remarks from UI vice president for research and economic development, Dan Reed. The festival’s main goal is to educate the public about issues of climate change using real, tangible terms. Too often, Reed says, climate change is presented as an abstract theory with vague implications for the real world.

“[Climate change] has implications for water availability and rainfall; it has flooding implications,” Reed said. “It clearly has agricultural implications for a state like Iowa, and it has public health issues and issues with changes in habitats as well. It’s really important that the population be involved in discussing these implications and understanding how they have a voice in shaping the future.”

Following Reed’s introduction, UI professors Vicki Grassian and Charles Stanier, as well as IDNR environmental specialist Marnie Stein and other experts will give lectures throughout the first half of the day on the basics of climate science and how it affects Iowa’s ecosystem. 

From 1:30-4 p.m., the Climate Science Fair and Biosphere Discovery Hub (and ice cream social) will give festival attendees a chance to learn about climate change by performing experiments of their own. At 2 p.m., children are encouraged to attend “Heat Waves and Big Freezes! Climate, Extinction and the Fossil Record,” a 30-minute talk followed by a hands-on activity led by Don “The Fossil Guy” Johnson.