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UNH "Taps In" to Water Issues With Film Series, Speaker

By Beth Potier, Media Relations
February 3, 2010

Water rights activist Maude Barlow will speak at the University of New Hampshire on March 4, 2010, as part of UNH’s “Tap In” series on water issues.

This spring promises to be wetter than usual at UNH when “Tap In,” a series of films and a lecture about water issues, begins to flow Feb. 16. The series will explore issues of water privatization, access, quality and even the spiritual significance of water with four award-winning documentary films (Feb. 16 and 22, March 22, April 20) and a lecture by water rights activist Maude Barlow on March 4.

“Tap In,” sponsored by the Office of Sustainability along with Food & Water Watch, offers the following events, all free and open to the public:

Film: “Flow”
Tuesday, Feb. 16, 6 p.m. in the MUB Theatre I
Irena Salina’s award-winning documentary film investigates what experts label the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st century -- the world water crisis. Salina builds a case against the growing privatization of the world’s dwindling fresh water supply with an unflinching focus on politics, pollution, human rights, and the emergence of a domineering world water cartel. Interviews with scientists and activists reveal the rapidly building crisis, at both the global and human scale, and the film introduces many of the governmental and corporate culprits behind the water grab, while begging the question, “Can anyone really own water?” 

Film: “Blue Gold: World Water Wars”
Monday, Feb., 6 p.m. in the MUB Theatre I
“Blue Gold” follows numerous worldwide examples of people fighting for their basic right to water, from court cases to violent revolutions to U.N. conventions to revised constitutions to local protests at grade schools. The overdevelopment of agriculture, housing and industry increase the demands for fresh water well beyond the finite supply, resulting in the desertification of the earth. A line is crossed as water becomes a commodity. Will we survive?

Speaker: Maude Barlow
Thursday, March 4, 7:10 p.m., 115 Murkland Hall (free parking across Main St.)
Maude Barlow, the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians and chair of the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch, will speak about water issues. In 2008-09, Barlow served as senior advisor on water to the President of the United Nations General Assembly. She is also the best-selling author or co-author of 16 books, including the international best-seller “Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis” and “The Coming Battle for the Right to Water.” Barlow is the recipient of eight honorary doctorates as well as many awards, including the 2005 Right Livelihood Award (known as the “Alternative Nobel”), the Citation of Lifetime Achievement at the 2008 Canadian Environment Awards, and the 2009 Earth Day Canada Outstanding Environmental Achievement Award.

Film: “Tapped”
Monday, March 22, 6 p.m. in the MUB Theatre I
Stephanie Soechtig’s debut feature film is an unflinching examination of the big business of bottled water. Is access to clean drinking water a basic human right, or is water a commodity that should be bought and sold like any other article of commerce? From the producers of “Who Killed the Electric Car” and “I.O.U.S.A.,” this timely documentary is a behind-the-scenes look into the unregulated and unseen world of an industry that aims to privatize and sell back the one resource that ought never to become a commodity: our water.

Film: “Liquid Assets”
Tuesday, April 20, 6 p.m. in the MUB Theatre I
This 90-minute documentary tells the story of essential infrastructure systems: water, wastewater, and stormwater. These systems — some in the ground for more than 100 years — provide a critical public health function and are essential for economic development and growth. Largely out of sight and out of mind, these aging systems have not been maintained, and some estimates suggest this is the single largest public works endeavor in our nation’s history.

UNH is a leader in conserving energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and integrating sustainability throughout its curricula, operations, research, and engagement efforts. UNH has earned many accolades for its sustainability initiatives, including awards and recognition from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, Sustainable Endowments Institute, Sierra Club, Princeton Review, and Business NH Magazine. Highlights of its sustainability commitment include EcoLine, an innovative landfill gas-to-energy project that will provide up to 85 percent of the university’s energy needs; having the largest transit system in the state; being the first in the nation to receive an EPA Energy Star building rating for residence halls; a new EcoGastronomy dual major; a graduate certificate in sustainability politics and policy; and innovative research and engagement efforts like Carbon Solutions New England and the NH Farm to School program.

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