Iowa is the most developed state in the nation. Due to expanded agricultural and urban development, the pressure on our land in Iowa is about as intense as all the political ads come October in an election year. Yet, it seems like traditional establishments care less and less about conservation issues. You hear less about it political rhetoric, and a tired manufactured empirically disproven jobs vs. environment myth is rolled out.
Yet, young professionals inherently understand conservation is an important value that speaks to our generation and the life we want to live. Look at San Francisco and Austin – vibrant economies that attract young people centered around rich natural resources and a community that values them. We understand that conservation is good for our economy and attracts members of the start-ups and tech class to not only begin their companies here in Iowa but to stay. Iowa is a good place to do business, raise a family and has a good quality of life that is due to conservation and community building trails.
The generations that came before laid a good foundation in conservation. Now is the crucial time to not only maintain and prevent a loss in the advancement of these values we hold dear, but to move it forward.
The Polk County Water and Land Legacy Bond will be an interesting test of not only these values, but our generation’s place in affecting an election. This bond, which is on the general election ballot in Polk County, provides funding for already well planned out conservation projects by Polk County Conservation Board. This non-partisan, $50 million bond over 20 years would cost the average Polk County homeowner less than $9 a year. Projects would help improve water quality, expand habitat and green space for flood prevention and wildlife, and parks and trails.
A group of young professionals in Polk County feels passionate about this bond and the values it brings to the community, so they have organized in this generation’s iconic fashion. You can learn a little more formally about them here, but if you really want to know more about them, come by tonight at Sbrocco, where Scott Siepker of Iowa Nice fame will be talking about the bond, where donations will be taken with Dwolla and some of the young leaders will be sharing in real-time both face to face and through social media channels, why conservation matters not just to us, but to all Iowans.
For our generation understands that the question is not if we should care for our environment, but how. And it is clear that now is the time to take a stand for our land, water and wildlife. We have the rare opportunity to define our generation’s legacy, not just for today, or tomorrow, but for our children’s children. For long after we are gone, we will not be defined by the money we have made or the buildings we have built, but by the water our grandchildren drink, play and bathe in.