When we burn our food, we burn our planet. Increased corn and soy production for biofuels have led to a surge in climate emissions, water pollution, and the widespread loss of wildlife habitat. We’re calling on the presidential candidates to pursue real climate action and say no to dirty biofuels.

The Campaign

We support a sustainable environment for Iowa and the Midwest – and a profitable, prosperous rural economy.

Iowa knows how to produce wind and solar energy. And not only are these the fuels we’re going to need more of, they bring investment to rural economies. Farmland also has a huge role to play in solving climate change: when it’s restored to forest and prairie it acts as a carbon sink, which is why ‘carbon-farming’ and habitat restoration should be funded. To improve water quality and ensure that wildlife thrives, we have to maximize the amount of natural landscape, which means growing fewer crops for ethanol and biodiesel. This vision — more wind and solar production, expanded conservation programs, fewer biofuel crops, and compensation for land-owners to establish and maintain wildlife areas — is a better future for Iowa.

Mighty Earth is on the ground in Des Moines, Iowa City, and Davenport, Iowa to gather support for biofuels reform. We’re working with volunteers, activists, community leaders to show that we know the solutions to climate change, and burning food-based biofuels isn’t one of them.

Upcoming Events

Events TBA! Check back to see upcoming events in Iowa.

Get Invovled

If you’d like to volunteer with us in Iowa, you can contact the following Mighty Earth organizers:

You can also fill out this form, and we’ll be in touch.

What makes biofuels dirty? 

Not all renewable energy is truly ‘green.’ Most biofuels used for transport in the United States carry enormous, negative environmental consequences. Vast amounts of land are needed to grow biofuels, and – unless the world plans to eat less – this means that forests, wetlands and prairies will be lost as agricultural production expands. In the United States alone, recent ramp-ups in corn ethanol and soy biodiesel production have spurred the conversion of 7 million acres of native ecosystems into agricultural production.

This land conversion has happened in nearly every state but is concentrated in the Midwest. Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Illinois have all lost natural areas and the Upper Midwest has been especially hard hit. All told, an area the size of Delaware has disappeared and been replaced with industrial and largely corporate agricultural production. In addition, U.S. biofuel use has driven significant land-use change in Southeast Asia and Latin America, home to some of the world’s most important forests and active carbon sinks. In these regions, both considered global ‘hot-spots’ for deforestation, palm and soy plantations are being carved from rainforests and other native ecosystems.

Land conversion for biofuel crop production has released massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere – in fact, food-based biofuels are on par or worse for climate than even oil and gas. Trees, plants, roots and soil store enormous amounts of carbon. When a native ecosystem is plowed under in preparation for farming, a large pulse of carbon is released into the atmosphere. Scientists at the University of Wisconsin estimate that the land conversion from increased biofuel crop production has resulted in 30 million metric tons of carbon emissions, equivalent to about 20 million additional cars on the road.

In addition, the intensive agricultural practices used to produce food-based biofuels can result in increased levels of soil erosion and fertilizer runoff (nitrogen or nitrate and phosphorous). In turn, this runoff pollutes neighboring waterways and those downstream, burdening local water authorities and making some water unsafe to drink. Agricultural runoff is also destroying aquatic wildlife habitat by feeding massive algal blooms, like the now-annual one in Lake Erie and the massive dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.