“The wars of the next century will be about water.”

—Ismail Serageldin, vice president of the World Bank, 1999

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While access to water is considered to be a fundamental human right, available fresh water is diminishing causing food shortages, ecological destruction, and increased geo-political tension. Dialogue among people who share the need for clean water, concern about its scarcity, and a determination to effect positive change can result in new attitudes toward conservation, methods of distribution, and technologies.

Participants in these Water Dialogues include scientists, mediators, artists, and policy makers working on the ground locally, nationally, and globally as well as Bennington students, faculty, and staff.

Monday, April 16, 2012

12:30–2:00 pm
Tishman Auditorium
Everything You Wanted to Know about Water and Were Afraid to Ask
Fresh water is the most fundamental resource needed to support life and human society. Where does your water come from, why is it scarce in some regions while plentiful in others, and why are water supplies at risk? This opening workshop will present a broad overview of how and why freshwater resources are distributed around the globe, both spatially and temporally. We will discuss the natural controlling factors for the major types of water resources, how human activity impacts those resources, and how they change as climates evolve. Please come with your questions.

  • TIM SCHROEDER, geologist and Bennington College science faculty member
4:10–6:00 pm
CAPA Symposium
An Overview of Legal Issues Concerning Water Quality and Quantity: Where We Have Been, Where We Are, and Where We Need To Go in the Future
Creating legal frameworks to regulate water quantity has been fraught with challenges. Legislation, litigation, and interstate compacts have been ineffectual and science has generally been trumped by politics. The rapidly evolving nature of scientific knowledge outstrips legislators’ ability to keep pace with appropriate regulations and judges’ obligation to avoid unnecessarily overturning legal precedents. Often a lack of scientific expertise prevents jurists from rendering effective judgments. The discussion will cover transboundary water quantity disputes in the past, how they went awry, and how disputes might be resolved in the future. In conjunction with Elisabeth Goodman’s Environmental Law and Policy class.

  • RANDIE DENKER ’72, founder of Waters Without Borders, environmental attorney
  • STEVE LEITMAN, founder of Waters Without Borders, certified mediator
7:00 pm
CAPA Symposium
Reclaiming Vermont’s Energy Future: The North Bennington Hydro-Electric Project
Vermont was once powered entirely by Vermont hydro facilities. Today less than 15% of our energy comes from Vermont companies. Vermont is one of the most challenging states in which to license hydro-electric facilities due to its strict water quality standards related to dams, fish migration, and habitat issues. Can we find a way to access more than 1,200 unused Vermont dams without a negative effect on water quality? In this session we will discuss how through collaboration we have gained the support of opponents of hydro facilities and developed a hydro project that has quantifiably improved water quality.

  • BILL SCULLY ’94, director of dining services, Bennington College, developer, and hydro-power advocate
  • BRIAN CAMPION, Vermont state legislator, North Bennington
  • DAVID DEEN, Vermont state legislator, Windham
  • BRIAN FITZGERALD, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Water Quality
  • CAROL OLDHAM ’93, outreach coordinator, northeast, National Wildlife Federation
  • TIM SCHROEDER, geologist and science faculty member, Bennington College

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

10:10 am–Noon
CAPA Symposium
An Overview of a Transboundary Water Dispute in the Southeastern United States
The Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) basin, a nearly 20,000-square-mile basin in the southeastern United States, lies in the states of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. For more than 20 years the three states have struggled unsuccessfully, through negotiation and litigation, to share the waters of the ACF basin equitably. We will examine the causes of the dispute and ask why the three states and the federal government have failed to resolve this problem. In conjunction with Peter Pagnucco’s And Process For All class. Suggested reading: Contact Peter Pagnucco .

