Canadian author and water rights activist Maude Barlow will headline a symposium in Corning on Saturday that will also include speakers on renewable energy, locally grown food and recycling.
Called “Solutions for Sustainability,” the symposium is set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at First United Methodist Church, 144 Cedar St., Corning. The fee is $15 or $10 for students, which includes lunch and refreshments.
According to her biography, Barlow is the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, Canada’s largest public advocacy organization. She serves on the boards of the Washington-based Food and Water Watch, and the San Francisco-based International Forum on Globalization.
She’s also the founder of the Blue Planet Project, an Ottawa-based non-profit which works internationally for people’s right to safe drinking water. In 2008 and 2009, she served as an advisor on water issues to the president of the United Nations General Assembly.
“Her focus is on water, and when it comes down to it, this is our most important resource, it’s the one that’s being most abused, and it’s one that we cannot live without,” said Elizabeth Whitehouse of Corning, one of the organizers of Saturday’s symposium.
Barlow has written 16 books, including a trilogy on the global water crisis - “Blue Gold: The Battle Against Corporate Theft of the World’s Water,” “Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water,” and “Blue Future: Protecting Water for People and the Planet Forever.”
“She has written extensively about the privatization of water, which is so absolutely wrong because it’s a common resource,” Whitehouse added. “There are people who say that the wars of the future are going to be about water.”
Also scheduled to speak Saturday:
• Anna Edney of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. She’s the founder of Solviva, which offers consulting and design using solar energy to power homes and grow food.
• Michael Burns, who’s co-founder of the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute, teaches public policy and foodshed studies at New Roots High School in Ithaca, and owns and operates Cayuta Sun Farm, which features pasture-raised poultry and woodland products.
• Albe Zakes, vice president for media relations at TerraCycle, Inc., a Fortune 500 company that converts waste materials into eco-friendly, affordable products.
“Our four speakers are focused on water, food and food production, renewable energy, and recycling and resource management,” Whitehouse said.
The symposium will include a Q&A with the speakers, and at the end of the event, attendees will be asked to brainstorm solutions to climate change, even small actions in their everyday lives, Whitehouse said.
For more information, go to www.pheinc1.org or call Whitehouse at 936-4732 or Ruth Young at 846-2732. Guests are asked to pre-register.
The event is sponsored by People for a Healthy Environment, Compost International, the Steuben County League of Women Voters, Coalition to Protect New York, and Food and Water Watch.