Claremont, Calif. (October 2, 2017)—This year’s Pitzer College John D. Sullivan Memorial Lecture will explore environmental issues surrounding California’s largest yet rapidly shrinking lake: the Salton Sea. Sponsored by Pitzer’s Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability, “Salton Sea: Salinity, Shrinkage, Solutions” brings together a panel of experts and activists to discuss the lake’s future. The Salton Sea panel discussion will be held on Wednesday, October 11, at 4:15 p.m. in the Broad Performance Space at Pitzer College.
The Salton Sea’s status is a topic of ongoing debate: Is the lake an indispensable wetland for migratory birds? An unfolding toxic catastrophe with dire environmental justice consequences? An artificial ecosystem of our own creation? All of the above? Pitzer’s Associate Professor of Environmental Analysis and Director of the Redford Conservancy Brinda Sarathy says one thing is un-debatable: the lake’s increasing levels of salinity and dropping water levels pose a wicked environmental challenge, not only for those living in its vicinity but for all Californians concerned about social and ecological well-being.
Situated below sea level on the San Andreas Fault in Southern California, the Salton Sea’s salinity is approximately 37 percent greater than the Pacific Ocean, according to the United States Geological Survey’s Salton Sea Science Office. The panelists at Redford Conservancy’s event will discuss the unique nature of the lake and share experience and insight from across the public and nonprofit sectors. The panelists are:
Phillip Johnson is assistant executive director of the Salton Sea Authority. He serves as chair of the Salton Sea Management Program’s Long Range Planning Committee and specializes in developing legislative and policy strategies.
Malissa McKeith is a partner and chair emerita of the law firm Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, LLP. McKeith co-founded Citizens United for Resources and the Environment, Inc., a grassroots organization that empowers local communities to demand government accountability regarding natural resources and land use.
Kerry F. Morrison co-founded The EcoMedia Compass, an environmental education nonprofit dedicated to bringing awareness and education for environmental solutions through music, art, science and community.
Chris Shoeneman is the manager of the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, which was established as a sanctuary and breeding ground for birds and other wildlife. Shoeneman began his career with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 1988.
Brinda Sarathy, who is an expert in natural resource management, environmental justice and US environmental policy, will moderate the panel discussion.
The John D. Sullivan Memorial Fund was established by the Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability in honor of Professor of Political Studies John “Jack” Sullivan and his commitment to water issues in California and around the world. John D. Sullivan Memorial Fund is dedicated to increasing public engagement and education around water in California and beyond.
“Salton Sea: Salinity, Shrinkage, Solutions” is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact [email protected].