Symposium examines water as a human right
Symposium: Tue Apr 14-Thu Apr 16, Rosenfield Center 101 unless otherwise indicated.
See calendar for schedule.
"Water." Seems simple, and yet access to clean, potable water is a complex human right in many parts of the world. A symposium, April 14-16, will examine the ubiquitous liquid from local, national, and international viewpoints by experts in natural resources, environmental journalism, toxicology, and non-profit research.
"In many parts of the world, water supply is more critical than petroleum, yet taken for granted," said Sarah Purcell, director of the college's Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs. "We are in a unique position in Iowa to study this issue because our number-one industry -- agriculture -- depends heavily on adequate water supply, yet in many areas of the state, we treat water as a waste product, and last year we experienced historic flooding caused by these divergent needs and practices."
The symposium also supports a number of Grinnell courses that use "water as a lens to understand other issues," Purcell said, citing classes in policy studies to observe the politics of water; in environmental studies to examine conservation problems and solutions; in theatre to study water equality and women in developing nations; and in chemistry to analyze water quality.
Co-sponsored by the college's Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights, the Center for Prairie Studies, and the Henry R. Luce Program in Nations and the Global Environment, the schedule for the three-day water symposium includes:
Tuesday, April 14, 4:15 p.m.: Environmental journalist Elizabeth Grossman will open the symposium with observations on the effects of climate change on bodies of water in "Watershed: Dams, River Health, and Climate Change." Grossman is the author of two recent books, Watershed: The Undamming of America, Adventuring Along the Lewis & Clark Trail and High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxins and Human Health.
Tuesday, April 14, 8 p.m.: Braimah Apambire, senior advisor on water, sanitation and hygiene for the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, will describe "Water Quality and Water Policy in West Africa." Safe water development is one of the program initiatives and societal needs supported by the worldwide Hilton Foundation.
Wednesday, April 15, 4:15 p.m.: Hydrologist Matthew Heberger, research associate with the Pacific Institute's Water Program, will present case studies on how pollution and over-allocation threaten this natural resource in "Facing the National Water Crisis." The Pacific Institute is a non-partisan research institute that works to advance environmental protection, economic development, and social equity, with international water supply as one of its major initiatives.
Wednesday, April 15, 8 p.m.: A showing of The Water Front, a travelling documentary, will consider the potential for water privatization, conservation, and the need for citizen action, based on the experience of a Great Lakes community, Highland Park, Mich.
Thursday, April 16, 11 a.m.: Bill Ehm, Iowa Department of Natural Resources director of water resource policy, will evaluate "Water, the Public's Wealth." Ehm has worked for the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission, Department of Agriculture in soil conservation, and for the state's watershed improvement program.
Thursday, April 16, 4:15 p.m.: The symposium will conclude with a presentation by water ecologist Ed Brands '96 on "Policy, Process, and Perception: What Determines the Quality and Safety of Drinking Water?" Brands is coordinator of the urban environmental studies program and assistant professor of geography at Birmingham Southern College.
For more information, contact Sarah Purcell, email@example.com, 641-269-3091.