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.
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.
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.
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
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.”
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”
INTERLUDE, PRESENTED BY: SANDRA POSTEL, WATER LAUREATE, PROLIFIC AUTHOR, AND FOUNDER OF GLOBAL WATER POLICY: ”A VISION FOR FRESHWATER FOREVER”
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.
John Dawes, Executive Director, The Commons
Holly Grimm, Ecosystem Monitoring Dashboard
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.
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
YOUTH RAPPORTEUR SUMMATION BY SABRINA BREWER AND CLOSING
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