August 15: Systems Thinking to Protect the Great Lakes in the 21st Century (with Liz Kirkwood)
Thursday, August 15
5:00pm – 7:00pm
Old Art Building
Prioritizing the health of the Great Lakes for current and future generations is more urgently needed than ever before; unprecedented systemic problems threaten the Great Lakes, including climate change impacts, invasive species, toxic pollution and dead zones from nutrient runoff, water diversions, and failing water infrastructure systems. These very waters—some 20 percent of the planet’s fresh surface water—drive the region’s $62 billion economy and provide drinking water, recreation, manufacturing, power generation, commercial fishing, and maritime navigation to 40 million people.
Come learn about FLOW’s work to protect the Great Lakes as a public commons safeguarded by an enforceable doctrine of human values and legal principles recognized since the Roman Empire as the public trust. Applying public trust principles to modern natural resource management means that protection can transcend existing jurisdictional boundaries and citizens can hold states accountable to ensure that private interests do not harm our Great Lakes waters. Executive Director, Liz Kirkwood, will discuss FLOW’s cutting-edge policy work on the Line 5 pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac, model water legislation, aquaculture in the Great Lakes, water diversions, and much more.
Liz Kirkwood is executive director of FLOW (For Love of Water), a non-profit based in Traverse City dedicated to protecting the public waters and ecosystems in the Great Lakes Basin. Previously, Liz worked as an environmental lawyer at Farella, Braun & Martel in San Francisco and then for USAID in Thailand on environmental governance and water and sanitation issues. Liz graduated from Williams College with a degree in Environmental Studies and History, and she received her JD and Environmental Certificate from Lewis & Clark Law School.