Saturday, November 1, 2008

Get Out the Vote!

Remember to vote on Tuesday, November 4th! We have the power to influence the decisions of our leaders by choosing the next President, one of our Iowa Senators and our House Representative. Regardless of whether your candidate is chosen, your vote sends a strong signal to your politicians that you are engaged in the political process. Our next leaders will be more likely to fight against poverty and climate change if they know that we want action and that we vote. For more information about voting in Iowa: visit the state elections website. Also take a look at Oxfam America's youth voter guide. Oxfam America does not endorse any candidates, but we do want you to exercise your right to vote!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Helping Farmers Cope with Climate Change

According to a recent article in the Des Moines Register, climate change is expected to make Iowa even more important as a breadbasket for the world- primarily by reducing agricultural production in poorer countires during a time when global food demand is rapidly increasing. This situation presents many opportunities for Iowans, especially farmers and agricultural researchers, to be a part of the solution. But what about those farmers in poor countries? Without access to the resources of the USDA and private agribusiness, how will they cope?

One solution would be through a climate change adaptation program that would provide training and resources to help poor farmers find solutions to maintain productivity. Such a program is being advocated by Oxfam America and others as a way to reduce poverty, promote national security, and cope with climate change. Climate change adaptation programs could work with current United States international programs and could be funded using some of the proceeds from a carbon cap-and-trade system. Variations of cap-and-trade have been endorsed by both candidates for President, and will likely come before Congress next year.

In the meantime, Iowans can act by signing the climate change petition, or by reading the article and emailing a letter to the editor highlighting the need to help all farmers adapt.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Climate Change Hurts Women, You Can Help

Oxfam America has released a new documentary called "Sisters on the Planet" and we would like to have it screened as widely as possible. Through the stories of four inspirational women, "Sisters" introduces viewers to the connection between gender, poverty, and environment and calls on each of us to take action for climate jusitce. You can order a copy at

You can see "Sisters on the Planet" at our next meeting at the Ingersoll Caribou Coffee this Tuesday, September 16th at 7:30pm. After the movie, we'll have a short discussion and plan some additional screenings around Des Moines. Please join us on September 16th and add your voice to those of women around the world who are demanding equity and justice in the face of climate change.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Iowa Screening of "Sisters on the Planet"

For the first time in the state of Iowa you can view and discuss "Sisters on the Planet". The premiere will be begin at 7 pm at the Ames Public Library on Wednesday Sept. 10.

"Sisters on the Planet" is a documentary portraying four inspirational women and how they are fighting back against climate change.

The film will leave you inspired and ready to take action. Come meet others and learn what we can do here locally.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sound Cimate Policies: a Step Towards Racial Equality

Sound climate policies are urgently needed to help save lives and promote social justice. Policies that reduce harmful emissions and help poor and disadvantaged communities adapt to climate change are not only smart, but essential to building a world with liberty, equality, and justice for all.

In fact, the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative (EJCC) recently released a report analyzing the ways in which African Americans will be disproportionately affected by global warming. The report finds that:

-global warming amplifies nearly all existing inequalities

-sound global warming policy is also economic and racial justice policy

-climate policies that best serve African Americans also best serve a just and strong United States

-climate policies that best serve African Americans and other disproportionately affected communities also best serve global economic and environmental justice

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Don't "Go it Alone", Come to Our Meetings!

Solving our poverty and climate crises isn't easy. Fortunately, nobody has to do it alone. The Iowa Oxfam Action Corps meets every month in Ames and in Des Moines. Meetings are where we plan our next actions, review the vision for our organization, and support each other in our efforts to make the world a better place. Our next meeting will be in Ames on August 19th. The next meeting in Des Moines will be during the third week of September.

A summary of our recent meeting in Des Moines follows:

Vision: We envision ourselves as an organization that draws connections between poverty and the injustice of climate change. We want to focus on education and empowerment of Iowans to take action for climate justice, and we will advocate for the rights of those who are disempowered.

Online Tools: We like the flexibility of for scheduling our meetings. We want to use a zoho group for online conversation between meetings. Email us if you would like an invitation to join.

Upcoming Events:
1) We are scheduling a meeting with the staff of both of our Iowa senators during the last week of August or the first week of September.
2)There will be an opportunity to help run a table at the Downtown Farmers' Market on September 27th. (See our previous post)
3)There is a big event being planned with the League of Women Voters on November 13th. We will show our new movie: "Sisters on the Planet" and bring in a speaker who has been to Bangladesh.

Oxfam: Coming to a Farmers' Market Near You

Part of building a movement for climate justice is connecting with curious and concerned people and inviting them to learn and to act. Members of the Iowa Oxfam Action Corps are actively reaching out at a variety of venues, from concerts to conferences to the Iowa State Fair. Many of our best connections have been made at Central Iowa farmers' markets.

Basically, we set up a table of information alongside local farmers and craftspeople at the market. As market patrons pass by, we invite them to learn more about Oxfam and our work solving poverty and climate change. If they are interested, we invite them to sign our climate petition or join our listserv to hear about upcoming actions. The response is usually positive; as we exchange stories and information with passers-by. Not everyone wants to sign up right away, but most people appreciate the chance to learn about our work and to lend us their persepctives on our issues.

