Something came out of Colorado last week besides images of the destruction from a rapidly developing wildfire that roared through the area between Denver and Boulder. The fires consumed upwards of 1,000 homes in the suburban subdivisions of the Rockies’ eastern foothills in just a few hours. Besides the stunning devastation, the wild weather brought important insight, too. Even people who live a thousand miles away should reflect on what occurred — because the significance of the day’s events needs to be a wake-up call for all Americans. The people who lived through the nightmare give us important context.
The sponsor of an Iowa bill that would prohibit cities or counties from regulating the sale of natural gas or propane said he is confident the legislation will make it to the governor’s desk after recently clearing committee votes in both chambers. State Sen. Jason Schultz, a Republican from southwest Iowa, said his bill (SF 455) is meant to counter the “radical left environmental agenda” in Des Moines, where the City Council recently adopted a goal of transitioning to carbon-free electricity citywide by 2035. The Iowa House Commerce Committee approved the measure on Feb. 15 by a 16-4 vote, and the Senate Commerce Committee approved similar language 13-4 on Feb. 24.
ByJamie Smith Hopkins / Center for Public Integrity |
We heard from more than 200 disaster survivors and people helping them. Here’s what we learned. The Center for Public Integrity, Columbia Journalism Investigations and our partners in newsrooms around the country, including IowaWatch, have been reporting on this for months. We’ve learned a lot by asking experts: people who’ve lived through disasters and the professionals who study this or provide hands-on help. More than 230 shared their experiences in our detailed survey, and we interviewed dozens of additional people.
The Center for Public Integrity and Columbia Journalism Investigations collaborated on this project with newsrooms around the country: IowaWatch, California Health Report, Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, City Limits, InvestigateWest, The Island Packet, The Lens, The Mendocino Voice, Side Effects and The State. We created our survey for disaster survivors and mental-health professionals with guidance and vetting from Sarah Lowe, clinical psychologist and assistant professor at Yale School of Public Health; Elana Newman, professor of psychology at the University of Tulsa and research director for the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University; Gilbert Reyes, clinical psychologist and chair of the American Psychological Association’s trauma psychology division disaster relief committee; and Jonathan Sury, project director for communications and field operations for the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University. HIDDEN EPIDEMICS: Weather disasters drive a mental health crisis RELATED: Iowa’s Parkersburg tornado survivors offer support, hope after derecho turmoil RELATED: How to heal emotional wounds after disaster
No government agency in the United States regularly tracks the psychological outcomes of disasters. And while academic studies may shed light on specific events, the questionnaire was meant to understand experiences from multiple disasters across the country, furthering on-the-ground reporting. It is not a formal, randomized survey.
We’re digging into the stressful toll of wildfires, hurricanes and floods — and now COVID-19 on top of them. We need your help. Every year, weather-related disasters ravage communities across the United States, creating scenes traumatic and, increasingly, familiar. Deadly firestorms throughout the West. Historic floods in the Farm Belt. Catastrophic hurricanes with record rains in the South and along the East Coast.
An analysis of rainfall patterns in Iowa, revealed in a 2014 White House National Climate Assessment report, showed a significant increase in the number of days with heavy rainfall, despite no increase in total annual precipitation. This was before heavy rainfall across the state and Midwest in 2019 but already showing cities across Iowa sustaining multi-million dollar losses from floods over the past two decades. This U.S. Geological Survey map has up-to-date information on flooding across the country. The map showed multiple spots for flooding in the Midwest in June 2019. We’ve revived and updated a news quiz about Iowa’s flooding history because of its pertinence in summer 2019.
ByJohnathan Hettinger/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
Investors may not know the risks climate-related events could have on companies based on public filings, a new report from the Government Accountability Office found. The Securities and Exchange Commission reviews filings to make sure that companies follow federal securities laws in disclosing information to investors. In 2010, the SEC issued guidance on how climate-related information should be disclosed in public filings. But the oversight office cannot fully review the climate-related risks companies disclose in public filings because of inadequate information, according to the independent report publicly released March 22. “When companies report climate-related disclosures in varying formats and specificity, SEC reviewers and investors may find it difficult to compare and analyze related disclosures across companies’ filings,” the GAO reported.
A University of Iowa’s Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research and College of Education project will help Iowa school teachers apply Next Generation Science Standards in class that let students decide for themselves if climate change exists.
The IowaWatch Connection radio program collected seven awards, including two for first place, for large market radio reporting at the 2017 Iowa Broadcast News Association convention in Johnston, Iowa, on Saturday, April 22.
According to a Pew Research Center survey, 22 percent of U.S. adults say climate change is due to natural patterns and one-quarter believe there is no solid evidence Earth is getting warmer, despite a large consensus in the scientific community. A recent national survey and an informal state survey conducted by IowaWatch, working with the Cedar Falls High School Tiger Hi-Line, show this conflict also plays out in the classroom. Check your knowledge of recent research on climate change and how climate change is taught.