Water Voices “Ethics, Faith & Water”


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“Ethics, Faith & Water” Is the Subject of “Water Voices” on Sept. 14, 2015

The public is invited to “Ethics, Faith, and Water: A Confluence,” a free panel discussion/public conversation to be held 7-9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, at the High Springs New Century Woman’s Club, 40 NW First Avenue, High Springs, Florida 32643. The event is the third session of the “Water Voices” series that is designed to increase public awareness of and dialogue about water issues in North Florida. The panelists are:

• Cynthia Barnett, an award-winning journalist and author of the water books “Mirage,” “Blue Revolution” and “Rain.” Barnett writes about water ethics and has worked with churches on water sustainability as an article of faith.
• Sister Patricia Siemen, Esq., a Dominican Sister and attorney who also holds master’s degrees in public affairs and culture & spirituality. Siemen is the director of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence at Barry University Law School in Orlando.
• Robert E. Ulanowicz, Ph.D., an ecosystems scientist who is a recipient of the Ilya A. Prigogine Medal from the University of Siena for outstanding research in ecosystems dynamics. Ulanowicz is professor emeritus with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and courtesy professor with the University of Florida Department of Biology.
• Lucinda (Lu) Faulkner Merritt, a writer who serves on the Ichetucknee Alliance Board of Directors, the steering committee of the Floridians’ Clean Water Declaration and the executive committee of the Florida Springs Council. Merritt holds a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology.

Barnett, who will moderate the panel, will talk about the idea of a Florida water ethic and the key role of churches to advance such an ethic to the state’s “caring middle.”

Siemen will frame the ethics of water and climate change and discuss the environmental encyclical, “Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home,” recently issued by Pope Francis.

Ulanowicz will describe how he helped to create a “green church” program at his Catholic parish in Maryland.

Merritt will discuss the Buddhist idea of interdependence and demonstrate how messages from Tibetan Buddhist leaders dovetail with the Pope’s recent encyclical.

The panel will consider opportunities for ethics to inform public water policy as well as barriers to the public adoption of a water ethic. A question-and-answer session with audience members will follow the panel discussion and there will be time at the end of the program for people to have one-on-one conversations with the panelists.

“Water Voices” is organized by the Ichetucknee Alliance and co-sponsored by the Alliance, Our Santa Fe River, and the High Springs New Century Woman’s Club. Information about all those organizations will be available at the event.

For more information, call Ichetucknee Alliance Secretary Lu Merritt, 386-454-0415.


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