World Water Day Activities Focus on Fracking
by Erika Vichcales, student writer
In recognition of World Water Day, Michigan Tech is sponsoring a variety of events through March 27. This year’s international event focuses on water and energy and the connections between them.
World Water Day was started by the United Nations to raise awareness about the problems surrounding water on our planet. The world is more than 70 percent covered in water, yet less than 1 percent is available for people to use.
“Given our location, with water surrounding us, it is important to recognize the significance of water and the threats being faced by that water,” said Professor Noel Urban (CEE), the director of the Center for Water and Society. “Because we have so much water here we may not think that it is a scarce resource, but even within the Great Lakes Basin water scarcity occurs. Water quality is also an issue throughout the region.”
Michigan Tech’s World Water Day events include the following:
Monday, March 24
* Seminar by Interim Dean of Engineering Wayne Pennington on the “Nuts and Bolts of Unconventional Oil and Gas Development (Including all you might like to know about the technology and practice of hydraulic fracturing)” 3 p.m., Great Lakes Research Center 202.
Wednesday, March 26
* World Water Day student poster session, 4-7 p.m., Dow Lobby. The posters will illustrate their research and course work that involves water.
* Water’s Edge Art Exhibit, Great Lakes Research Center. On display will be the work of three different artists. The exhibition will run through April 23.
* Lecture by Robert Howarth of Cornell University on environmental impacts of hydraulic fracking, the practice of injecting water underground to release deposits of oil and natural gas, 5:30 p.m.
Thursday March 27
* A panel discussion on hydraulic fracturing, 10 a.m.-noon, Great Lakes Research Center 202.
“The main things students need to think about is how important water really is to humans and to all of our economic and cultural activity, and the need to preserve that for future generations,” said Urban. “It’s a time to think about how well we are doing that task.”
World Water Day events are sponsored by the Center for Water and Society, Sustainable Futures Institute, Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Keweenaw Land Trust, Great Lakes Research Center, Visual and Performing Arts, and Finlandia University. Partial funding was provided by the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. through a grant from the Johnson Family Foundation for a Let’s Talk About Water event.