Creating a more inclusive approach to climate research and action will be discussed Monday, March 27, at 6:30 p.m. at the Quad Cities Community Foundation (852 Middle Road, Bettendorf), in a free talk.
The meeting will be led by Tamara Marcus, who is the sustainability director of Linn County, Iowa (the only such sustainability director in the state). She will be hosted by the Clean River Advisory Council, and this is an opportunity to learn more about the work of the Council and the Quad Cities Clean River Plan, as well as the importance of including indigenous voices in climate research and action.
The Clean River Advisory Council has been convened by Iman Consulting in partnership with Quad Cities Community Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation.
Over the next two years, a partnership among these groups “will support inclusive community-based efforts to protect—and connect people to—our Mississippi River, centering people and communities of color and others that have been excluded in developing solutions to effect positive environmental change,” according to the foundation.
This work includes the creation of the Clean River Advisory Council, whose goal is developing a clean river vision and a grant program to support this community work.
Marcus is a former Fulbright scholar, where she completed two years of climate change research in the Indian Himalayas and working with local communities to translate her physical science research into local conservation policy, according to her bio.
She is a Ph.D. candidate in the Natural Resources and Earth System Sciences program at the University of New Hampshire. Her research interests include using bioinformatic techniques to understand the impact of warming on microbial mediation of carbon emissions from Arctic lakes. Additionally, she studies how indigenous communities access weather and climate data to better understand how to make results from climate research more accessible and applicable to individuals and communities.
There are populations who are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change, like the August 2020 Iowa derecho, Marcus said Friday. “These groups include immigrant and refugee individuals, people of color, elderly and disabled and people in our small towns. So that has really shaped the focus of our work.”
“Representation is important, right? And so oftentimes we see a lot of these injustices because of a historical lack of representation,” she said. “I can speak of tools that have been successful for me, but each community is different. And so it will take some time to figure out what shared questions exist among all interested stakeholders and collectively develop a course of action to address them.”
Using a combination of survey data and storytelling, Marcus works with Sami communities in Sweden and indigenous Australians to record environmental change observed by the traditional owners of the land. Through this work, she hopes to promote collaborative development of conservation policy by both scientists and indigenous communities.
Marcus has been a Switzer fellow, a NASA New Hampshire Space Grant fellow, and a National Center for Atmospheric Research fellow and completed her B.S. in biochemistry and English from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
At Monday’s QC talk, she’ll share best practices she’s seen work around the world, and how they can be applied locally.