The Iowa City Council declared a climate crisis on Aug. 6, which called for “immediate and accelerated action” to decrease emissions communitywide. But as citizens, how do we begin? It can be overwhelming figuring out what our role is in addressing this problem.
For some people, it helps to make it personal, either by figuring out what kind of information that you personally respond to or how climate change intersects with your existing interests. The library is a great place to begin or to continue your journey of becoming knowledgeable about climate change issues. For starters, “The Rough Guide to Climate Change” is a basic primer for understanding the symptoms, science and solutions for the problem. For regular, newsworthy developments, the New York Times online section titled “Climate & Environment” is an amazing resource; Iowa City residents can read the New York Times on a computer or any mobile device for free.
The Iowa City library has a wide array of resources in different formats to explore. “Ice: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers,” features beautiful photographs from the Extreme Ice Survey, a delight for the visually inclined. For those who prefer to listen, we have many audio books such as Naomi Klein’s “This Changes Everything,” which digs into the economic aspects of climate change. Our recently added streaming video service, Kanopy, has many films pertaining to climate change from a variety of perspectives.
There are many different facets to the problem of climate change, which will affect us in different ways. The library has non-fiction resources that touch on any aspect that you might be personally interested in, such as diet, economics, or gardening.
Finally, there are two books I’d like to highlight that are about bringing climate change closer to home. One is “Ground Truth: A Guide to Tracking Climate Change at Home” which focuses on phenology, the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena. This book encourages us to become mindful of the changing environment right outside our door. Another is “A Sugar Creek Chronicle” by local ecologist Cornelia Mutel, who similarly ties her own with journal entries that follow changes she notices around her. Whether you are looking for science or local narrative, the library should have something that will engage you.
Brent Palmer is an Information Technology Coordinator at the Iowa City Public Library.