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Eco-Festival 2011 "Sustaining Waters"

Eco-Festival 2011 “Sustaining Waters”

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill that began with an explosion on April 22, 2010, claiming eleven lives and taking an incalculable toll on marine life, alerted us to the catastrophic impact our human activities can have on marine ecosystems.

Water: source of life, essential to all life, sustaining our planet. Water covers 70 percent of the earth’s surface and sustains 50 percent of the world’s species. Our oceans absorb nearly one-third of CO2 emissions. Yet, less than one percent of that water is protected. One billion people depend on seafood as their primary protein source—yet global fish stocks are crashing.  Only 2.5 percent of the world’s water is fresh, and of this a mere fraction is available for human consumption. One billion people lack access to clean water, according to the UN. Over-fishing, pollution, development, and climate change—all effects of an exploding human population—threaten the waters that sustain us. What can we do to address the crisis? How can we sustain our waters? These are questions we are exploring in Eco-Festival 2011.

Eco-Festival 2011 features an exciting lineup of speakers.  On the morning of April 13, our keynote speaker is Carl Safina, author of many books on marine life, including Song for the Blue Ocean, Eye of the Albatross, Voyage of the Turtle, and most recently, The View from Lazy Point. The title of his talk is: “In the Same Net; Biodiversity, Ethics, and the Human Spirit.” He will be joined by Dr. Charles Vorosmarty, director of CUNY’s Environmental Crossroads Initiative and NOAA-CREST Distinguished Scientist, whose topic is Global Threats to Freshwater Eco-Sytems: What Does This Mean for Humans and for Nature?”; Dr. John Waldman of Queens College, formerly of the Hudson River Foundation and author of Heartbeats in the Muck: The History, Sea Life, and Environment of New York Harbor, whose talk title is “Rivers and Shifting Baselines: Who Hears the Fishes When They Cry?”, and Leonardo Viana of the Ocean Conservancy, who will speak on “Our Oceans: Earth’s Life Support System.”

On the morning of April 14, speakers are Robert Sullivan, author of The Meadowlands and Rats, who will talk on “The Surprising Comeback of New York Harbor”; Kelly McMasters, author of Welcome to Shirley: A Memoir of an Atomic Town, whose talk title is “Standing at the Edge of the Sea: Our Human Ecosystem”; Derek Denckla, founder of the Propeller Group and FarmCity.US, who will speak on “Rising Tides & Empty Tables: The Nexus Between Watershed & Foodshedwater”; and Dr. Adeline Apena of Kingsborough, who will speak on “Africa: water usage, scarcity, and pollution.”

Other highlights include our highly popular Green Trade Fair; an Afternoon of Eco-Arts, featuring marine photographers Suzanne and Glen Rankin, who will present their award-winning “Colors of the Sea”, and our guest poet, George Held, followed by a student-hosted Café Night, which will feature fashion, music, and poetry. In addition we will have workshops, student and faculty panels, and films.

All events are free and open to the public.

On April 15, the Maritime  Technology Program is hosting their annual program for high school students. Its topic this year is “The Gulf Oil Spill: A Year Later,” and keynote speaker is Thomas Bronson of NOAA.

For a pdf of the Eco-Festival 2011 Program, click here.

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