When: Tue., March 7, 7-8:30 p.m. 2017
With the Dakota Access Pipeline under construction once again, and the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, water rights and water cleanliness are prevalent topics in today's national conversation. It feels appropriate, then, that the theme for UCCS' 5th Annual Sustainnovate Conference and Expo is "Water in the West."
It is not enough to simply mourn the effects of pollution and express solidarity with activists through hashtags, so UCCS has assembled a series of talks, presentations, activities and information resources to help you figure out how to funnel your outrage into action and make your own local waterways safer and cleaner.
It begins tonight with a presentation by Chad Pregracke, 2013 CNN Hero of the Year. Pregracke, author of From the Bottom Up, One Man's Crusade to Clean America's Rivers, is a conservationist and activist who, with the help of more than 87,000 volunteers, has collected more than 8.4 million pounds of debris from America's rivers since 1998.
Not only will he share his own powerful experiences, but he'll also help motivate locals to volunteer and get engaged here in the Springs. No, we aren't Standing Rock, but the contamination in the Widefield aquifer and the pollution and litter in the city's creeks still indicate a local need for water-specific environmental activism.
Wednesday, March 8, UCCS' Office of Sustainability has a whole day planned, with experts from across the state giving presentations about everything from climate change to tribal water law to the water at Venetucci Farm to best practices in water conservation.
The final presentation of the day will come from Jake Black, a professional snowboarder from the Protect Our Winters Riders Alliance, which is led by professional athletes who use their influence to mobilize people into environmental action.
In between speakers, you can browse booths and tables offering information from local sustainability-minded organizations, nonprofits and businesses. These are the people leading the local charge to make our city as green as it can be, so they'll have plenty of ideas about how to get active. If you aren't too keen on the talks and presentations, there will also be activities to enjoy, including a "Sustainabrew Hoppy Hour" and whiskey tasting, and lunch for all registered participants.
It's important to keep an eye on national water issues, but we also have to remain accountable for the water where we live. If you're even casually interested in getting involved, this is a good place to begin.
Pregracke presentation, March 7, 7-8:30 p.m., UCCS Berger Hall, 1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy.; Sustainnovate Expo, March 8, 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., UCCS Berger Hall, 1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., free, registration required, tinyurl.com/sustainnovateH2O.