Two Continents, A Photographer’s Eye, Thousands of Listeners: Carl Ganter’s Role As a Global Leader on Water Security

Circle of Blue’s director J. Carl Ganter just returned from six weeks on the road — speaking at international water and business conferences, and reporting in China and the United States. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the boundless energy and distinctive optimism he brings to his work.

August 25 – 30, 2012: Stockholm World Water Week — Leaving Traverse City’s Cherry Capital Airport was easy, as it seems to always be when I travel from here. Must be a Midwestern thing: full flight, everyone’s aboard, luggage loaded, so why not leave the gate almost 20 minutes early? Off to World Water Week after a short stop in Chicago.

stockholm world water week abba girl with the dragon tattoo salander
Photo © J. Carl Ganter / Circle of Blue
Stockholm: Land of ABBA and tattooed dragons. Walking by Salander’s apartment in the early morning. Click image to enlarge slideshow.

August 31 – September 4, 2012: Traverse City — Back home in the heart of the Great Lakes for summer’s swan song. It’s the last official weekend of the season and time for paddling and swimming before fall’s chill sets in. Michigan’s color tour and frosty pumpkins are just around the corner.

Lake Michigan sunset traverse city circle of blue
Photo © J. Carl Ganter / Circle of Blue
Lake Michigan sunset, not far from Circle of Blue’s office. Click image to enlarge slideshow.

September 5 – 12, 2012: World Economic Forum “Summer Davos” is the World Economic Forum’s renowned gathering of “new champions” in Asia. This annual China conference bounces between Dalian and Tianjin each year. The three-day event explored the “future economy,” with diverse sessions about: feeding a hungry world, sustainable consumption, the water-energy-food nexus, beyond Rio+20, the global impact of Europe’s crisis, the future of energy, and the 7 billion challenge. Also during the event, I was named vice chairman of the Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Water Security.

food security 2030 world economic forum value web workspace summer davos
Photo © J. Carl Ganter / Circle of Blue
Here’s what food security looks like in 2030. It’s complicated and connected. (From Value Web workspace session at the World Economic Forum’s “Summer Davos.”) Click image to enlarge slideshow.
sanlitun beijing chaoyang distric world economic forum summer davos
Photo © J. Carl Ganter / Circle of Blue
Sustained consumption at Sanlitun, an area of the Chaoyang District in Beijing. Click image to enlarge slideshow.

September 13 – 28, 2012: China — Field reporting for our Choke Point: China II series, in collaboration with the China Environment Forum at The Wilson Center. Click here for more of my photos and my colleague Keith Schneider’s analysis of the aquaculture systems we visited. Stay tuned for more of Choke Point: China II, publishing later this month.

china aquaculture shandong fishing aoshawei bay scallops clams oysters mussels fisherman
Photo © J. Carl Ganter / Circle of Blue
Fishermen awaken early to harvest scallops, clams, oysters, and mussels grown on thick netting in Aoshawei Bay. Click image to enlarge slideshow.

September 28 – 30, 2012: Traverse City — Jet lag and a 12-hour reset, before off again. Departing from the Cherry Capital’s oasis to the dry desert of Las Vegas.

Traverse City Michigan Cherry Capital Airport Grand Traverse Bay
Photo © J. Carl Ganter / Circle of Blue
Departing from Traverse City’s Cherry Capital Airport early in the morning, overlooking the Grand Traverse Bay.Click image to enlarge slideshow.

October 1 – 3, 2012: Las Vegas — I was the keynote speaker at the 5th Annual WaterSmart Innovations Conference. At pre-dawn, as the morning glow was just starting to peek from behind the mountains, I headed to the airport and climbed into the front seat of a Cessna 172, a favorite plane that I learned to fly just out of college. With Bret Anderson in the pilot seat and Doug Bennett of the Southern Nevada Water Authority in the back seat, we waited for our flight plan approval. Wheels-off by 5:45 a.m. — our course-heading: along the Colorado River to shoot aerial pictures of the infrastructure that serves millions of people and vast swaths of agriculture downstream. (Be sure to watch for images from this stunning morning, publishing later this month.)

Photo © J. Carl Ganter / Circle of Blue
View out my window over the Colorado River.Click image to enlarge slideshow.

I’m looking forward to spending some time at home with family and in the office with the CoB team. On October 14, I’m off again, this time to do two sessions at the World Food Prize. Hope I’m earning my carbon footprint.

Do you know of any connections in the water world that I should be making or stories that we should be covering? How do you balance work, travel, and home? Send me a Tweet at @jcganter or comment below.

–J. Carl Ganter
Circle of Blue director.


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