Tying science to policy — for Iowa

Iowans can do better for the environment and should.

160915-59170_dox35x45The Iowa Policy Project has always enlisted the help of students and professors or former professors from Iowa colleges to help produce good research.

IPP founder and researcher David Osterberg, left, in his job as a professor of Public Health at the UI, has been part of the annual statement on climate change signed by researchers and teachers at all the colleges and universities in Iowa.

This year’s statement, released today with 187 signers from 39 Iowa colleges and universities, is about farming to sequester carbon and improve water quality: The Multiple Benefits of Climate-Smart Agriculture.

An excerpt:

Farmers and land managers who have implemented proven conservation practices have positioned Iowa to lead implementation of Climate‐Smart Agriculture. Iowa’s leadership through wider adoption of conservation practices will benefit our state, while these practices lessen human contribution to net greenhouse gas emissions. …

We, as Iowa educators, believe Iowa should play a leadership role in this vital effort, just as our state has already done for wind energy.

Find the full statement here.

Find the news release here.

The statement envisions “a multi‐faceted vision for land stewardship by vigorously implementing federal, state, and other conservation programs” to generate a more diverse landscape. It concludes:

Such a landscape would benefit all Iowans by transforming Iowa’s vast croplands into resources that simultaneously generate food, feed, fuel, a healthier climate, better soils, wildlife habitat, and cleaner waters.

The lead authors are Chris Anderson, who has served as assistant director of Iowa State University’s climate science program, and Jerry Schnoor, co-director of the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, with editorial assistance from senior science writer Connie Mutel of the UI.

Also contributing were: Gene Takle, Diane Debinski and David Swenson, ISU; David Courard-Hauri, Drake; Neil Bernstein, Mount Mercy; Peter Thorne, Greg Carmichael, Elizabeth Stone and David Osterberg, UI; and Kamyar Enshayan, University of Northern Iowa.

The issues raised in this statement fit well with our work at the Iowa Policy Project. We produce papers on water quality and confined animal agriculture, and connect these issues to public policy impacts. What we do at this small policy institute fits into larger questions addressed by academics and policy people in the state.

Iowans can do better for the environment and should.

Important child care implications of budget choices

Even in difficult fiscal times with hard budget decisions, we must consider the societal implications of these decisions.

Anna Sewell
Anna Sewell

Data consistently show that investing in child care benefits society by providing early education for children and relieving working parents of serious financial strains of child care costs.

This frees up household income, which can help to stimulate the economy through spending and investment. Also, the additional time parents are able to spend working increases the productivity of our nation’s workforce, as well as individuals’ income.

This critical support to families and the economy is part of assistance that could be dropped in the coming days for over 300,000 children and their families under HR1, which would make changes in programs under a continuing resolution that expires next Friday, March 4.

HR1 would cut funds for federal programs by over $60 billion. More specifically, the bill would cut $1 billion from Head Start and $39 million from the Child Care and Development Block Grant, which funds Iowa’s Child Care Assistance program.

For Head Start, the cuts would close 16,000 classrooms and cut jobs for 55,000 teachers, assistants and related staff. This would be the largest cut in Head Start’s 45-year history.

Alternative means for lessening the deficit could be for Congress to pursue a balanced approach of spending cuts and necessary revenue increases, while continuing to make investments in education.

Posted by Anna Sewell, IPP intern