Iowa City is conducting a survey on climate change and personal choices

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Earth viewed from orbit. — photo by NASA

Iowa City wants to know what Iowa Citians are willing to do about climate change. As part of the process of developing of its Climate Action and Adaption Plan, the city is asking people who live and work in Iowa City to take an online survey.

“We’re hoping for a lot of public input, because we want to know what people think about climate issues and what they are willing to do,” Iowa City Sustainability Coordinator Brenda Nations told Little Village. “The city council has set goals, and we’re about halfway through working out the Climate Action and Adaption Plan.”

In 2016, the Iowa City Council created greenhouse gas reduction goals for 2025 and 2050. The city’s 2025 goal is to reduce its greenhouse gas output from 2005 levels by 26 to 28 percent. The goal for 2050 is an 80 percent reduction.

“We really need buy-in from everybody, because we’re working on our own municipal emissions and reducing them, but approximately 95 percent of all the other emissions in our community are everybody else, businesses and homes,” Nations said. “That’s why we need community input to learn what people are willing to do.”

The plan will focus on three general areas: transportation options, energy efficiency and lifestyle choices.

“Lifestyle choices would include such things as recycling at home, and for some people, moving towards a plant-based diet,” Nations explained. “The idea is that a plant-based diet can play a role in decreasing carbon emissions [by decreasing the number of animals being raised], but that is difficult to quantify.”

The survey, which will be online through February, has 17 questions that are designed to elicit information on how people learn about climate issues and what changes, if any, they have made in daily lives to modify the impact their actions have on the environment. It also addresses what changes people are willing to make in the future to help the city meet its climate change-related goals.

Results from the survey will help guide the drafting of the climate action plan. That draft will be discussed at the next community input meeting on April 26.

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