A day of films, fun, and conversations about water quality, sustainability, and conservation is set for Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Guild Hall.
Let’s Talk About Water: East End will follow a formula that Linda Lilienfeld, who developed the program, created several years ago to communicate global water issues through film and approachable discussion.
The program will start with a screening of “Wall-E,” a family-friendly computer-animated film depicting a contaminated and abandoned Earth and a robot left behind to clean up all the garbage left by humans, at 10 a.m. “H2O MX,” a documentary about the problems of water management in landlocked Mexico City, will be screened at 2 in the afternoon. It describes a metropolis of 22 million people where drinking water is transported into the city from a distance despite an abundant supply and regular flooding from the surrounding mountains.
“H2O MX” will be followed at 3:30 p.m. by a panel discussion about harnessing the power of science, government, and the community to help preserve water quality on the East End. County Legislator Bridget Fleming, Christopher Gobler of Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, and Sara Davison, executive director of the Friends of Georgica Pond Foundation, will be among the panelists.
Let’s Talk About Water events are typically held in conjunction with the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, a research organization representing American universities and international water-related groups, and take place at colleges and universities in this country and Europe. Ms. Lilienfeld, who started coming to the South Fork in the late 1970s and bought a house in Sag Harbor around a decade later, said on Tuesday that she realized the program should be shared here after reading about pollution in ponds and watersheds in The East Hampton Star.
“I realized we need a bridge between scientists and the larger public,” she said. “The whole idea for Let’s Talk About Water was to go to university campuses, work with students, and put together an event using film as a platform so that everyone is on the same page in the experience.”
“What do policy makers need to be informed to make decisions?” Ms. Lilienfeld asked. “How is scientific information made accessible in a simple way? That’s key to the project: having scientists simplify information so a wider array of people can use it.” Ms. Fleming, she said, “was ahead of the curve” in this field, while Dr. Gobler “has done methodical research and makes it accessible. That combination, I feel, has made the East End almost a model project for how to come together to solve the problem.”
A film and picture researcher specializing in science and history, she worked on “Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast,” a temporary exhibition that was staged at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan in 1992 and other museums and science centers in subsequent years. It was a life-changing experience. “I didn’t understand why people weren’t tearing their hair out” over the looming climate crisis, she said, “and decided to devote the rest of my career to this.”
“I thought water was the best entry point to people understanding global warming,” Ms. Lilienfeld said. “People become emotionally connected to a place that’s home, and watersheds give you a bounded area in which to understand.”