  • STEVE LEITMAN, founder of Waters Without Borders, certified mediator
  • RANDIE DENKER ’72, founder of Waters Without Borders, environmental attorney
2:10–4:00 pm
CAPA Symposium
Framing Water Problems as Art
Water is at the center of Patricia Johanson’s art and public projects, from recycling sewage into drinkable water and channeling property-damaging floods, to water harvesting, stormwater purification, and remediating acidic mine drainage. All of her designs combine art, ecology, and functional infrastructure while providing educational opportunities and wildlife habitat within the context of public parks. In conjunction with Jon Isherwood’s Projects in Sculpture: Making It Personal class.

  • PATRICIA JOHANSON ’62, artist and landscape designer
Suggested readings/viewings:

7:00 pm
CAPA Symposium
2012 RUTH DEWING EWING '37 SOCIAL SCIENCE LECTURE
Middle East Water Conflicts: Desalination–A Game-Changer for Regional Water Management in the Middle East
Water is a source of life; it is also a source of conflict and throughout history has posed one of the greatest challenges to humanity. More than a billion people have no access to safe water, and 2.6 billion people have no adequate sanitation. Lack of water is no longer a physical barrier as desalination technologies can make fresh water infinitely abundant.

Developed countries with access to the coast are rapidly implementing desalination technologies as a solution to water scarcity. From Australia to Saudi Arabia, desalination is now a key component of national water management strategies. Desalination can also provide a new opportunity for regional water management between Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority and can cause a shift in the sanctioned discourse of water needs versus water rights. If desalination can provide plentiful fresh, high-quality, and reasonably priced water, countries can purchase according to their needs. This session will present a regional framework for how such a regional water market might function for Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. Suggested reading: Water Wisdom: Preparing the Ground Work for Cooperative and Sustainable Water management in the Middle East, Alon Tal and Alfred Abed Rabo, eds. (available at Amazon)

  • CLIVE LIPCHIN, director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies Center for Transboundary Water Management, Israel, 2012 Ruth Dewing Ewing ’37 Social Science Lecturer
Panelists:

  • SALEEM ALI, professor of environmental studies at the University of Vermont, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources; Director of the Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security at UVMs James Jeffords Center for Policy Research
  • RABBI MICHAEL COHEN, Israel Congregation in Manchester Center, Vermont, director of development, Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, Israel
  • MANSOUR FARHANG, former Iranian ambassador to the United Nations and social science faculty member, Bennington College
  • PATRICIA JOHANSON ’62, artist and landscape designer
  • JULIAN PORTILLA, director of the Graduate Program in Mediation and Applied Conflict Studies of the Woodbury Institute of Champlain College
  • Suggested reading: Water Wisdom: Preparing the Ground Work for Cooperative and Sustainable Water management in the Middle East, Alon Tal and Alfred Abed Rabo, eds., Rutgers University Press, 2010.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

10:10 am–Noon
CAPA Symposium
Dialogue: What Can We Learn from Each Other?
In conjunction with Elizabeth Coleman’s Fundamentals of Advancing Public Action class.

  • SALEEM ALI, professor of environmental studies at the University of Vermont, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources; director of the Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security at UVMs James Jeffords Center for Policy Research
  • RABBI MICHAEL COHEN, Israel Congregation in Manchester Center, Vermont; director of development, Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, Israel
  • RANDIE DENKER ’72, founder of Waters Without Borders, environmental attorney
  • STEVE LEITMAN, founder of Waters Without Borders, certified mediator
  • CLIVE LIPCHIN, director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies Center for Transboundary Water Management, Israel
  • JULIAN PORTILLA, director of the Graduate Program in Mediation and Applied Conflict Studies of the Woodbury Institute of Champlain College
  • BILL SCULLY ’94, entrepreneur, hydro-power advocate, and director of dining services, Bennington College
Moderator:

  • ELIZABETH COLEMAN, president, Bennington College
2:10–4:00 pm
CAPA Symposium
River of Words
Rivers connect—landscape and experience, rivers and community, swimming and stewardship, private reflection and public action, the written word and experiential activism. This session will investigate some of these connections. A short film and presentation will be based on one community’s shoreline project—the River Pool at Beacon, Inc. and the annual cross-river swim that supports its operation—but dialogue will not be confined to this particular waterscape.
In conjunction with Mark Wunderlich’s Ecopoetics: Origins of Environmental Literature class.

