Economic JusticeEnvironmentHealthHuman RightsInterdependence

Sacred Water, Profane Markets May 19th in NYC and LIVE Online!

Nature, Economy and Equity:
Sacred Water, Profane Markets

 Friday, May 19th, 9:00 am – Noon (USA Eastern Time)
The Open Center

22 East 30th Street, New York, NY 10016

This Event is FREE! Please Register for General Admission or Live Stream:


Treating nature as a sacred gift requires our full capacity to imagine ways to heal the split between humans and the earth. A comprehensive plan to protect nature while securing the human right to water means changing the rules that govern the current ‘operating system’ for planet Earth.    Mason Gaffney,  American Journal of Economics and Sociology, November 2016

Sacred Water, Profane Markets should be of particular interest and provide ground-breaking insights to any professional, NGO, or others with an interest in or responsibility for managing, funding, using or caring for substantial bodies of water for municipal, domestic, commercial, agricultural, industrial, amenity, leisure or hydro power purposes.

Two of our speakers, David Triggs and Mary Cleveland, will address the economics and management of water. They will describe how a just system of charging for nature’s services can not only protect nature from excessive use but also make the market for produced goods and services healthier by preventing the development of monopolies that impede economic efficiency and destroy social harmony.

Drawing upon many years of practical experience in both developed and developing countries and extensive academic research they will show how a healthy balance of demand management and market forces may be used to ensure both safe drinking water for all in water scarce cities and the optimum sharing of water between agricultural, industrial and commercial users of water. They will provide fresh thinking with regard to how the cost benefit analyses that underpin major water related capital projects throughout the world may be improved to avoid unnecessary waste of natural, human and financial resources. The principles underpinning this approach apply to wider economic and public revenue issues.

Our third speaker, David Michel, has researched and written about transboundary water governance, maritime resources management, and water conflict and cooperation. He is co-author of Toward Global Water Security: US Strategy for a Twenty-First-Century Challenge. He will share his views about the water ethics and policy presented by the first two speakers and how these might make a valuable contribution to a global water grand strategy formulation. The intention of Dr. Michel’s current work on global water security is to maximize the potential for civil society and the private sector to speak with a cohesive voice on water ethics and policy.

Following the three main speakers several designated respondents will draw on their own insights and experiences in water ethics and management in giving their input to the proposed reconciliation of Sacred Water and Profane Markets. The main speakers and the respondents will then participate in a plenary round table discussion on a number of key points and questions raised by forum attendees.

David Triggs
is a Chartered Engineer and Management Consultant who studied Engineering at Imperial College London and Business Administration and Management at Henley -The Management College. For more than forty years he specialized in water and environmental management working throughout the UK and world wide – mainly in developing countries on both small village projects and mega projects in capital cities. David has been a member of the School of Economic Science in London for more than fifty years where he has studied and taught Political Economy for a similar period. He is President of the International Union for Land Value Taxation and Chairman of The Henry George Foundation of Great Britain.

Mary M. (Polly) Cleveland is Adjunct Professor of Environmental Economics at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs where she teaches courses on Poverty, Inequality and the Environment. She writes a blog called “Econamici,” and posts to the Dollars & Sense website and to the Huffington Post.  A former board member of United for a Fair Economy (UFE) and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, she holds a Ph.D. In Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Berkeley where her dissertation titled Consequences and Causes of Unequal Distribution of Wealth showed how unequal distribution of wealth lowers economic productivity and growth. She has also worked as the controller of a small family company, taught accounting and computer systems at Rutgers University, and renovated and managed two small Manhattan apartment buildings.

David Michel is Nonresident Fellow at The Stimson Center in Washington, DC, and Executive-in-Residence with the Global Fellowship Initiative at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. Michel has researched and written about transboundary water governance, maritime resources management, and water conflict and cooperation. He has led research projects for the National Intelligence Council and the Department of State and most recently with Oxford Analytica. He currently collaborates with the Geneva Water Hub and the Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace. Dr. Michel is co-author, along with Peter Engelke, of Toward Global Water Security: US Strategy for a Twenty-First-Century Challenge. He was educated at Yale University, the École Des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and The Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.


Dr. Quisia D. Gonzalez was born in La Ceiba Honduras, Central America of indigenous/afro descent (Garifuna).  After receiving her medical degree from Universidade de Pernambuco in Brazil she came to deeply understand the connection between health and economic conditions.  Now a fervent activist for economic justice Dr. Gonzalez serves the Garifuna community in their struggle for land, water and other basic human rights. She is a United Nations ECOSOC NGO delegate for the International Union for Land Value Taxation and a board member of the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation. 


Christiana Zenner Peppard is an expert on the ethics of fresh water and problems of climate change, social justice, and sustainability and a public/social media educator. She is the author of Just Water: Theology, Ethics and the Global Water Crisis; co-editor of two volumes, including Just Sustainability: Ecology, Technology, and Resource Extraction; and the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles on environmental ethics in an era of economic globalization. Her public media work includes venues such as TED-Ed, The New Republic, Public Radio International, The Washingon Post, MSNBC, and In 2013 she was named one of Microsoft’s “Heroes in Education.” Dr. Peppard holds a Ph.D. in Ethics from Yale University, Department of Religious Studies, and a Bachelor’s in Human Biology from Stanford University.

Alex Beauchamp is the Northeast Region Director at Food & Water Watch. Based in the Brooklyn office, Alex oversees all organizing efforts in New York and the Northeast. Alex works on issues related to fracking, factory farms, genetic engineering, and water privatization. His background is in legislative campaigning, and community and electoral organizing.



(Additional Respondent TBA)

Forum Sponsors: The International Union for Land Value Taxation, a United Nations ECOSOC NGO; The Robert Schalkenbach Foundation; and The American Journal of Economics and Sociology.

Co-Sponsors: Communications Coordination Committee for the United Nations, Center for New National Security, Council of Georgist Organizations, Earth Rights Institute, Earth Sharing, Food & Water Watch, School of Cooperative Individualism, We, The World

(Additional forthcoming, co-sponsors may place their literature on tables and are inviting their members to register to attend Sacred Water Profane Markets.)

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