Summit to examine freshwater issues
Community leaders, government officials and researchers from the U.S. and Canada will convene at UIC next month to address issues impacting the Great Lakes region, such as lead poisoning, oil pipelines, budget cuts, clean water access and environmental protection.
The summit, “Untrouble the Waters,” will be held May 10 and 11 in Student Center East. The event is organized by The Freshwater Lab, a UIC-based initiative that works to engage the public in freshwater issues.
“The Great Lakes play a vital role in our region’s economy and public health, and by working together to preserve this precious resource and ensure universal access to its benefits, we hope to continue to serve as a model for other regions throughout the world that share freshwater resources,” said Rachel Havrelock, founder of The Freshwater Lab and associate professor of English.
In addition to a panel of Great Lakes mayors and leaders, “Untrouble the Waters” will draw on advocates from across race, class and gender lines.
Speakers include Maude Barlow, national chairperson for the Council of Canadians; Denise Abdul-Rahman, environmental climate justice chair for NAACP Indiana; Robert Blanchard, chairman of The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribal Council; Paula Hicks-Hudson, Mayor of Toledo, Ohio; and advocates from several nonprofit organizations.
The event’s diverse set of speakers and panelists represent communities whose health, lives, and livelihood are dependent upon the Great Lakes.
“With women, minorities, and low-income communities often bearing the brunt of environmental degradation, it’s crucial that those groups are fully represented in any conversation about freshwater issues,” Havrelock said.
Day 2 of the summit includes working group sessions to plan new initiatives to launch this summer.
Admission is free; registration is encouraged.
The summit is supported by the McDougal Family Foundation, the Mott Foundation and the Alliance for the Great Lakes.