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Matt Russell of Iowa Interfaith Power and Light to Present February 6 Lecture

By Clarke News  |  January 13, 2020
Matt Russell
Matt Russell

Matt Russell, Executive Director of Iowa Interfaith Power and Light, will present a Mackin-Mailander Lecture on Thursday, February 6, in Jansen Music Hall on the campus of Clarke University. His lecture is titled ‘Moving From Climate Change To Climate Action.’

Russell’s lecture will focus on faith and the shared values of faith traditions as the path forward in solving the climate crisis. Farmers and rural Americans can and must lead in advancing solutions to the climate crisis. Russell encourages others to move away from the politics of division and into action rooted in identity, specifically with a call to climate action grounded in the values we share across faith traditions.

The 7 p.m. lecture is open to the public. General admission tickets are $10 and are available at the door or by phone at (563)588-6377.

The theme for the Clarke University arts and lecture offerings throughout the 2019-2020 academic year is Do Something! The goal for these events is to inspire and motivate people to do. Find your passion. Pursue a goal with your whole heart. Help others. Get involved. Be engaged. Make a difference. Do Something!

Russell has spent his career working in non-profits and advocating for social justice. He first trained for and worked in the ministry, and later did secular work focused primarily on economic and environmental sustainability. He joined Iowa Interfaith Power and Light in 2018.

Prior to his arrival at Iowa Interfaith Power and Light, Russell worked at the Drake University Agricultural Law Center on issues concerning retail agriculture, land tenure, conservation, climate change, farmer veterans, rural development, state food policy, and federal farm policy. Additionally, he has worked for Iowa Citizen Action Network and the National Catholic Rural Life Conference. Russell also taught religion at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, sociology at Des Moines Area Community College, and undergraduate courses at Drake University.

His work on sustainability has taken him to 26 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Scotland, Italy, and Cuba. He served on the Iowa Farm Service Agency State Committee of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) from 2010 through 2017. Russell has appeared on CNN, CBS, NBC’s TODAY, and in the Des Moines Register, New York Times, and Time Magazine.

“Matt is becoming a nationally recognized expert on the issue of climate change and what can be done about it. What I especially appreciate is that his message is one of hope rather than doom and gloom. We are so lucky to have him speak at Clarke University,” said Michael Knock, chair of the Mackin-Mailander Lecture Series committee and Clarke Associate Professor of History.

Matt is a fifth generation Iowa farmer. He and his husband Patrick Standley operate Coyote Run Farm, a 110-acre farm in rural Lacona. They raise fresh produce, heirloom tomato plants, and grass-finished beef.

The Mackin-Mailander Lecture Series was established in 1997 after Clarke received gifts from Mary Mackin ’34 and Verna Slattery-Mailander ’20, to establish an endowed lecture series. The lecture series throughout the year features prominent outside speakers, a faculty lecture, and an alumni lecture.