Can We Be Good Water Neighbors? Stewardship, Culture, and Watershed Politics


Since 2001, the NGO Ecopeace Middle East has sponsored a program called “Good Water Neighbors” that “identifies cross border communities and utilizes their mutual dependence on shared water resources as a basis for developing dialogue and cooperation on sustainable water management.” The Good Water Neighbors program has demonstrably improved the lives of everyday people by improving water quality and delivery.  In an atmosphere of conflict and water scarcity, the Good Water Neighbors have turned to common problem solving and peace building.

Summit 2017 Working Group


The “Can We Be?” working group explores the potential for a Good Water Neighbors program in the Great Lakes basin.  The Great Lakes are a site of relative abundance and stability, yet there is ample room to improve our waters and work collectively toward equity and justice.

What role can culture play?

Might people connect to their local waters through spiritual traditions?

How can art and creativity enhance our waterfront?

Can shared water governance promote racial reconciliation?

Can it heal the region’s partisan divide?

Will water bring us together?

The panelists exploring these questions on May 11th (10:00 AM – 12:00 PM) include:

o   Toni Anderson, Founding Executive Director, Sacred Keepers Sustainability Lab

o   Paul Baines, Outreach and Education Coordinator, Great Lakes Commons

o   Veronica Kyle, Chicago Outreach Director, Faith in Place

o   Dr. Bonnie McElhinny, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Toronto

Facilitated by:

o   Lena Reynolds, Graduate Assistant, Latino Cultural Center