Whose Water Is It?
An International Water Day Message
On International Water Day we had the pleasure of hearing Maude Barlow speak. Maude is working to keep access to water as a human right. Here in the US many of us aren't aware that this is something we need to be concerned about - but it surely is. Some people in other parts of the world aren't just threatened by a loss of water - they have already lost it.
Keeping a Flow
We were interested in her approach to her work and her life. Friendsofwater.com resonates in a big way with Maude's approach. She is realistically facing the challenges, working to bring positive change, and remaining hopeful. She came across as energetic and cheerful - while others in her position might be grim and gloomy. Can we live justly and joyfully? We've been finding ourselves exploring issues like this of late. Given the numerous threats earth and those of us on it face, it is sometimes hard to remain hopeful. What's your favorite looming disaster? We've found ourselves working to strike an appropriate balance on how to even discuss these things appropriately, let alone act on them. We've wondered if having some serious discussion about the threats to our water will hurt business. But Maude asked "Where are the truth tellers?" How about if we address the issues as we see them, but have our goal be to inspire understanding and action in the right directions?
Using, Enjoying and Celebrating Water
Friendsofwater.com believes we should celebrate all that we have - and we focus on water. Water is, as Maude reminded us, the very life-blood of earth. We recognize and delight in all the ways we benefit from water in our health, recreation, gardening and environment. Like all blessings this comes with a responsibility. We believe in using water consciously and not wasting it. This precious resource - on which life itself depends - is under assault. It is up to us to protect it for everyone's use, preserve it for future generations, and work to bring it back to the pure state life deserves and requires. The Waterfall, friendsofwater.com's emailed magazine hopes to inspire interest and action through a sharing of stories, information, news, tips - and special discounts on quality selecte products to save water, filter water, and celebrate water. We hope you'll enjoy hearing from us, reading, learning and reflecting. The products cover a wide range - from purifiers and filters to sprinklers to rain gauges and hydropacks and insulated bags. Pardon the pun - but there is a steady stream of products as we find good products we can provide at good prices to our members. We feature one or more in most issues of The Waterfall. We'd be delighted if you get the ezine: save water: stories and product discounts.
Water is a Human Right
Maude Barlow tells us that we are in crisis now, and that there are both ecological and human aspects. She says the crisis is in the third world now. We review news from around the world on water everyday. Most of the stories we're seeing are coming from India, Africa, Australia and the UK. It seems that many other parts of the world are further along in running into very serious problems. Let's learn and address the challenges before we go to the tap one day and find it dry. If we don't change the way we are going- two-thirds of the world's people will not have adequate water supplies and half of them will be in a desperate situation by 2025.
Right now 1.3 billion people do not have adequate access to good water. Maude says, and we agree with her, this is the crisis of our time. We'll work out delivering energy after the oil is gone. But we can' t have life without water. Most of us understand the threat posed to water purity resulting from heavy use of pesticides and other chemicals and other aspects of 'modern' life. We are polluting our water - which is a closed system - at an alarming pace. We are also using up more water than ever before. This isn't a simple issue. But we are now tapping many underground aquifers and using them up at a pace far faster than they can refill. For example, Mexico City is sinking because it no longer can ride above the aquifer on which it was built. In addition to the usage, we have paved so much of the earth that much of the rainfall now falls on concrete and runs off into the rivers instead of replenishing the aquifers. Instead it runs to the oceans and becomes salinated.
And there is another threat in motion. There is serious push around the world to take away the water rights that humankind has assumed for all time. Cartels to control water are being built. They are buying river systems, lake systems and aquifers. They are trying to privatize the world's water supplies. Those of you living in much of the midwest US, parts of Florida, the Chicago area and some other areas are already faced directly with challenges to your water supply. The drought in the midwest is reported to be the worst in 500 years. This is not a cyclical drought - we've never been here before.
In the meanwhile some are being inundated by flood waters. We send our best wishes to those communities.
85% of the water supply in the US is still publicly run. The country of Uruguay delivered a successful referendum in which over 2/3 of the population voted to declare that water is a human right. This means that water must be delivered not-for-profit. When our country was founded, this wasn't a concern. It's a big concern now, and we need to insist that our water remains OUR water. We're business people at Friends of Water, and we love business. But don't be fooled into believing that we will be better off if water is owned corporately (most likely by corporations based in another country). There are large companies doing this already and they have a track record. They are taking water from some and selling it to others. Communities that have had their own access to water for hundreds and probably thousands of years now face guarded barricades so they can't take any of it. Many now have to walk miles upon miles every day to get water from other sources and carry it back to their homes.
Through the work of Maude Barlow and others like her, there is progress and there is hope. The EU has indicated that they are at least willing to consider taking water out of their trade agreements. This is great and a very hopeful sign. The UN will adopt a motion to consider the issue as well. They will discuss whether water should be declared a human right. The biggest opponents to this declaration will be Canada and the US. Maude herself is reason for hope. She is working with many individuals and organizations around the world to preserve our water - and to preserve our rights to it. We will occasionally present additional material and updates on this topic in The Waterfall.
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