Project 51

"51 Reasons to Stay Engaged" header

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by climate news. Floods, wildfires, hurricanes, all happening more and more often and on epic scales. Every headline reminds us the stakes are high and the consequences of inaction are dire. The time to act is now.

But the good news? People are taking action. Every day victories are won, great and small. Momentum is building. The solutions are taking shape.

Those stories matter too. They carry an important truth – we have the tools and ability to prevent the worst outcomes of climate change. We just need the courage to act.

Inspired by the 51st celebration of Earth Day, Project 51 continues to add dispatches of good news and bits of inspiration from the climate front. Each one is a reason to stay engaged. Each is also a reminder: if we keep making progress and piling up the good news, sooner or later those scales are going to tip in our favor. These little victories light the way.

  • A plastic waste pyramid art installation near COP27 has prompted remarks about the need to "turn off the plastic tap."

  • The same practical, enormously successful, approach employed by the Montreal Protocol of 1987 – crafting policies that stimulate new, cost-effective technologies – can be used for carbon dioxide as well.

  • As Iowa farmers discuss the 2023 Farm Bill, the conversation includes planning for a future of less ethanol and more EVs. 

  • America now gets more than three times as much power from the wind, the sun, and the earth as we did a decade ago.

  • Residents of "Cancer Alley" celebrated a recent win against a petrochemical plant.

  • Wind turbine blade recycling happens close to home: Vestas, a company in Marengo, Iowa, is accepting wind turbine blades from all over the country and grinding them up to make concrete, a double-win for the climate.

For the statistician section header

For the plugged-in section header
For the deep-diver section header

For the inspired section header

  • Climate action’s sneaky popularity: A recent study shows that a majority of Americans -- 66 to 80 percent -- support climate policies such as a price on carbon or a Green New Deal.
  • “Problems are our work; we deal with them in order to survive or improve the world, and so to face them is better than turning away from them, from burying or denying them. To face them can be an act of hope, but only if you remember that they’re not all there is,” writes environmental journalist Rebecca Solnit in her essay “False Hope and Easy Despair.”
  • Demonstrating how storytelling can be a powerful tool in addressing climate change, climate justice advocate Mary Annaïse Heglar reminds us even if you don't feel hopeful, you don't have to feel helpless. “The thing about climate is that you can be overwhelmed by the complexity of the problem, or fall in love with the creativity of the solutions,” she writes.
  • Wendell Berry envisions what we can achieve if we do the work of climate action well in his poem “A Vision.”
  • Reflecting on her grandmother born in Iowa in 1887, one woman finds inspiration to help navigate the challenges of climate change without succumbing to the ideas that "there are only two choices — that either you’re scared to death and deprive yourself of everything because you feel guilty, or that you just dismiss it all as ridiculous and go on living without care."
  • Prompt for the Planet, a program inspired in Iowa City, is an opportunity for young and old to get creative in “speaking” for the planet. 
  • Many natural features along Iowa City's Sycamore Greenspace trail were incorporated to provide key environmental benefits, and anytime is a great time to grab your bike or walking shoes to see some of the features along the trail yourself.
for the changemaker section header


Learn more about this project: