Friday, April 28, 2017

Let's Talk about Water

After three flights and hours of tight connections as well as seats, Linda Leilinfeld arrived in Laramie. One of her first comments was on the night sky, flying in offered her a familiar memory –landing in Cuba in the 1980s. Originally from New York, this worldly woman had arrived in Wyoming for a Let’s Talk About Water event, an evening of dialogue and film designed to facilitate a conversation around the social justice issues relating to who has access to the west’s water and why. Linda is the creator and director of Let's Talk about Water and has traveled across the country helping sponsor events such as this one.
The Multicultural Association of Student Scientists (M.A.S.S.) received a grant from the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. (CUASHI) to put on the event. M.A.S.S. is a student organization that promotes student recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities in science at U.W. They host and participate in a variety of social and academic events on campus. They were interested in hosting this event due to their own focus on social justice issues, as well as Wyoming's dependency on water resources. They also teamed with the Haub School of Environmental and Natural Resources in the creation and promotion of the film screening.

The event was kicked off with an award winning film "Watershed: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West" This film takes a look at the Colorado River Pact and the value of water in the west. The film invites a variety of stakeholders to the conversation and with each perspective sheds light on news ways of rethinking water conservation. Wyoming is home to the headwaters of the Colorado River and is one of the seven states that depends on it's water. 

To continue the conversation after the film screening, M.A.S.S. opened a panel discussion. The panel included U.W. climatologist Dr. JJ Shinker, Colorado Riverkeeper John Weisheit, U.W. Associate Professor of Law Dr. Jason Robison, Johnathon Bowler, and Howard Dennis. The interdisciplinary group offered insight to the themes of the film based on their own backgrounds. M.A.S.S. students look forward to continuing the conversation across campus with more events such as this one. Ultimately bringing people together to talk about a water, a resource we all depend on, will allow us to step forward into a future of water conservation.