9th Annual Earth Day Environmental Justice Conference

Ninth Anniversary Environmental Justice Conference to feature fracking, geothermal heating and cooling, and the importance of water.

The ninth anniversary Environmental Justice Conference features speakers discussing the impacts of fracking, geothermal heating and cooling as a form of alternative energy, and water problems in Dar es Salaam that have the potential to be worldwide problems. Student papers and posters will also be highlighted at the conference.

The conference will be held in the Slak Shak at Kent State University East Liverpool Campus, 400 East Fourth Street, East Liverpool, Ohio on April 26, 2014 from 8:45 to 4:00.

Roger Greenawalt who, with his wife and sons, owns Sweet Meadow Farms Drainage in Beloit will discuss installation of and savings from installing geothermal heating and cooling. Greenawalt has installed geothermal in two of the family’s homes and in their offices as well as doing contracting work for other geothermal providers. Greenawalt will discuss cost benefit figures from geothermal energy and, although the initial cost is high, the ways in which energy credits and energy savings reduce the costs of installation of this heating and cooling source.

Caitlin Johnson will discuss the Ohio Organizing Collaborative’s “Listening Posts” which are designed to gather information about fracking in Ohio. Johnson will discuss fracking, the results of the information gathering in other areas of Ohio and she will pose questions to the audience at the conference.

Sarah Smiley will discuss her field research about water in Dar es Salaam. Smiley, who became interested in water use and conservation on a trip to Africa, is a professor of geography at Kent State University Salem Campus. She will present the importance of clean and inexpensive sources of water globally, using her research to demonstrate the increasing importance and value of water.

In addition to his work with Sweet Meadow Farms Drainage, Greenawalt is Chair of Beloit’s Board of Public Affairs. He is a board member of the Ohio Land Improvement Contractors of America and is a past president of that organization. He serves on the Mahoning-Columbiana Counties Farm Service Commission.

Greenawalt, who has a B.A. and an M.A. from Ohio State University taught agriculture at West Branch High School before beginning his drainage business.

Sarah Smiley’s research interests lie at the intersection of urban, historical, and cultural geography. She is especially interested in the ways that colonial legacies of segregation, housing and development policy, and amenity provision affect everyday life in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Her current research considers the complexity of water access in Dar es Salaam. It demonstrates that the price, reliability, quality, and accessibility of water are as important as the location of water. She will return to Dar es Salaam in May to collect qualitative survey and mapping data on water access.

Sarah's research has been funded by a Fulbright-Hays Dissertation Fellowship, the Indiana University African Studies Program, and more recently by Kent State University's University Research Council. She has published her research in a variety of peer-reviewed journals including Applied Geography, Social and Cultural Geography, the African Geographical Review, and the Journal of Cultural Geography.

Smiley holds a BA in Geography from the University of Cincinnati and a MA and PhD, both in Geography, from the University of Kansas. Prior to coming to Kent State University's Salem Campus in 2010, she was an Assistant Professor of Geography at Morgan State University in Baltimore.

Before joining the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, Caitlin Johnson served as the 2011–2013 George Gund Foundation Fellow where she helped craft the foundation's grantmaking response to Ohio's oil and gas drilling boom.  Caitlin worked as a broadcast, print and digital journalist and producer in Boston, New York and Cleveland, covering a wide range of subjects from prison overcrowding to the plight of Darfuri refugees. Caitlin has an undergraduate degree in government and English from Cornell University, a master of science in journalism from Columbia University, masters of public administration from Cleveland State University.

Students will present papers and posters at the conference at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

The conference is free and the public is urged to attend. A continental breakfast will be served from 8 until 9 a.m. Lunch is provided as well, and T-shirts and trees will be available to attendees.