Will Steger helps inaugurate 2010 – The Year of Water

Polar explorer Will Steger, speaking Jan. 26


Steger calls for action to halt global warming

The Earth and the humans and other animals who live on it are like a heart patient with high cholesterol, polar explorer Will Steger told about 200 people who crowded into the Gray Freshwater Center on Jan. 26 for a lecture on climate change.

The cholesterol, Steger said, is the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are accumulating in the atmosphere and creating global warming. Some people still question the science of climate change, but Steger said he has seen evidence of it first-hand in his travels – collapsing ice shelves in Antarctica and rotting ice in the Arctic Ocean.

Unless human beings reduce their use fossil fuels and reduce the concentrations of those gases, they risk catastrophic consequences, he said.

Steger, whose lecture was part of a kick-off for the Freshwater Society’s 2010 – The Year of Water, showed slides and video of areas of Antarctic ice that he had spent 15 days crossing by dogsled that are now open sea.

To view a 75-minute video of Steger’s presentation, click here.

In the Arctic, each increase in the temperature melts permafrost, releasing methane – a particularly potent greenhouse gas – and the methane then increases the warming, he said. “It’s incredible the changes each year in the Arctic,” he said.

Steger  urged  the crowd to work to reduce the United States’ reliance on fossil fuels. And he urged those in attendance to view U.S. dependence on coal and petroleum, not just as a climate problem, but as economic  and national security problems.


Steger, relating evidence of climate change

2010 – The Year of Water officially begins
Students timing their showers and counting loads of laundry.  Volunteers fighting pollution of lakes and rivers by cleaning leaves from storm sewers. National experts delivering provocative lectures on water and the environment. Throughout 2010, the Freshwater Society – with partners throughout Minnesota – will celebrate the value of water and take concrete actions to conserve, protect and restore water resources.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty issued a proclamation in honor of the 2010 celebration, naming Jan. 26 as Water Resources Day in Minnesota.

A video presentation previewing the events and programs for 2010 – The Year of Water can be viewed here.

Robert Glennon, a University of Arizona law professor who recently has published a new book, Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What to Do About It, will deliver a lecture on water on Feb. 22 as part of the Year of Water celebration.

To read more about activities planned for 2010 – The Year of Water in Facets of Freshwater, the Freshwater Society’s newsletter, click here.

Other articles from the newsletter include:

  • An interview with Steger. To view a WCCO-TV interview with Steger, click here.
  • An interview with Glennon.
  • Freshwater founder Dick Gray writes about the early history of the Freshwater Society.
  • Freshwater president Gene Merriam reflects on 2010 – The Year of Water and other Freshwater activities.
  • Not everyone knows about it, but the Twin Cities metro area has a 72-mile national park along both banks of the Mississippi River.
  • The University of Minnesota Water Resources Center wants to know what you think about the future of our waters. You can fill out an on-line survey and attend public meetings.
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