10th Annual ESTIA EcoPeace Conference: Reclaiming the Water Commons

“Reclaiming the Water Commons: Water Ethics & Nature Rights in Maine” is the theme of the 10th Annual ESTIA EcoPeace Conference to be held on Oct. 25, 2013 at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center in Belfast.

The all-day symposium features speakers, roundtable discussions and several performances. Registration begins at 8:00 am with an opening ceremony by gkisedtanamoogk of the Wampanoag Nation at 8:30 am.. Following the ceremony John Bear Mitchell, a storyteller from the Penobscot Nation, will share a story on water themes just prior to the first speaker whose talk will take place at 9:15-10 am. Discussions and audience participation with a Q & A sessions will take us up until noon when "Inanna, Sisters in Rhythm" will hold their drumming performance during lunch.

The conference represents a diversity of views on the "ethics of the water commons & nature rights" and also addresses the concerns of the Penobscot Nation on issues involving the Penobscot River Watershed, says one of the organizers of the Conference, Hugh Curran of UMaine's Peace and Reconciliation Studies Program. John Banks, director of the Department of Natural Resources at the Penobscot Indian Nation, is the featured speaker for the morning session after which five Round Table discussions will take place led by facilitators dealing with a variety of water related topics. Following the lunch break and music by Inanna, we will have the noted poet, Sandra Hutchison, read a poem on water themes. After the poetry reading Gail Darrell, New England Community Organizer for the "Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund", will deliver the afternoon address to be followed by five more Round Table discussions.

The discussions include: John Peckenham from the "George J. Mitchell Center on Sustainability Solutions" to facilitate "Safe Water as a global issue: water ethics from hometown to global commons"; Masanobu Ikemiya, a local concert pianist, will lead “Water and the Power of Music and Words to Heal”;  Jennifer Greene, executive director of the Water Research Institute of Blue Hill, will moderate "The Intrinsic Nature of Water & a New Social Ethic for Water Resources”; Sherri Mitchell, executive director of the Land Peace Foundation, will facilitate "Indigenous Water Rights on a Global Scale"; Barbara Arter, an environmental consultant will lead a discussion on "the human footprint in Maine's eastern coastal waters"; Kyriacos & Emily Markides will facilitate "living in God's Creation & environmental concerns"; John Bear Mitchell will lead "the value of storytelling in nature rights" and Susie O'Keeffe "how art can influence environmental ethics?".

Eight artists from Surry, Blue Hill, Bucksport & Belfast will display artworks relating to the theme of water during the event. The day will conclude with a half-hour musical performance by noted flute maker & musician Hawk Henries at 5 pm -5:30 pm.

The cost is $35 per person/$25 for students and seniors. Attendees may bring a meal or purchase lunch for $5. To register or to request a disability accommodation, contact Diana McSorley at 207.338.8000. Registration is also open 8-8:30 a.m. the day of the conference at the Hutchinson Center.


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