Suggested reading:
Riverpool.


  • AKIKO BUSCH ’75, author and design critic
4:10–6:00 pm
Tishman Auditorium
Freedom and Unity: The Vermont Movie
This film is a collaborative project with contributions from more than 20 Vermont filmmakers. It explores the history of Vermont's independent spirit and activism from the past to the present. Segments of the film that touch on issues of water quality in Vermont will be screened.
In conjunction with Katie Purdie’s
Documentary Production: Personal and Political class.

  • NORA JACOBSON, award-winning filmmaker based in Norwich, Vermont; Guggenheim; NEA Media Fellowship, and LEF Foundation grant recipient.
7:00 pm
CAPA Symposium
Climate Change, Flood Resiliency, and Lessons Learned from Irene
What impact has climate change had on Vermont? What lessons have we learned from the devastating floods of tropical storm Irene help us consider ways we can prepare our communities for the greater rainfall anticipated from climate change and to help us become more resilient to future flooding.

  • DEB MARKOWITZ, secretary of Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
  • DAVID MEARS, commissioner, Department of Environmental Conservation

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Noon–1:00 pm
CAPA Symposium
Environmental Studies Colloquium: Conserving Forests to Protect Aquatic Ecosystems, Water Resources, and People
Most people like trees so the notion that these solar-powered living filters can efficiently protect human and ecosystem health is very appealing. However, when forest conservation is embraced as the preferred approach or core philosophy, an interrelated set of questions quickly emerges. They typically center on what forest land is most important to conserve, how should it be managed (if at all) once it is protected, and which private landowners (if not all) should be compensated for public (downstream) benefits. Successful projects and programs are founded on objective, understandable, and equitable answers—developed collaboratively by diverse groups of people and organizations—to these ubiquitous questions.

  • PAUL BARTEN, professor of forest resources in the department of environmental conservation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst; director of the Forest-to-Faucet Partnership
1:00–2:00 pm
CAPA Lobby
Coral Reef Research in the Cayman Islands Diversity of Coral Reef Animals
This past January, 14 Bennington College undergraduate students joined Elizabeth Sherman in the Cayman Islands to conduct coral reef biology field work. After becoming certified SCUBA divers, the students collected fish diversity data that were submitted to Reef Environmental Education Foundation, which maintains an international database on fish diversity collected by divers around the world. These data are widely used by scientists, governments, NGOs, and policy makers. The students will present their own coral reef biology research during the poster session.

  • ELIZABETH SHERMAN, biologist and science faculty member, Bennington College
2:10–4:00 pm
CAPA Symposium
Discussion: Readings on Water Issues
In conjunction with her Workshop on Advancing Public Action class, Elizabeth Coleman will facilitate a discussion. 

Suggested readings:

7:00 pm
CAPA Symposium
ROBERT H. WOODWORTH LECTURE
Beyond the Obituaries: Success Stories in Ocean Conservation
The last two decades have been filled with news of the death of the oceans. While enormous challenges remain, there are also success stories that can be told. They illustrate that all is not hopeless and that individuals can make a difference. Dr. Nancy Knowlton will discuss the current state of the ocean in her keynote.

  • NANCY KNOWLTON, Sant Chair in Marine Science at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History; Robert H. Woodworth Lecturer

Friday, April 20, 2012

11:00 am–Noon
CAPA Circle

(Rain location: VAPA, scene shop)
Solar Hot Water Heater Demonstration
This demonstration will showcase high-quality homemade solar collectors that can be built for approximately $200. Four of these solar collectors can produce hot water for a typical household.

