Economist Charles Antholt to discuss world water issues Oct. 10

Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 8:39am
Western Today staff

Charles Antholt, a lecturer in Western Washington University’s Department of Economics, will discuss the importance of irrigation in the developed and developing world as part of Western’s Huxley College of the Environment Speaker Series at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10, in Communications Facility 105 on the WWU campus

The presentation is free and open to the public.

The talk, titled “Water and Food: Around the World, in the U.S., and in Whatcom County,” will cover locations around the world that illustrate the importance of irrigation in the developed and developing world – and the unintended consequences too often associated with increasing irrigated acreage. One of the challenges ahead in meeting future food needs is to ensure that farmers around the world have sufficient and continued access to water for farming. That challenge is faced by farmers everywhere, from Uganda and India to Nebraska and right here in Whatcom County.

The second installment in the 2013-14 Speaker Series lineup, this talk will showcase some of the diverse and ingenious innovations used around the world for irrigation; review the rationale for public policies associated with water and food production; and point out the unintended consequences that often accompany well-intentioned policies. Antholt will also describe how the virtual water trade has mitigated some extremely serious water and food shortages. The talk will conclude with an exploration of the conflicting demands and rights for water in Whatcom County.

Antholt was raised on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and studied Agricultural Economics at the University of Wisconsin before joining the Peace Corps. After two years working with farmers in Pakistan, Antholt served in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and India with USAID. Later, he obtained his master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Cornell and worked for the World Bank as a Senior Agriculturalist. Antholt, who served as chairman of the Whatcom County Council’s Agricultural Advisory Committee for eight years, currently teaches in Western’s Economics department and is on the Board of Directors for Whatcom Farm Friends, a local farmer-based and farmer-funded organization. He also operates an organic vegetable and lavender farm on Lummi Island where he resides with his wife, a professor in Western’s Art Department.

The presentation will include a question-and-answer period. Anyone interested in the topic is encouraged to attend and participate. The Speaker Series, sponsored by Western’s Huxley College of the Environment, is intended to bring together environmentally-minded members of the Western Washington University and Bellingham communities. Speakers address topics of contemporary environmental concern in the region and the world.

Western’s Huxley College of the Environment is one of the oldest environmental colleges in the nation and a recognized leader in producing the next generation of environmental stewards. Huxley’s distinctive, interdisciplinary curriculum reflects a broad view of the physical, biological, social, and cultural world, and has earned international recognition for quality.

For more information, contact Western’s Huxley College of the Environment at 360-650-3520.