Tsal'alhmec, known as People of the Lake, (Seton Lake Indian band) became the first Blue Indigenous Community this week. Tsal'alh adopted a resolution with the three criteria needed to become a Blue Community: recognizing of the human right to water, banning bottled water at community facilities and events and promoting public water services.
Maude Barlow's blog
One year ago today I wrote an open letter to Liberal leader Justin Trudeau. I asked him to clarify his position on restoring Stephen Harper's $36 billion cut to public health care, cancelling the two-year additional wait to be eligible for Old Age Security, and reversing the gutting of environmental protections for water. I also asked him to oppose export pipelines and to speak against both the Canada-European Union 'free trade' agreement and the Canada-China foreign investment protection agreement.
We just completed a two-week tour in Atlantic Canada along the proposed Energy East pipeline route. Along the tour we met not just the usual suspects – environmental activists – but ranchers, fishers, baykeepers and ordinary folk who could see their livelihoods threatened by the pipeline. A wall of opposition to Energy East is growing.
For some people in Detroit, this has been a long summer: camping in other people's houses, unable to cook, bathe, and flush the toilet. Since March, the city has been cutting of water services to thousands of homes that are behind in payments.
I received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from York University in Toronto this morning. Here are my speaking notes for the Convocation ceremony:
Chancellor Gregory Sorbara, President Mamdouh Shoukri, the Senate of York University, and all the graduation students,
It is a great honour to share this convocation with you today. I am moved by your grace, energy and hope on this lovely June day.
In the few minutes I have to share with you I would like to urge you all, no matter what your education specialty, what vocation you choose, or where you live, to give some of your precious life energy to the great environmental challenges that face us today.
I just returned from an extraordinary trip to Brazil where I presented at a major environmental conference in Porto Alegre and then visited a beautiful region called Minas Gerais, reputed, along with Vichy, France, to have the most beautiful natural mineral water in the world.
The lovely town of Cambuquira became a "Blue Community" while I was there to send a signal to corporate plunderers such as Nestlé (which is destroying the waters of a neighbouring town called Sao Lourenco) that their waters are sacred and a public trust and will not be sold or privatized.
Brazil is known as a water-wealthy country. But what I discovered from various previous trips there is that the country is polluting, diverting and exporting its water heritage (as "virtual" water in commodity exports such as biofuels, rice and beef) to such an extent that it is now entering a crisis of water in spite of its water abundance.
I recently visited Detroit, Michigan and am shocked and deeply disturbed at what I witnessed. I went as part of a Great Lakes project where a number of communities and organizations around the basin are calling for citizens to come together to protect the Great Lakes as a Lived Commons, a Public Trust and a Protected Bioregion. There are deep concerns about the threat of extreme energy – including diluted bitumen from the tar sands of Alberta and fracked oil and fracking wastewater from North Dakota – being transported by pipeline and rail near the lakes and on barges on the lakes and calls to ban these dangerous toxins around and on the Great Lakes are growing.
In a world running out of accessible water, the question of control looms large. Is water a human right, a public trust and common heritage or a commodity to be put on the open market like oil and gas?
Over the last 25 years, corporations have been the driving force behind global, regional and bilateral trade and investment agreements that favour their interests by limiting the ability of signatory countries to set conditions on global trade and investment. The goal of free trade agreements is the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers to the free movement of goods and services. Non-tariff barriers include local economic development programs, domestic food sovereignty rules, and environmental laws that are thought to be “excessive” and hinder trade.
Manitobans should receive the same high-quality, publicly delivered health care available to all Canadians. But for that to happen, Manitoba needs stable and adequate funding from the federal government.