Global Freshwaters Summit looks at ecosystems, science, governance

The Mississippi River runs through the heart of America, nurturing its life, land, and economy from the headwaters in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. The availability of clean and abundant water impacts the health and well-being of everyone—especially those who live in river communities. 

The Global Freshwaters Summit will look at the human and natural systems the river sustains, as well as the restoration of freshwater biomes.

Rivers connect Summit to Sea. The Yellowstone flows from an elevation of 12,800 feet in Montana into the Missouri River, which flows into the Mississippi.

Summit Schedule

The Summit will cover five topics: State of the River, Governance, Protecting the River, Food and Agriculture, and Lifestyles in Harmony with Nature. Presenters will speak to how cross-cutting themes of health and wellbeing of the river in confluence with the human and natural systems it sustains call on us to move toward restoring our freshwater biome.

There is no cost to attend the week-long summit, but registration is required.

Register Here

Included in your Summit registration is a free pass to the Global Freshwaters Summit and Films for the Planet virtual film festival honoring the Great Rivers. You will receive a link to sign up for the cinema experience with your summit registration confirmation.


Day 1: The State of the River

Today is the opening day of the Global Freshwaters Summit, focusing on the state of the river. We will examine two report cards on the health of river systems and go deeper into what makes a healthy freshwater biome—the watershed’s support for life and the effect of living systems for keeping the water clean.

Please note: All times are American Central Daylight Time.


4:00–4:45PM CDT

WELCOME, INTRODUCTIONS, AND MIGHTY MISSISSIPPI EXHIBIT VIRTUAL TOUR

  • Dr. Frances Levine, President and CEO, Missouri Historical Society

  • Myra Jackson, Global Being Foundation

  • David Lobbig, Curator of Environmental Life, Missouri Historical Society

  • Thea La Grou, Founder, Films for the Planet

  • Words of Wisdom: Chief Caleen Sisk, Spiritual Leader and Chief, Winnemem Wintu Tribe

Moderator for the day: Joseph Robertson

  • Founder of Geoversiv; Executive Director of CCI; Senior Advisor, Sustainable Finance for EAT


4:50–6:00PM CDT

SESSION 1: STATUS OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER

We begin by taking an honest look at what we know about the condition of the Mississippi River, the river’s biome, and the communities that rely on it. We will receive information from two “report cards.”

Panelists:

  • Kim Lutz, Executive Director, America’s Watershed Initiative, presents “Mississippi River Watershed Report Card”

  • Olivia Dorothy, Director, Upper Mississippi River at American Rivers, presents “America’s Most Endangered Rivers 2020”


6:00–6:15PM CDT

INTERLUDE, PRESENTED BY: SANDRA POSTEL, WATER LAUREATE, PROLIFIC AUTHOR, AND FOUNDER OF GLOBAL WATER POLICY: ”A VISION FOR FRESHWATER FOREVER”


6:15–6:35PM CDT

SESSION 2: CITIZEN MONITORING AND STEWARDSHIP OF WATERWAYS

We open the conversation to tools to help fill the data gaps and to support citizen science, waterkeepers, and river protectors who monitor our ecosystem’s health.

Panelists:

  • John Dawes, Executive Director, The Commons

  • Holly Grimm, Ecosystem Monitoring Dashboard


6:40–7:40PM CDT

SESSION 3: TOWARD A HEALTHY FRESHWATER BIOME: WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN?

The report is not good. We ask key leaders in ecosystem protection what needs to happen, what needs to be seen, and what is underway to honor the deep responsibility of repairing the harm done. The conversation places a deep concentration on regenerating freshwaters, nature’s biodiversity, keystone species, forests and trees, and native plants as indicators and collaborators needed to restore river and ecosystem health.

Panelists:

  • Suzi Steer, Education and Alliances, TreeSisters

  • Dr. Sharon Deem, Director, Saint Louis Zoo Institute for Conservation Medicine

  • Mary Culler, Executive Director, Missouri Stream Teams Watershed Coalition


7:40–8:00PM CDT

YOUTH RAPPORTEUR SUMMATION BY SABRINA BREWER AND CLOSING


8:30PM CDT

FILM FEST MOVIE DISCUSSION: TROUBLED WATERS: A MISSISSIPPI STORY, LARKIN MCPHEE AND BARBARA COFFIN

Produced by Bell Museum of Natural History. Discussion moderated by Don Shelby with Tracy Fredin and John G. Shepard.


Below is an overview of the topics for Days 2 through 5. Please check the Full Schedule for exact times, as each day’s schedule is a little different.

GOVERNANCE | TUESDAY, APRIL 20, 1–4:30PM CDT/2–5:30PM EDT/11AM–2:30PM PDT

  • Session 1 — Leading the Challenge in River Cities

  • Session 2 — Flood Management and Resilience

  • Session 3 — Restoring Freshwater Biomes, the Work

  • Film Fest Movie Discussion — INVISIBLE HAND

PROTECTING THE RIVER | WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 4–8PM CDT /5–9PM EDT/2–6PM PDT

  • Session 1 — Fierce Civility: A River Runs Through It

  • Session 2 — Earth Law: Protecting Nature

  • Session 3 — Earth Law / Community Organizing, Local Legislation, Courts, Lessons, and Pathways

  • Session 4 — Those Who Walk with the Water: Stories from the Gulf to the Headwaters

  • Film Fest Movie Discussion — THE RIGHTS OF NATURE: A GLOBAL MOVEMENT 

FOOD AND AGRICULTURE | THURSDAY, APRIL 22, 9 AM–12:30PM CDT /10AM–1:30PM EDT/7–10:30AM PDT

  • Session 1 — Watershed Resilience through Food Waste Reduction and Food Justice

  • Session 2 — Regeneration: Farm and Freshwaters

  • Session 3 — True Wealth and Health: What COVID-19 Reveals

  • Film Fest Movie Discussion — KISS THE GROUND, MODERATED DIALOGUE HOSTED BY THEA LAGROU WITH MIKE TIATOKO, ERIN MATARIKI, AND JODY GUSTAFSON

LIFESTYLES IN HARMONY WITH NATURE | FRIDAY, APRIL 23, 9AM–12:30PM CDT/10AM–1:30PM EDT/7–10:30AM PDT

  • Session 1 — Repairing the Harm: Plastics Pollution

  • Session 2 — Toward a Fashion Revolution with No Harm

  • Session 3 — Restoring the Great Rivers in One Generation

  • Film Fest Movie Discussion: Where There Once Was Water 


Full Detailed Schedule