Apr 12, 2017

Summit to Focus on Great Lakes Basin Protection

The Freshwater Lab Summit will address clean water issues & promote equal access to freshwater

freshwater lab, great lakes, event

Recognizing that those most affected by environmental issues offer the most valuable perspective in the search for lasting solutions, The Freshwater Lab Summit 2017 will bring together a range of community leaders, government officials, and researchers from the U.S. and Canada in Chicago May 10 and 11, 2017 to tackle lead poisoning, oil pipelines, budget cuts and other threats to the Great Lakes region.

The summit, titled Untrouble the Waters, is organized by The Freshwater Lab, an educational initiative based at the University of Illinois at Chicago that works to engage the public in freshwater issues. The Great Lakes—comprising Lakes Michigan, Erie, Huron, Ontario, and Superior—contain 21% of the world’s supply of surface freshwater, with 50 million people dependent on them as a freshwater resource. The region supports 46 million jobs, or roughly 30% of the combined U.S. and Canadian workforce, and produces 28% of the two countries' economic output.

The lineup of speakers and panelists represents the spectrum of 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," said Dr. Rachel Havrelock, founder of The Freshwater Lab. "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.”

The Freshwater Lab Summit will address a range of pressing water issues impacting communities across the Great Lakes basin, including water costs and the right to clean water regardless of race, wealth, or class; the threat of oil pipelines; the impact of lead pipes on freshwater delivery; and new models for enhancing water quality, human health, and everyday life. The summit will also devote an entire day to working group sessions, which will allow participants to identify and plan new initiatives that will be put into action in the summer of 2017.

Members of the public can register here to attend Untrouble the Waters: The Freshwater Lab Summit 2017.