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As COP Begins Second Week, Walton Family Foundation Emphasizes the Need to Invest in and Scale Local Solutions to Protect Water

November 8, 2021
Environment Program Director Moira Mcdonald: "Water is one of the clearest ways that people experience the impacts of climate change. The symptoms of climate change are felt in water; which means water has to be central to solutions for a resilient climate future."

WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 8, 2021 — As the second week of COP 26 begins, the Walton Family Foundation’s Environment Program, which works to protect water resources in the era of climate change, issued the following statement:

“Water is one of the clearest ways that people experience the impacts of climate change. Whether it is a drought, a flood, a wildfire or a tropical storm — the symptoms of climate change are felt in water, which means water must also be central to solutions for a resilient climate future,” said Moira Mcdonald, director of the Walton Family Foundation’s Environment Program. “This is the moment in time for countries, companies and organizations to invest in the solutions that work and scale their impact. The window for action is closing and we need to be focused on making real progress in every aspect of our lives and society.”

“More than 70% of the world’s fresh water is used in food production. As we think about how to feed a growing population in a more sustainable way, we must think about solutions for protecting water so that nature and people can thrive together.”

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Mark Shields

“The people closest to a problem are also frequently closest to the solution. The leadership and thinking at COP are important because we need to think globally, but we also need to remember that the people working on the ground in communities around the country and across the globe have critical roles to play in finding to the path forward.”

As global leaders gather, a record-breaking drought continues to plague the Western U.S. The Walton Family Foundation is proud to support Tipping Point, a two-year, cross-platform reporting effort on the environment by PBS, that will present an hour-long, live event on November 10, 2021 at 7:00 PM ET, to explore the nexus between climate and the fate of the Colorado River Basin. Hosted by PBS NewsHour science correspondent Miles O’Brien in Phoenix, the program will foster a solutions-based dialogue with thought leaders in science, agriculture, municipal water, Native American communities and conservation.

Host Miles O’Brien will be joined by:

  • Bidtah Becker, member of the Navajo Nation, an attorney with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, and Leadership Team member for the Water and Tribes Initiative in the Colorado Basin
  • John Boelts, Arizona Farm Bureau first vice president and Arizona farmer 
  • John Fleck, professor of practice in Water Policy and Governance in the Department of Economics and director of the Water Resources Program, University of New Mexico
  • Jennifer Pitt, Colorado River Program Director, Audubon Society
  • Kathryn Sorensen, director of Research and professor of practice at the Morrison Institute for Public Policy, Arizona State University 
  • Brad Udall, Senior Water & Climate research scientist at the Colorado Water Institute, Colorado State University

The event will be streamed live from Dobbins Lookout, South Mountain Park, Phoenix and will also live on the PBS Tipping Point website after streaming live.

About the Walton Family Foundation

The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.