  • MIKE RANCOURT, technical director, Bennington College, built his own energy efficient house using these solar collectors
1:00–1:50 pm
Dickinson 225
Science Workshop: The Evolutionary Diversity and Ecological Complexity of Coral Reefs

  • NANCY KNOWLTON, Sant Chair in Marine Science at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History
2:10–4:00 pm
East Academic Center, Room 1
Global Capitalism: Water Wars
Ismail Serageldin expressed his perspective on the importance of water issues in the quote opening this schedule of events. As the former vice president of the World Bank, he represented an institution that encourages the privatization of the world’s water supply. In author Vandana Shiva’s opinion, water wars are not a thing of the future. They already surround us, both as paradigm wars—conflicts over how we perceive and experience water—and as traditional wars, fought with guns and grenades.

In this session, we will explore how corporate interests, sometimes constructed as an essential part of national defense by protecting national interests through the strategic acquisition of the world’s major water supplies, can also be constructed as largely profit-oriented policies by recognizing that once a company owns a water supply, it can be in its best financial interest to make the water scarce and hard to afford. Creating a problem, then marketing a solution, is a very profitable business practice—not to mention the additional profits to be gained from defending the supply in a war. In conjunction with Mirka Prazak's Global Capitalism class.

Suggested reading:
Vandana Shiva, Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit,  South End Press (February, 2002).

  • MIRKA PRAZAK, anthropologist and social science faculty member, Bennington College
7:00–8:00 pm
Presentation
8:00–10:00 pm
Exhibition and Reception
VAPA/Usdan Gallery
Resilience and Resistance: Few Possible Futures for Living with Water
Jon Cohrs, Mary Mattingly, and Taeyoon Choi, all current and past fellows at Eyebeam Art and Technology Center in New York City, have been working at the intersection of art, architecture, urban research, and participatory performance with specific interest in creative use of technology. Their collaboration began in 2010 when they went on a research trip to rivers undergoing massive development and urbanization in South Korea. In this exhibition, they will exhibit artifacts and documents from completed works and also present work in progress research about Vermont rivers. The exhibition will be based on their research and practice on natural resources, development and public policy, and employing tactics of performance and site-specific intervention. Curated by New Normal Business.

  • JON COHRS, recording engineer and visual/sound artist, fellow at The Eyebeam Art and Technology Center
  • TAEYOON CHOI, committee member of the Public School New York and artistic director of Temporary Seoul residency for cultural producers
  • MARY MATTINGLY, founder of the Waterpod Project, a self-sufficient habitat and public space atop a barge built to explore future collaborative living situations
  • Artists from EyeBeam Art and Technology Center

Saturday, April 21, 2012

10:00am-9:00pm
Lake Paran
Celebration of Lake Paran
The celebration is a benefit for Paran Recreations, the stewards of Lake Paran in North Bennington, Vermont. Notable members of our community will speak about the history of Lake Paran to celebrate water bodies in Vermont, specifically Lake Paran. There will be a model boat regatta and prizes will be awarded in several categories.
10:00–Noon
Hiking and bird-watching around Lake Paran
10:00–Noon
Canoe rides on Lake Paran
Noon–1:00 pm
Lunch
1:00–3:00 pm
Volleyball tournament and craft sale
3:00–3:30 pm
Introduction to Lake Paran Regatta
3:30–5:30 pm
Lake Paran Regatta (model boat races)
5:30–8:30 pm
Picnic dinner and party

CAPA programming is funded through the generous support of:

Robert Borden and Susan Paris Borden ’69
Bringing Theory to Practice Project of the AAC&U
Davis Educational Foundation
David Jaffe and Amy Dolgin Jaffe ’67
Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation
Leir Charitable Foundations
Albert Merck and Katharine Evarts Merck ’46
Loet and Edith Velmans
Laura-Lee Whittier Woods ’48, made possible by the L.K. Whittier Foundation