Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day 16

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 – Colfax, Iowa
{For the latest Iowa Pipeline Walk route and schedule detail, click here.}

I saw something today that I hadn’t seen since walking across Arizona and New Mexico last year. No, it wasn’t a saguaro cactus, rattlesnake or horny toad.

It was a family living off the grid!off grid 20140423_125043

off grid rattlesnake 20140410_103928

off grid lizard 20140420_115417

David Osterberg

David Osterberg

During last year’s coast-to-coast Climate March, I met dozens of people powering their homes and businesses entirely with solar and wind. (Here’s a picture of one, and for fun, pictures of the rattlesnake that interrupted my lunch and a horny toad I rescued from the highway.)

Today, my good friend and former Iowa lawmaker, David Osterberg, joined me for the ten-mile trek through Jasper County. When we saw the wind turbine and solar panels in front of the small, well-kept home, we knew we were likely to find pipeline opponents.

We were not disappointed. Sherman and Sue greeted us warmly at the door and explained that their wind turbine and two solar panels paid for themselves in seven years.

Ed, Sherman and Sue

Ed, Sherman and Sue

“If I put up just one more solar panel,” explained Sherman, “we should be totally off the grid. The cost factor appeals to us, and we think it’s important to be green.”

Sherman and Sue offered us a place to sit and brought coffee.  As we were about to leave, Sherman let us know that he and his wife were Christians. “The good Lord has asked us to be as thrifty as we can, and to be good stewards of the land. Is this pipeline they want to build just for money and oil? Is that really what God wants us to do? My feeling is he wants us to be good to our neighbors, good to the land.”

My walk across Iowa is planned to take 40 days. The focus is to put the brakes on a bad idea – the proposed pipeline. Yet it’s equally important to lift up the positive investments being made – by goverment, business and individuals like Sherman and Sue – demonstrating that renewable energy is the answer to both our present and future power needs.