WILMINGTON — Wilmington College will delve into the relationship between peace and the environment through the lens of water justice as it presents the 29th annual Westheimer Peace Symposium Oct. 1.
Author/activist Winona LaDuke will give the keynote address at 7 p.m. in Heiland Theatre, Boyd Cultural Arts Center, on “Human Rights: The Rights of Nature and an Era of Extreme Extraction and Climate Change.”
A two-time vice presidential candidate with the Green Party, the acclaimed environmentalist and economist is known for her work on tribal land claims and preservation, along with sustainable development. The Harvard-educated LaDuke is closely associated with the Ojibwe White Earth Reservation in Minnesota.
LaDuke, who also works on such issues as climate change, renewable energy and food systems, will promote water justice and its necessity not only for human rights but also for the natural environment.
The daylong symposium also will feature a unique array of activities ranging from tours of the local water treatment plant and a roundtable discussion with elected representatives to a dance performance and panel sessions highlighting agriculture’s role in the environment and what people can do to promote water justice.
U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers heads a panel of elected officials discussing local water resources and issues related to environmentally just practices at 10 a.m. in the McCoy Room of Kelly Center. Concurrently, registered persons can tour the City of Wilmington Water Treatment Plant guided by superintendent Rick Schaffer, an opportunity that will be repeated at 1:45 p.m.
At 1 p.m., a dance troupe known as Pones will give an original performance featuring live music on the theme of water justice starting at the bridge over Lytle Creek in Hazard Arboretum and continuing to the McCoy Room. The dancers use their bodies to speak their minds, incorporating a “pedestrian-inspired” movement to spark collaboration, connection and community.
At 3:30 p.m., the symposium continues with a pair of concurrent sessions.
Ecologist Kim Landsbergen and organic farmer Bob Henson will present “Water Justice: Agriculture and the Environment” in the lobby of Boyd Cultural Arts Center. Landsbergen is a biology faculty member at Antioch College who uses physiological and biogeochemical methods to study carbon and water dynamics in terrestrial systems. Henson, past president of the Ohio Ecological Farm and Food Assn., will present key issues related to the ecology of water for sustainable farming and the environment.
At the same time, LaDuke and Jeri Nheri will present “Water Justice: What Can You Do?” in the McCoy Room. LaDuke is founder and co-director of Honor the Earth, a national advocacy group encouraging public support and funding for native environmental groups. Nheri is a member of the Greater Cincinnati Native American Coalition who creates awareness through education about indigenous, Native American rights.
Several pre-event activities are planned in conjunction with this year’s symposium. The Merian R. Hare Quaker Heritage Center is hosting a gallery exhibit, “I Stand with Standing Rock: Allied Awareness and Activism,” weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Also, the WC Native American Students Association will screen the documentary film, First Daughter and the Black Snake, Sept. 23, at 5:15 p.m., in BCAC 119, and the student organization, EcoClub Unlimited is planning a Lytle Creek Clean-Up Day Sept. 29.