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Great Lakes environment, health and policy addressed

Sept. 26, 2007

KALAMAZOO--A Great Lakes scholar will deliver the annual Canadian Studies Lecture at Western Michigan University.

Dr. Joy Parr, Canada research chair at the University of Western Ontario, will speak at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3, in the Brown and Gold Room of the Bernhard Center. A reception will follow her presentation, which is sponsored by the WMU's Canadian studies initiative. Titled "Local Water Diversely Known," her talk is free and open to the public.

Parr, a noted historian, will discuss her research on the environment, health and policy in the Great Lakes region and examine a water-contamination case that drew worldwide attention in June 2000. The case involved contamination from cattle manure entering the water supply in the small town of Walkerton, Ontario, that killed seven and sickened 2,300.

The event received international coverage, but the press covered the story as a crisis caused by neo-liberal cutbacks in water regulation. Parr, whose home village is near Walkerton, argues that the cause was the local preference for the taste of non-chlorinated water and for local control over village services. She serves as the social scientist acting as liaison between the community and the medical team studying the long-term health effects of the contamination.

Parr's visit is co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and WMU's programs in environmental studies and gender and women's studies.

For more information, contact Dr. Nora Faires, chair of the WMU Canadian Studies Initiative at nora.faires@wmich.edu or (269) 387-4650.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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