Water: the visible face of climate change

"Water is the visible face of climate and, therefore, climate change. Shifting rain patterns flood some regions and dry up others as nature demonstrates a grave physics lesson: Hot air holds more water molecules than cold."  Author Barbara Kingsolver wrote these words for National Geographics “Water” issue entirely dedicated to water’s scarcity, importance, and future. 

Following suit, CRO Summit in Chicago on Nov 3-4 will dedicate a big swath of the program to tackling water issues.  Without hyperbole, we’ll tackle the practical solutions to one of the most pressing challenges facing not just human civilization but the very survival of all life on earth.

"Water,” Ms. Kingsolver writes, “is the ultimate commons.”  Managing that commons starts with a better understanding of it.  How much“water” are we talking about?  Every living thing relies on less than 1% of the world’s water.  An additional 2% is locked in ice; the rest is loaded with too much salt.  2/3 of our water is used to grow food.  With 83 million more people each year demand for water will only increase unless we change how we use it. (Source: National Geographic).  

To that end, CRO Summit keynote speaker, Paul Dickinson, CEO & founder of the Carbon Disclosure Project and the Water Disclosure Project will discuss his personal crusade to shed more light on who’s using the world’s water and to what ends. MolsonCoors, Norges Investment Bank (Norway’s state pension fund)and the Water Disclosure Project will detail the practical solutions they’ve come up with for some of the biggest users and consumers of water. 

Nalco -- the people that make the dispersant used to clean up the BP oil disaster in the Gulf -- CEO Erik Fyrwald will cover how the company is working around the world to create cleaner water, both as a matter of disaster-recovery and as matter of regular business. Matt McKenna, CEO of Keep America Beautiful will present his Great American Clean-up campaign and how he’s engaged some of the country’s biggest communities and companies to take on the challenge of clean water.

Barbara Kingsolver continues:

“Watercourses once seemed… boundless… and the notion of protecting water was as silly as bottling it. But rules change. Time and again, from New Mexico's antique irrigation codes to the UN Convention on International Watercourses, communities have studied water systems and redefined wise use. Now Ecuador has become the first nation on Earth to put the rights of nature in its constitution so that rivers and forests are not simply property but maintain their own right to flourish. Under these laws a citizen might file suit on behalf of an injured watershed, recognizing that its health is crucial to the common good. Other nations may follow Ecuador's lead. Just as legal systems once reeled to comprehend women or former slaves as fully entitled, law schools in the U.S. are now reforming their curricula with an eye to understanding and acknowledging nature's rights." 

Too little water and a body – physical, politic, spiritual – withers and dies.  Too much water and these same bodies drown, wash away, disappear.  Join us for this urgent discussion and take your place alongside those working to solve the water challenge.

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