To help further our mission of empowering Iowans to make a difference for those facing poverty and social injustice, we are planning to be at the Downtown Des Moines Farmers' Market on August 30th and again on September 29th. Come and visit us!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Climate Justice Video

In this video from Oxfam America, people from around the world tell us how climate change is impacting their communities and their lives. The United States needs to stop harming and start helping. Providing resources to vulnerable communities through an international adaptation program is an important part of any climate solution. Countless small actions have contributed to causing climate change, and small actions can help craft the policies that will reverse it. Take action to help the communities in the video: click here to add your name to Oxfam America's petition for climate justice.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Update on the Climate Security Act

Unfortunately the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act was pulled from the Senate floor without an opportunity for amendments. However, forty-eight senators voted in support of continuing the debate- more than ever before- and six who weren't able to make the vote voiced thier support as well. Sixty votes would have been needed to move the legislation forward. Although all of us are disappointed to see the bill pulled, the push for change continues and together we're building a movement that will reform climate policy in the years to come. You can read Oxfam America's response to this development here.

If you're curious about the Oxfam Action Corps or have a passion for climate justice, come to our next meeting on June 18th at 7pm at Caribou Coffee (3220 Ingersoll Avenue in Des Moines).

Monday, June 2, 2008

Actions Needed Now, Things you can do here in Iowa

Thursday is World Environment Day

How might you celebrate in Ames?

Iowa Oxfam Action Corps is having an informal meeting discussing Climate change and how it hurts the poor.

Taking place June 7 at 5pm at Cafe Diem on Main St. In Ames

We will:
- Learn about the campaign
- Discuss how we will engage Iowan on Climate Justice
- Plan up coming actions
- Meet others who are interested in climate change

No RSVP is necessary, just come if you can and pass the word on.

To learn more about Iowa Action Corps please visit our blog at:

Also, we have established a secure listserv that I will be using in future correspondence (it avoids my needing to bcc everyone via gmail). You can subscribe yourself at

Finally, right now, the Senate is debating a climate change bill that could have a huge impact on communities around the world. We need you to make sure that they’re not leaving poor people behind. Climate change is already affecting the world’s most impoverished people, who are facing droughts, floods, and increased disease—and are least equipped to deal with these disasters.

Tell the Senate to we must ramp up our efforts to help vulnerable communities impacted by our changing climate.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Communicating Climate Justice

On Friday, May 23rd, members of the Oxfam Action Corps met with staff at Senator Harkin's office to talk about climate policies. They talked about how to address climate change in a just and equitable way. The United States needs to implement policies that reduce pollution to environmentally acceptable levels. Equally important, the US should assist poor and vulnerable communities as they transition to a green economy and adapt to the climate change that is already occurring.

An important step in the right direction, the Climate Security Act will be introduced for debate in the Senate on June 2nd. The act would set up a cap-and-trade system to reduce climate-altering pollution. Under cap-and-trade systems, polluters are required to acquire licenses to pollute. The government caps the total amount of pollution by limiting the number of available licenses. The Action Corps would like to see most or all of the pollution licenses auctioned instead of given away, and the proceeds reinvested in community adaptation efforts, poverty alleviation, and the public good.

Communicating the importance of climate justice to government figures is an important part of what the Action Corps does. The Oxfam Action Corps looks forward to maintaining a working relationship with Senator Harkin's office as the Climate Security Act and related legislation moves forward.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Climate Change Impacts Iowa

In case you're wondering about the effects of climate change on our own state of Iowa, The Des Moines Register has some words of enlightenment on impacts and solutions. Read their recent article to see what the future may have in store- if we don't act today.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Walking for Climate Justice

On Sunday, April 20th the Oxfam Action Corps made a splash with their first walk for climate justice. Carrying signs and buckets, they paraded through the Earthday festival at Valley Junction bringing awareness of the connections between poverty and climate change. The walk served as a visual representation of the increasing distances that women and children in many countries must travel for water- a trek made longer by erratic climate.

Stephen, Action Corps Co-leader and organizer of the march, was quoted in the Des Moines Register saying: "When people think of climate change, they think of polar bears, but we need to think of people too." Another walker said: "Every time someone sees a message, even for just a minute, it's one more time they think about it". Read the article to see what else was said.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Start Helping and Stop Harming

How can you make change when it comes to climate change? It's so big but there are some little things you can do.

1) Sign the Petition

2) Sign up for the Oxfam Climate Change Action Team


3) Send me an email at if you want to help and to get on the list serv!


Iowa Action Corps Co-Leader

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Coffee, Climate, and Conversation

On Thursday, the Iowa Oxfam Action Corps had its first meeting of the new season in Des Moines. Stephen, an action corps coleader, was joined by three highly enthusiastic women at Caribou Coffee for an informal get-together. They talked about the challenges of starting a movement and about how to reach out to more people and other organizations on the issue of climate justice. Want to know what was talked about? Join them on the third Thursday of May for their next meeting. The small and mighty Action Corps wants YOU to show up at Caribou Coffee (3220 Ingersoll Avenue, Des Moines 50312) on May 15!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Cherry Blossoms and Climate Change

(National Oxfam Action Corps Leaders)
Ellen and Stephen, Iowa action corps co-leaders, recently returned from training with Oxfam America in Washington, DC. We learned a lot from Oxfam America staff and from leaders of the Oxfam Action Corps in 12 other cities across the US.

(United States Capitol Building)

We went to the Captiol to speak with aides to Representative Boswell and Senator Harkin about the effects of climate change on people who suffer from poverty and hunger in the US and around the world. We asked that they support efforts to stop harming by reducing pollution and start helping by providing international adaptation funding for disadvantaged communities around the world to adapt to the effects of climate change.

We're back in Iowa and excited to bring the human face of climate change to Iowans across the state!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

What is the Action Corps?

The Oxfam Action Corps is a dedicated group of volunteers working in cities across the country to create meaningful solutions to issues of hunger, poverty and injustice. Join Action Corps and help support legislation that is before Congress this year, engage Presidential candidates on the issue, and most importantly build public support for more ambitious legislation come the new Congress and administration next year. We are volunteers in Iowa!! Join and invite your friends!