Dinner with Maude Barlow

Earth Week is drawing to a close, but it has been a great week! Everyone that I talked to said they enjoyed Earth Fest, the documentary Blue Gold opened my eyes to many issues and we picked up a ton of trash off campus. Thursday evening we had our keynote speaker Maude Barlow who came to talk about the global water crisis. She is the author of Blue Gold, which the documentary was based on. She is a well known activist and used to be a senior advisor on water for the UN. Maude Barlow has received 11 honorary doctorates and many awards including the 2011 EarthCare Award which is the highest honor from the Sierra Club. In other words, she's a big deal.

Her talk contained a lot of information from the documentary but also brought in some interesting stories and new facts. The one that really stood out to me is that if the Great Lakes are drained at the same rate as the average water table is being depleted, the lakes would be bone dry in 80 years. That completely shocked me. I used to think that we could never run out of water since it is a cycle, but after hearing her talk and watching the documentary I have realized that I was wrong. I could spend multiple blogs posts writing about her talk but I think this post from Ben sums it up pretty well.

After her talk she introduced herself to the members of Green Up and we got to take our photo with her. She is such a friendly person and has some fascinating stories. I was lucky enough to be one of six students and several faculty members to get to have dinner with her. We talked about a wide variety of topics ranging from the dangers of fracking to my plans for study abroad (look for a blog post about that next week). She even told be what places I should take the time to visit while in New Zealand. I also was sitting next to Dr. Trumbower, the Dean of the college. I never would have thought that I would be able to have dinner with a UN advisor or the dean of the college. That is one of the many awesome things about SMC. Everyone is so approachable, making it easy to network and meet new people. We also have many opportunities to meet a wide variety of influential people.

Before Maude Barlow left, she was sure to give each of us a hug goodbye. She is truly one of the nicest and smartest people I have ever met and I'm still slightly in awe over how amazing the whole evening was. The fact that she was interested in hearing our stories really made me change my view of famous  and influential people. I went into the dinner slightly nervous and worried that the event would be filled with awkward silence. It turns out that there was never any silence at all and before I knew it we had spent over an hour and a half eating and talking. This was an experience that I will never forget!


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