Song of the Day – Al Green, “Take Me to the River”

By Seamus Gallivan

Take it to the Niagara River today for the penultimate “Public Quarrel” at Beaver Island State Park on Grand Island, a paired speaker series coinciding with month-long water quality monitoring, swimmer interviews, and real-time data processing from a Beach Kiosk run by the University at Buffalo’s Department of Media Study.

According to the department’s website, “Glass Bottom Float combines data from people with data from sensors in order to better understand what constitutes ‘a good day for a swim’. It creates a new way of representing water quality that recognizes, and utilizes, the different ways that people and machines perceive the world around them.

“The project’s 2012 headquarters is the Beach Kiosk, a mobile office container that has been converted into a combination library, laboratory, workshop and public data center. The Beach Kiosk will be the meeting place for a series of moderated conversations on environmental concerns called “Public Quarrels.” Each quarrel will involve a diverse pairing of academics, activists, artists, community members and engineers, allowing divergent viewpoints to be articulated side by side.

“The Beach Kiosk is located at the western end of the beach boardwalk. All Public Quarrels are open to everyone and last approximately 60 minutes. The Beach Kiosk will provide shade. Bring a blanket and refreshments when you join us.”

The Beach Kiosk at Beaver Island beside the Niagara River

Today’s Public Quarrel, set for 3pm, is entitled “Citizen Science and Activism,” and features landscape architect and chair of Sierra Club Niagara Group Lynda Schneekloth along with hydrogeologist Chris Lowry, both UB professors, who will tackle questions including –

– Who is best qualified to speak for the environment?

– Can and should citizens take charge of their surroundings and improve environmental monitoring?

– What kind of new forms of activism and new agency might emerge from these efforts?

– How can the academy and the community collaborate to make lasting change?”

Reverend Al Green knew this song wasn’t so clean – being ordained as a pastor in1976 brought a personal quarrel stopping him from performing it live, but fortunately it was revived by the Talking Heads and countless since, eventually convincing its original crooner to recapture the magic seen here in ’75.

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