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From coal to wind

Langston came from coal country in “dead center of Georgia”

April 8, 2019
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

Wednesday evening, Citizens Climate Lobby's April meeting drew more people than usual as Drew Howing and Dan Lutat from the Sustainable Energy and Resources Technology (SERT) programs at Iowa Lakes Community College brought in students and the meeting was rescheduled for a weekday evening and relocated to the SERT building.

Roy Gage of Roy's Auto and Emmet County Concerned Citizens, said of climate change, "We live in interesting times. The good news is, we're all in it together."

John Wittneben of Estherville spends a lot of time on the land as a surveyor and as an avid hiker and canoeist. "People don't want to face the reality, because it means they'll have to do something about it."

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Suzanne West, a long-time gardener, said, "I've watched a lot of the decline in nature. I used to see so many ladybugs and garden spiders. They've disappeared."

Priscilla Zoya, a student in the college's wind energy program said, "It's important to see different perspectives and find the things we can agree on related to the environment."

Matt Langston, also a student in the wind energy technology program, said he came from a town in the "dead center of Georgia" with a population of 800.

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For more information go to or To connect with the local chapter, contact co-leaders Jane Shuttleworth at or Roger Patoka at

"People in my hometown often get mad when they find out I'm preparing for a career in wind energy. They take it personally because a coal plant shut down there. I'm part of a green revolution. What we do isn't destroying my hometown."

Langston said Georgia now draws electricity from many solar arrays and has transitioned to mostly nuclear energy, which he said has its good points and drawbacks.

"There are 300 wind energy jobs in Iowa right now, and that could double in the next few years," Langston said.

Langston said he had hope for the sustainable energy industry in Iowa and in the United States as a whole.

"I want to connect with more people and share ideas and thoughts. There is a lot we can learn from each other," Langston said.

Citizens Climate Lobby and Citizens Climate Education, Iowa Great Lakes chapter, meets monthly at either the Estherville Public Library or Lakeside Laboratories in Milford.

Citizens' Climate Lobby is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization empowering people to experience breakthroughs exercising their personal and political power. The local chapter is just one of hundreds of chapters across the world working to create the political will for a livable world.



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