Freshwater Resources Topic of Where On Earth Are We Going Symposium

Olivia DrakeOctober 27, 20094min
Patrick Osborne
Patrick Osborne, executive director of the Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center at the University of Missouri - St. Louis, will speak on climate change during the Where on Earth Are We Going symposium Nov. 7.

During the last 50 years, humans have degraded rivers and lakes through excessive water abstraction, pollution and by over-harvesting aquatic organisms. River flow has been impeded by dams, and floodplains have been converted for agriculture and urban areas.

The human population has doubled to nearly 7 billion and, per capita water availability has declined on all continents. During the past 50 years, global climate change has further impacted water resources.

On Nov. 7, three climate experts will speak on “Global Environmental Change And Freshwater Resources: Hope For The Best Or Change To Prepare For The Worst?” during the annual Where On Earth Are We Going? Symposium. The event is sponsored by the Robert Schumann Lecture Series in the Environmental Studies Program.

At 9 a.m., Patrick L. Osborne, executive director of the Harris World Ecology Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, will look at ways climate change and global warming have altered river and lake function and the water resources on which humans rely. He has 30 years experience in tropical ecology research, education and environmental consultancy and was the head of the biology department at the University of Papua New Guinea and deputy director of the Water Research Center at the University of Western Sydney in Australia.

At 10:15 a.m., Frank H. McCormick, program manager of Air, Water and Aquatic Environments at the Rocky Mountain Research Station, will speak on “Water in a Changing Climate-The Role of the National Forests in the Water Infrastructure.”

Osborne’s and McCormick’s talks will be held inside the Exley Science Center in the Tishler Lecture Hall, Room 150.

In conjunction with the 17th Annual Dwight L. Greene Symposium, at 4 p.m., Majora Carter ’88, founder of the Sustainable South Bronx and River Heroes, host of Eco-Heroes on Sundance Channel and The Promised Land on National Public Radio, will speak on “Green the Ghetto and How Much It Won’t Cost Us.” Carter founded and led Sustainable South Bronx from 2001 to 2008, and is currently president of her own economic development consulting group.

After decades of increasing and unprecedented philanthropic giving in the US, public health, income disparities, educational outcomes, and incarceration and recidivism are all getting worse. People attempting to fit into society after traumatic combat and/or prison experiences, or from generational poverty are some of our most expensive citizens.

Carter will explain how horticultural infrastructure is a key component of successful and efficient storm water run off management. Where and to whom jobs are distributed in horticultural engineering can have multiple social, economic and environmental impacts if it’s done with intelligence and care.

Carter will speak at the Memorial Chapel.

For more information on “Where Are We Going?” contact Valerie Marinelli, administrative assistant of the Environmental Studies Program, at or 800-685-3733.