Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Water Pressures
March 27th, 2013

Water Pressures was screened at Northwestern on 20 March and will be shown at Columbia on 5 April.  Kudos to the groups who gathered and we hope some great action plans result.

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Quote from:

Ann Feldman, Founder and Director, Artistic Circles

Wilmette resident Ann Feldman has been using media to create social change for the past 24 years. As an award-winning documentary producer with Artistic Circles and a visiting scholar in gender studies at Northwestern University, she readily admits projects have a way of choosing her. While visiting Southern India in 2007, she became trapped in a taxicab during a violent blockade. Thousands of rioters and police clashed in the streets over a court decision being made on the allocation of water. Haunted by seeing people willing to die over water rights and unable to ignore this “kernel stuck in her tooth,” her focus turned to alleviating water scarcity. Seeking solutions, Feldman began creating partnerships with water experts here and in India. In 2008, Feldman taught a Water Pressures course at Northwestern University. And in 2010, she organized an education exchange to foster collaboration and youth leadership. Along with a film crew, Northwestern students and faculty travelled to waterscarce Rajasthan, India, to walk in the shoes of desert villagers and see firsthand impacts to agriculture and public health. In return, water experts from India visited Northwestern University, abundant with Lake Michigan’s fresh water, and shared water management practices. The resulting documentary Water Pressures she produced will be syndicated nationally on March 20, marking World Water Day. The award-winning film is narrated by Entourage star Adrian Grenier. Further engaging people to get involved, Feldman is encouraging viewers and Great Lake college students to take local water action and share videos and blog postings on her website and local media stations. By the year 2050, 52% of world’s population will suffer form water scarcity. By shining her lens on the water crises, Feldman is hopeful young leaders will mobilize for sustainable solutions. WTTW will broadcast Water Pressures on Thursday, March 28th at 9 PM. Join a film screening and discussion with Feldman with Go Green Wilmette and the Wilmette Public Library on Tuesday, May 21 at 7 pm.

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January 16th, 2013

Join my webinar, January 23, to learn how your school can use the upcoming documentary, Water Pressures, to engage the next generation of viewers and listeners around the issue of water scarcity.

In the next few decades, water — ordinary, fresh water — is likely to become a global issue. The U.N. estimates that by 2050 almost half of the world’s population will experience water scarcity. Both locally and regionally, water will take on the geopolitical importance now given to oil.

Narrated by Actor/Producer Adrian Grenier (Entourage), the one-hour documentary follows a groundbreaking partnership between students at Northwestern University and villagers from Rajasthan, India. Presenters on the webinar will share information on how public TV stations can partner with their local colleges and universities to screen Water Pressures, and collaborate on a project with the goal of having students create short videos and blogs about their water experiences that can be posted on and IBM’s Students for a Smarter Planet websites. Educational engagement for Water Pressures is supported by IBM’s Students for a Smarter Planet.

Water Pressures – Get Involved in Your Water Future
Wednesday, January 23.
2 pm ET.
Register here.

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October 15th, 2012

Finding a solution to a problem rarely involves moving directly from point A to B. Instead, the problem in itself changes and new obstacles present themselves along the way, leading to an unprecedented and often greater solution. A group of Northwestern University students working to reduce the amount of harmful pollutants in the North Shore Channel can attest to this phenomenon firsthand. After learning from other students on the Northwestern rowing team that contact with the contaminated water in the North Shore Channel was correlated with incidences of several students becoming ill, a group of students representing majors as varied as biomedical engineering, film, global health, materials science and history decided to find a way to clean up the channel and make it safer for those using it. After researching potential sources of pollutants and aeration techniques, the students believed that tackling the pollution at the source of the channel, near Wilmette Harbor, was the best method to resolve the issue. After learning about the vast scale of the problem and the multiple sources of pollutants with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, the students decided that it would be more feasible to implement a smaller scale, more attainable solution on the Northwestern campus. -With access to top professors and an administration that would support innovative water projects on campus, why not take advantage of local these opportunities? The consensus amongst the students and faculty changed to creating a rain garden on the roof of the Northwestern University library. While the project is small in
scale, its ambitions are grand. The water collected in the rain garden will be deterred from the overburdened North Shore Channel, preventing damaging runoff from entering the Channel. Furthermore, the addition of the rain garden will revive a dead public space and hopefully spark conversations about sustainability. Perhaps most importantly, the project involves a wide array of people working together towards a common goal to make the world a sustainable place, including Northwestern students, professors, and employees, PBS, the MWRD, the city of Evanston, After all, this project isn’t just about Northwestern- it’s about a community working together to make the North Shore Channel safer for everyone.

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August 19th, 2012

Two weeks ago, I was in Singapore to co-chair a customer analytic global workshop organized by Living Analytics Research Center of Singapore Management University (SMU).  I also delivered a keynote talk on Big Data in “14th Annual International Conference on Electronic Commerce 2012 (ICEC 2012)” which started just after the workshop in SMU. My talk was about six imperatives for a smarter planet.  I played three short videos during my talk which I thought to share with you.  They are examples of new thinking that we need in solving our old problems.  They remind us that Albert Einstein was right when he said that “The problems cannot be solved using the same level of thinking that created them“.   Enjoy them.


Smarter Water:  YouTube Preview Image

Smarter Health:  YouTube Preview Image

Smarter Transport:  YouTube Preview Image

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