This issue was inspired by the many events, movements, and dialogue formed by the OU community. During this year’s Green Week, we recognize #NoDAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline), the water protectors at Oka Lawa, and other pipeline protests, as well as the award-winning WaTER Center here at the University of Oklahoma.
One of the most impactful conversations we had as a team when considering this issue’s topic came from our Student Section Editor, Nayyifa Nihad. Nayyifa spoke about her experiences as a Maldivian, expressing concern for the safety of her people and her home, which is threatened by rising sea levels in the Indian Ocean. This sparked further discussion on the experiences of climate change refugees. Additionally, we drew inspiration from the groundbreaking and revolutionary work of indigenous communities in Oklahoma in the fight to protect their homelands from colonization and the water supply from contamination. Several members of the FORUM team attended the grand opening ceremony at the Oka Lawa water protector camp in southeastern Oklahoma (watch for our video coverage of the event).
Finally, we decided that this issue is not only timely but also extremely relevant to OU students, due to our dependence on Lake Thunderbird for our drinking water. We wanted to explore existing initiatives in the Norman community to protect and improve the quality of our water, and learn how these efforts can be expanded and improved upon. We hope this issue encourages others to do the same.