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Barlow speaks on water and climate change at Tufts University

Maude BarlowBlue Planet Project founder Maude Barlow will be speaking at the ‘Restoring Water Cycles to Reverse Global Warming’ conference at Tufts University in Massachusetts this week.

The conference website notes, “In this conference we will pay particular attention to water’s role in regulating climate through its capacity to store, move and transfer more heat than any other natural compound. Water is a planetary thermostat, and even with elevated greenhouse gases in the atmosphere it can cool the biosphere and address destructive feedback loops in the climate system. …This year we will carefully examine the water cycle, how we can have a dramatic positive influence on it, and in so doing successfully address drought, floods, soil health, food production and climate.”

And it highlights, “Our primary urgent goal in the face of widespread breakdown in addressing climate change is to further the understanding necessary to embark on the global regeneration process. Collectively we will present affordable strategies for restoration of water cycles that local, national and international governments, agencies, communities and individuals may rapidly implement in order to reverse global warming.”

On Friday evening, at the ‘Civilization and Water: Scarcity, Abundance, and the Road Less Traveled’ session, Barlow “will describe the current crisis of global communities whose access to clean water is threatened by ecological damage and corporate exploitation. Maude will then introduce Michal Kravčík, and explain how his vision of a New Water Paradigm adds the dimension of restoration to empower regions for water self-sufficiency.”

Barlow has written, “Kravčík is leading a global effort to save the earth’s hydrologic cycle with watershed restoration. His groundbreaking research has shown that when water cannot return to fields, meadows, wetlands and streams because of urban sprawl, poor farming practices, overgrazing, and removal of water-retentive landscapes, the actual amount of water in the local hydrologic cycle decreases, leading to desertification of once green land.”

She adds, “He convinced the Slovakian government to implement a national watershed restoration plan, based on traditional methods of rainwater harvesting through storage reservoirs; small wooden, stone, and earthen ‘holding’ dams; cross drains and infiltration pits on country roads; and reparation of eroded ravines and gullies. …The first phase of the project, which ended in 2011 and involved 190 municipalities and more than fifty thousand water-retention measures, was a huge success and helped recover large areas of degraded land. Slovakia has [now] eagerly embarked on the second phase of this project.”

And Barlow notes, “He knows this nature-based solution challenges the deepest tenets of economic globalization and the growth imperative behind it. Kravčík also knows that this plan would undermine the massive investment now going into technological solutions such as desalination, wastewater reuse and nanotechnology.”

On Sunday morning, the conference website tells us, “Barlow will speak on how water supply and water rights are at the heart of many conflict and crisis zones throughout the world. On the positive side, this means that the empowerment that comes from the New Water Paradigm can reach a massive web of people positioned to repair local environmental problems locally, as well as participate in healing the planet.”

Barlow has argued, “The notion that water can become a negotiating tool for cooperation and peace rather than the cause of conflict and war must be explored and the path to water justice must be a central tenet of a global water recovery plan.” She has highlighted that water is being increasingly and deliberately used as a weapon of war. This is true in Syria, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Botswana and other countries. She has also noted that water has been used as a weapon of “class war” through austerity programs in Detroit, Spain, Greece and Bulgaria.

This past World Water Day, Barlow stated, “Five years ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a historic resolution. It recognized water and sanitation as fundamental human rights. It is urgent that the United Nations and world leaders now take the next step toward a water-secure future. They need to commit to creating a global water recovery plan for water that has its own convention, plan of action and the resources needed to meet the greatest threat of our time.”

For more on the conference at Tufts University, please click here.

Further reading
This World Water Day, a Recovery Plan Is More Important Than Ever (March 2015 blog by Maude Barlow)
Kravčík’s Blue Alternative in Slovakia (January 2015 blog by Brent Patterson)
Water increasingly being used as a weapon in war, says Barlow (May 2014 blog by Brent Patterson)