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Questions about water are often implicitly about systems of power. The benefits and impacts of how water is used, distributed, and accessed are unevenly distributed. Water thus becomes a site where the inequalities in society are made visible and contestation arises. The readings listed here offer a sample of some of the ways water is implicated in systems of inequality and work toward social justice.
The St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL), which falls under the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota (UMN), is one of several historic buildings along the Minneapolis riverfront. Constructed in 1938 using funds from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), SAFL utilizes the 50-foot elevation drop over the St. Anthony Falls to bring water into the building for use in experiments and research of fluid dynamics…
They say hindsight is 20/20. Farmers of the past didn’t have information about environmentally friendly agricultural techniques. The farming techniques used today to reduce erosion and other negative environmental effects were developed as we learned from agriculturally derived disasters. Situated in the Whitewater River Valley less than 10 miles from the confluence with the Mississippi River, Beaver, Minnesota was one such town that suffered…
Water geeks know that Waukesha, WI has been trying to obtain water from Lake Michigan, against the prohibition in the Great Lakes Compact preventing distribution of water beyond the watershed. This breezy environmental history says that water has been at the center of Waukesha’s history since the beginning.
The images here show three configurations of Minneapolis’ Upper Harbor Terminal landscape across a century. Together, these images demonstrate the temporal layering of a physical and social landscape, highlighting changes over time; my analysis aims to illuminate how these changes emerge at the intersection of humans and nonhumans, and point us toward an alternative perception and ethic of co-creating the world.
A major piece of Twin Cities news in summer 2015 was the closure of the St. Anthony Falls Lock on the Upper Mississippi. This garnered a lot of attention, and raised many questions from the community. At the time, I was taking a full-time summer course load, and was more worried about drowning in my chemistry and philosophy homework than about local river news.