Robert Leeson and his wife Peggy

About the Leeson Lecture

The Leeson Lecture was established in 2019 thanks to the generous support of donors. It honors Metcalf Institute’s longest serving Advisory Board member, Robert Leeson, Jr.

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Listening to Water: How We Can Thrive in a Time of Drought and Deluge

Thursday, June 6, 2024, 3:30-4:30pm ET
In-person and virtual (see below)

Climate change is bringing more frequent and severe floods and droughts. Such disasters spur calls for more infrastructure, but the ways we try to control water make these disasters worse. Because sooner or later, water always wins.

But there’s hope, and it starts with a revolutionary question: What does water want? By recognizing water’s agency and its relationships with soil, rock, microbes, plants, animals, and humans, innovators in the Slow Water movement are transforming our relationship with water, showing the way toward a better future. For the 2024 Leeson Lecture, join Metcalf Institute and award-winning science journalist Erica Gies for a new perspective on one of the most fascinating and pressing issues of our time.

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You are welcome to attend either in-person or virtually on Metcalf’s Youtube channel. This event will feature ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation for virtual attendees, and captioning is available on Youtube. A live Q&A will follow the event, with the opportunity for both in-person and virtual attendees to ask questions of the speaker.

In person details: The in-person event will take place at the Corless Auditorium at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography. Parking is available at 218 South Ferry Road and 15 Pier Road, Narragansett. Map and directions here. Parking with maximum accessibility is available at at the west end of the Watkins Building and in the lower lot of the Ocean Science and Exploration Center.

Erica Gies

Erica Gies photo

Erica Gies is an independent journalist who covers science and the environment from Victoria, British Columbia, and San Francisco, California. Her work appears in the New York Times, Scientific American, Nature, bioGraphic, National Geographic, and other outlets. Her book, Water Always Wins: Thriving in an age of drought and deluge, is about the “Slow Water movement,” innovations that are helping us adapt to the increasing floods and droughts brought by climate change. The book was published in North America, the United Kingdom, and China. She has given keynote talks about Slow Water at the U.N. Water conference and at many water industry and users conferences and has appeared as a guest on NPR’s Science Friday, CNN International, Fox News, KERA Think, KQED Forum, New Mexico PBS, CBC What on Earth and many more.

2024 public lecture series