Dai Qing and Beijing's water crisis

International experts to speak on the world’s water crisis

(April 10, 2012) Three international environmental activists, each an outspoken pioneer in challenging conventional assumptions about water use, share their insights and experience. Featuring Probe International’s Patricia Adams and Dai Qing.

By Madelyn Ross

Water is rapidly becoming the world’s scarcest critical resource, and a recent U.S. intelligence report warns that global tensions over water supplies threaten to destabilize countries in North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia during the next decade. Three international environmental activists, each an outspoken pioneer in challenging conventional assumptions about water use, will share their insights and experiences with the Mason Community on April 18.  The event will take place in the Johnson Center Bistro from 6 to 8 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Chinese author and journalist Dai Qing, renowned for speaking out against the Three Gorges Dam in China since the 1980s, has been honored with the International PEN Award for Freedom and the Goldman Environmental Prize.  Although Dai Qing was imprisoned in 1989, faces constant harassment by Chinese authorities, and is forbidden to publish in China, she has chosen to remain based in Beijing where she continues to fight for freedom of the press and government accountability.

Patricia Adams, executive director of Probe International, is co-founder of the International Rivers Network and the World Rainforest Movement, and associate editor of the British magazine, “The Ecologist.”  Probe International is an independent think tank and watchdog over the environmental consequences of Canadian government and corporate activities around the world.  An outspoken economist based in Canada, Adams’ many activities include chairing the Nairobi-based Environment Liaison Centre, a coalition of 300 environmental and citizens’ groups from around the world.

Abby Rockefeller is the founder and president of RILES, a non-profit organization that promotes environmentally sound technologies for sustainable development. She is also founder and president of Clivus Multrum, Inc., which has provided the compost toilet technology for some of the most advanced green buildings in the United States and Canada. Rockefeller has introduced this technology in many countries and has worked with local communities in Mexico and China to help develop sustainable water and soil protection projects.

Robinson Professor Carma Hinton has worked with Dai and Rockfeller on environmental projects in China and invited the speakers to campus. This event is sponsored by the Provost’s Office, Office for Global Strategies, Office of Sustainability, Honors College and the Department of History and Art History.

The group will also speak to Hinton’s Honors College class on Cross Cultural Perspectives and meet with students over lunch as part of the Honors College’s Living and Learning Community. For more information, contact Carma Hinton at chinton@gmu.edu or Madelyn Ross, Director of China Initiatives, at mross3@gmu.edu.

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