Ongoing Coverage:

Ripple Effects: Exploring Iowa’s Environmental Challenges

On Mondays in July Iowa Public Radio’s talk show team examines some of the most pressing environmental issues Iowans face. We’re also taking a look at what we do in Iowa to impact the environment and what we can do to be better stewards.

As we start work on this project, we want to hear from you. What do you feel are the most pressing environmental issues facing our state? What unanswered questions do you have about how we as Iowans take care of our land? Your input will inform our reporting. Please take our survey by clicking here.

Ripple Effects
3:41 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Carrot or Stick? The Government's Role in Environmental Policy

A sunrise near Decorah
Katherine Perkins IPR

The Clean Air Act was most recently amended in 1990, with overwhelming bipartisan support.  Is that kind of sweeping environmental policy possible today? 

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Ripple Effects
9:50 am
Mon July 28, 2014

The True Cost of Energy

Iowa leads the nation in wind energy. Host Charity Nebbe speaks with three guests to discover the state of energy in Iowa.
Kwerdenker Wikimedia Commons

"Cheap energy isn't cheap."

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Ripple Effects
4:15 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Invisible Air: Regulating Iowa's Air Quality

An ethanol plant near Marcus, Iowa
keeva999 / flickr

The EPA sets regulations for 6 sources of air pollution, but there are hundreds of pollutants known to the EPA that go unregulated.

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Ripple Effects
11:56 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Where is the Watershed?

Iowa State University Extension Performance Based Watershed Management Project

Water quality has been a problem in Iowa since the late 1800s. To improve it, where do we start?

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Ripple Effects
9:58 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Water Quality Hasn't Improved in Iowa Since the 1980s

A contaminated farm pond in northeastern Iowa
Rita Dvorak

Iowa’s water quality hadn’t nudged much since the 1980s. That’s according to Iowa Geological Survey research scientist Keith Schilling.

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Ripple Effects
5:19 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Choosing Deconstruction Over Demolition

An abandoned farm house in rural Iowa.
Courtesty of Siobhan Spain

When Siobhan Spain and her family deconstructed an old barn on their family farm a few years ago, she re-used the barn wood instead of sending it to the landfill. 

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Ripple Effects
4:38 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Rural Land: Spacious but in High Demand

rural Jasper County, Iowa
Wikimedia Commons

In rural Iowa, it feels like there’s plenty of room, but the land that makes up that seemingly endless wide open space is very much in demand.

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Ripple Effects
4:22 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Urban Iowa: "Once you put asphalt over the top of it, there's no reclaiming it"

Just outside of Des Moines, Ankeny's population has gone from 15,000 in 1980 to more than 50,000 in 2014. By 2035, population is expected to reach 90,000.
David Wade Couch

Today we continue our summer series on the environment by taking a look at urban development – what we’re doing right and wrong.

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Ripple Effects
5:14 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Garbage Meets Its Potential: Thousands of Plastic Bags Become a Park Bench

A park bench can be made from tens of thousands of plastic grocery bags.
Courtesy of PLASTIC RECYCLING OF IOWA FALLS, INC

Reduce, reuse, recycle. That’s been the mantra among the environmentally conscious for the last 25 years. This hour – an in-depth exploration of recycling in Iowa.

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Ripple Effects
4:52 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Recycling 101: Are you doing it right?

Clare Roth

Recycling can be a tricky process - whether you leave materials curbside or deposit them at a drop-site, it's often hard to know exactly what can or can't be recycled.

On this Talk of Iowa "short," Joe Hummel of City Carton and Theresa Kurtz of the Iowa Recycling Association share how recycling really works, answer common questions, and alleviate recycling myths.

DO -

Clean out your glass and plastic bottles as much as you can.

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Ripple Effects
2:28 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

"Backstage" at The Can Shed

Troy Willard is the Owner/Operator at The Can Shed in Cedar Rapids
Katherine Perkins Iowa Public Radio

Most people have probably taken a bag of aluminum cans to a redemption center to collect the nickel deposit.  You walk in, get them counted and collect your money.  But, what happens next?  IPR’s Katherine Perkins recently visited The Can Shed in Cedar Rapids to take a tour with owner and operator Troy Willard.  Willard says they process 1.5-million containers per week at the facility… and cans are their bread and butter.  Turns out, a lot happens after you dump that bag of cans onto the counter.

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Ripple Effects
1:30 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Landfilling a Long Term Commitment; What's the Alternative?

Trash from an overfilled can
Lindsey Moon Iowa Public Radio

What do you throw away? Do you think about it? Do you care?

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