2011-2012 Schedule

The E.N. Thompson Forum

An increasingly precious natural resource, water is essential to improving global health, ensuring social welfare and political stability, and promoting economic development and environmental sustainability. Water can be a source of national and regional conflict and for centuries civilizations have risen and fallen based on their ability to harness its power. The Thompson Forum will bring to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus experts on global water issues to explore the challenges of scarcity, security and sustainability.

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Lied Center for Performing Arts,
301 N. 12th Street, Lincoln, NE
All lectures are free and open to the public.

Wangari Maathai
Wangari Maathai (1940-2011)

To honor the late Wangari Maathai, the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues will feature the documentary Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai on Tuesday, Nov. 15 from 7:00 - 9:00 pm in the Nebraska Union Auditorium (1400 R Street).

This screening is Co-sponsored by The Institute for Ethnic Studies, The College of Business Administration and University Libraries.

It is with great sadness that the family of Professor Wangari Maathai announces her passing away on 25th September, 2011, at the Nairobi Hospital, after a prolonged and bravely borne struggle with cancer. Her loved ones were with her at the time.

Professor Maathai’s departure is untimely and a very great loss to all who knew her—as a mother, relative, co-worker, colleague, role model, and heroine; or who admired her determination to make the world a more peaceful, healthier, and better place.

Prof. Wangari Muta Maathai started the Green Belt Movement in 1977, working with women to improve their livelihoods by increasing their access to resources like firewood for cooking and clean water. She became a great advocate for better management of natural resources and for sustainability, equity, and justice. A synopsis of her life and work can be read on the Green Belt website.

Wangari Maathai's lecture scheduled for Sept. 28 at the Lied Center for Performing Arts will not take place. All related events are canceled.

Sandra Postel

"Dividing the Waters: Global Security in a Water-Stressed World"

Sandra Postel
Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - 7 p.m.

Co-sponsored by the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Watch video of talk

Water is essential to life. It is finite, and has no substitute. As the human population climbs beyond 7 billion, competition for water is increasing - within countries, between countries, and between people and nature. As demands for food and material goods rise, water will increasingly define economic, social and ecological security. The future of human civilization may well depend on new ways of using, valuing and sharing Earth's finite supply of water.

Sandra Postel is an acclaimed author, consultant and lecturer as well as a leading authority on international freshwater issues. Postel founded the Global Water Policy Project in 1994 to foster ideas and inspiration for redirecting society's use and management of fresh water toward conservation and ecosystem health. Today, she continues as the project's director.

In 2010, she was appointed Freshwater Fellow of the National Geographic Society, where she is lead water expert for the Society's freshwater initiative. Postel is the author of several acclaimed books, including "Last Oasis: Facing Water Scarcity." She also has authored more than 100 articles for popular and scholarly publications, including Science, Natural History, Scientific American, Ecological Applications and Foreign Policy. She is a Pew Scholar in Conservation and the Environment. In 2002, she was named one of the "Scientific American 50" for her contributions to water policy.

Michael Forsberg

Photo © Joel Satore

"Pulse of the Plains: A Photographer's Journey Connecting Water, Wildlife and Landscape"

Michael Forsberg
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 7 p.m.

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Water permeates nearly every natural history and conservation story in North America's Great Plains.  Photographer Michael Forsberg reflects on his last 15 years of documenting the natural environment and the ever-changing water resources found at the heart of this continent.  His pursuits have led to projects including Sandhill cranes, the Great Plains ecosystem, and a new timelapse photography project focused on the Platte River Basin.  Through words and images, Forsberg shares with us what he has discovered: why this elegant yet compromised ecosystem and its creatures matter to us here at home and around the world.

Michael Forsberg is a Nebraska native and acclaimed conservation photographer who has focused much of his work in North America's Great Plains, once one of the greatest grassland ecosystems on Earth. Forsberg's work has appeared in publications including Audubon, National Geographic, National Wildlife, Natural History, and NEBRASKAland and recognized in the Pictures of the Year and Wildlife Photographer of the Year competitions. In 2001, his image of a Nebraska tallgrass prairie was selected for use on an international postage stamp. In 2004, he was awarded a Conservation Education Award from The Wildlife Society. Recently, he was featured in the PBS documentary Crane Song, and was the 2009 recipient of the North American Nature Photographer's Association Mission Award. He is also a 2010 recipient of the Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize from the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is currently in production with NET on a documentary following his work in the Great Plains, to be out Spring 2012. Mike is a charter member of the North American Nature Photographer's Association and a fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers.

Forsberg earned a degree in geography with an emphasis in environmental studies at UNL. He is currently an assistant professor of practice within the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at UNL.

Mogens Bay & E. Robert Meaney

"Is a Global Water Crisis Avoidable?"

Mogens Bay & E. Robert Meaney
Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 7 p.m.

Lewis E. Harris Lecture on Public Policy

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Mogens C. Bay and E. Robert Meaney will present a lecture on the global crisis in the supply and quality of water for agriculture. They will frame the issues through a discussion of population growth, required food and fiber production and total water and land available. They will provide examples of how the crisis in fresh water is manifested in various locations and in issues such as food security, water and quality and soil health. They will discuss solutions ranging from scientific advances to governance and economic development.

Mogens C. Bay is chairman and chief executive officer of Valmont Industries, Inc., an Omaha-based company that manufactures irrigation equipment and other metal structures and components. He was born in Vejle, Denmark, studied law at Aarhus University and graduated from the EAC College of International Business in Copenhagen. He is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program.

Bay joined Valmont in 1979 as a regional vice president based in Hong Kong. He assumed his current title in 1997.

Bay serves as a director on a number of corporate boards and non-profit agencies including ConAgra Foods, Inc., the Omaha Zoological Society and the Nebraska Medical Center.

E. Robert Meaney is senior vice president at Valmont industries, Inc. where he is responsible for oversight of corporate legal and compliance activities, coordination of international growth initiatives and government affairs. During his 16 years with Valmont, Meaney has been deeply involved in development of the international organization and in the company's market entries into China, Brazil and India.

Meaney received his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Among other involvements, he serves on the boards of the Groundwater Foundation and the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry where he chairs the Manufacturing Council. He is also a director of the Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Manufacturers.

Don Worster

"An Unquenchable Thirst: How the Great Plains Created a Water Abundance and Then Lost It"

Don Worster
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - 7 p.m.

Co-sponsored by the symposium "1862-2012: The Making of the Great Plains"

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Water usage and food production in the Great Plains have global implications. This lecture will present the current issues relating to water, agricultural production, the natural environment, economic development, and global food security within the historical context of the 1862 legislation that shaped the Great Plains.

Donald Worster is a prize-winning author, professor and world-renowned lecturer regarded as one of the pioneers of environmental history. Worster currently holds the Hall Distinguished Professorship Chair in American History at the University of Kansas. The California native who grew up in Hutchinson, Kan., studied American history and literature at Yale University, where he earned his Ph.D. He has served as president of the American Society for Environmental History, sits on several editorial boards, and is advisory editor for the Cambridge University monograph series, "Studies in Environment and History."

Worster has received several honors, fellowships, and awards, including being the first nonscientist to receive the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society for Conservation Biology.

His research interests primarily address the emerging field of environmental history, the rise of conservation and environmentalism, and the impact of the natural world on human society.

Lied Center for Performing Arts, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the Cooper Foundation

Lectures are available live on the UNL web site, Lincoln cable channel 21 or 5, UNL campus channel 8, and UNL KRNU radio 90.3 FM. All lectures are interpreted for the deaf and hard of hearing.

A cooperative project of the Cooper Foundation, The Lied Center for Performing Arts and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln