The Downstream Neighbor: International Water Advocates Speak on Water Security January 27-29


From email from The Downstream Neighbor:

The Downstream Neighbor celebrates water as a connector, spiritual inspiration, and nurturance for our lives and explores some of the best practices for protecting water for the benefit of future generations, in a symposium January 27-29, 2012 in Denver.

This extraordinary weekend symposium brings together people from all walks of life in dialogue around the Front Range connection to the South Platte watershed. Critical conversations about our water future will be guided and inspired by international voices for Earth, water, and human rights: Maude Barlow and Elizabeth Peredo Beltrán.

The symposium takes the view that by considering Colorado water in the context of the cosmos, the global hydrologic cycle, and the entire family of life on Earth, we can better understand our home watershed and face what we must do to be responsible to the downstream neighbor.

The symposium opens Friday afternoon at 4 pm at the Theater at Colorado Heights University with a screening of Journey of the Universe. Written by religion scholar Mary Evelyn Tucker and mathematical cosmologist Brian Thomas Swimme, this film establishes an inspiring context for the beginning weeks of Colorado Water 2012.

At 7 pm on Friday, January 27, keynote speaker Maude Barlow—National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and chair of the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch—will present the relationship of water to the entire family of life on Earth, valuing water as a commons, and intrinsic right, and a public trust.

At 8:30 am on Saturday, January 28, the Bolivian civic leader, Elizabeth Peredo Beltrán will speak in celebration of water as a common good and a human right. “The planet is not a resource, it is our home,” Beltran emphasizes.

The Saturday session will include regional and local experts on a range of topics that increasingly focus on our home watershed the South Platte, how we may become more connected with the river and what the river needs to flourish. Saturday topics include the cosmic origins of water, deep transition, water ethics, water and food justice, respecting nature’s ways in our approaches to solving the water crisis, getting involved in watershed groups, and the nexus between water and energy choices such as coal, natural gas, and renewables.

Sunday’s session beginning at 12 noon engages participants in further discussion on concerns like those that brought the conference planning committee together. For our watershed—like most of Earth—faces a water crisis:

· Much of our water comes from another watershed—and partly as a result, a major river no longer reaches the sea.
· More water has been promised than can be delivered.
· Controversial water uses greatly diminish the water available to farmers, a swelling human population, and the rest of nature.

Yet, the waters flowing in and through our watershed belong to Earth, to all species, to future generations.

The symposium will close with an opportunity for participants to inspire one another and become more aware of the great shift required as old notions of “separation from nature” slip away.

· What are the urgent concerns of our near and farther neighbors?
· What does it mean for the public to own the water?
· What does water need from us?
· How does water connect us, inspire us?

We are all downstream neighbors.

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