Water warrior coming to Okanagan Meadowlark Festival

In time with World Water Day on March 22, the organizers of the Meadowlark Festival have announced that international water advocate Maude Barlow will be the keynote speaker for the 2011 Meadowlark Festival.

Water activist Maude Barlow is coming to the Okanagan in May to deliver the keynote address at the 2011 Meadowlark Festival

Water activist Maude Barlow is coming to the Okanagan in May to deliver the keynote address at the 2011 Meadowlark Festival

In time with World Water Day on March 22, the organizers of the Meadowlark Festival have announced that international water advocate Maude Barlow will be the keynote speaker for the 2011 Meadowlark Festival.

Water, its conservation and sustainable use is also the theme for the 2011 festival, which runs from May 19 to 23.

Barlow’s presentation, The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water, will kick off the festival on the evening of May 19.

As a  water expert, Barlow’s credentials are internationally recognized, having served as  senior advisor on water to the United Nations General Assembly.

“The world is running out of available freshwater as demand outstrips supply, threatening billions of humans and other species,” said Barlow. “Our collective pollution, abuse and displacement of water is a major factor in climate change.”

During her presentation Barlow will share the scope and causes of the crisis, and pose a three part solution toward a water-secure world. She and a panel of local experts will be available to answer any questions following the talk as well as meet and greet participants.

“Water is such a critical issue in the Okanagan Similkameen. We are really thrilled to have such an expert on both Canadian and international water resources kick off the festival,” said Sally Kilburg, chair of the Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance, organizers of the Meadowlark Festival. “She promises to spark some real discussion about how we manage our water resources in the Okanagan and energize efforts to keep our fresh waters for generations to come.”

Barlow makes her home in Ottawa but has worked extensively in the international arena on issues of water conservation and use. She currently chairs the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch.

The theme of Water will be highlighted throughout the tours and events planned for the festival. Each year Meadowlark offers over 80 nature events and hands-on presentations, which include: guided walks and hikes; cycling tours and horseback riding; bird watching field trips; geology and history tours; indigenous cultural tours; many kids events; canoe trips; art exhibits and classes and even green-building tours.

Tickets for the 2011 Meadowlark Festival events, including the Barlow presentation, go on sale on April 9. Limited tickets for Barlow’s presentation are only $10, with all proceeds going to the Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance (OSCA). For further details and ticket information visit meadowlarkfestival.bc.ca.