Yesterday, the Council of Canadians’ Honorary Chairperson Maude Barlow presented at the official Nobel Week Dialogue events in Stockholm on the theme of Water Matters. Barlow was a keynote speaker and moderated a panel on taking action to protect water. Video is available here.
“In 2010, the people of the world took an evolutionary step forward when the United Nations recognized water and sanitation as fundamental human rights,” Barlow said in her remarks at the event. “That day, we collectively declared that it is not acceptable for someone to die or watch their child die because they cannot afford to buy clean water. Now, nearly four dozen countries have amended their constitution or written new laws to recognize the right to water.”
Barlow also highlighted the importance of the growing Blue Communities movement in achieving clean, affordable, accessible, public water for all everywhere. “If you get clean, safe water from the tap, there is no reason to drink bottled water,” said Barlow.
According to organizers, “the Nobel Week Dialogue is a conversation-focused meeting, consisting mainly of panel discussions, seeking to deepen the dialogue between the scientific community and the rest of society on topics of global concern.” Recent themes have included the Future of Energy (2013), the Age to Come: New Scientific and Cultural Perspectives on Ageing (2014), the Future of Intelligence (2015), the Future of Food (2016) and the Future of Truth (2017). Each meeting includes Nobel Laureates who discuss issues in front of an audience of more than 1,000 people.
“Every day 2 billion people are forced to drink contaminated water. If we do not change our ways by 2030, 5 billion people could suffer serious water shortages,” said Barlow. “Make no mistake; while climate change negatively impacts water, our abuse of water and the destruction of local hydrologic cycles is a major contributor to climate chaos. The good news is the protection and restoration of watersheds is a major part of the climate solution.”
Today is the awarding of all of the Nobel prizes except the Peace Prize, which is awarded separately at a later date. Every year, to mark the occasion, a Nobel Week Dialogue is held on a different subject with experts invited to speak, with this year’s events focusing on water. Barlow is also attending the award ceremony and dinner today.
Maude Barlow was the recipient of the 2005 Right Livelihood Award (known as the “Alternative Nobel”). Barlow is a co-founder of the Blue Planet Project. In 2008/2009, she served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly and was a leader in the campaign to have water recognized as a human right by the UN. She is also the author of dozens of reports, as well as 18 books, including her latest, Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse, and Canada’s Water Crisis.
Today, on Human Rights Day, the Council of Canadians congratulates Maude on this incredible honour in recognition of her global activism on water.
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