|A book review:
The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World's Water
By Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke
The New Press, New York, N.Y. 2002, 278 pages
Reviewed by Alfred T. Davies, Cincinnati, Ohio
Fresh water is finite. But, because water and sewer
services are so available and inexpensive for us it is difficult to realize
the realities about which this book speaks. So, listen: "Available fresh
water amounts to less than one-half of one percent of all the water on
earth. The rest is sea water." . . . . The hard news is this: "humanity is
depleting, diverting, and polluting the planet's fresh water resources . . .
that every species on earth . . . is in mortal danger " (page 5). The
urgent, and new, question raised in this book is, does fresh water, now so
scarce, belong to the earth, that is , to "the commons," part of the public
domain, or is it a commodity to be owned and sold for profit? What has
brought this question to the forefront is the 21st century
phenomenon of economic globalization which considers everything for sale.
The first part of the book describes "the Water Crisis"
created by the exploding world population, increased per-capita consumption,
water intensive industry including irrigation on a massive scale, pollution
and over-exploitation of the river systems. The picture is bleak!
Enter the transnational corporations, several of which
have targeted water as a commodity. Ten global water lords are described. Support for their
ambitions is provided by powerful global organizations such as the World
Bank and the World Trade Organization. The authors describe how water can be
moved from water-abundant parts of the world to water-starved portions. Pipe
lines, super-tankers, grand canals, huge water bags, and what is already
common - bottled water everywhere. If these huge enterprises were motivated
out of humanitarian concerns to make the whole world a better place to live
and more fair for all living things, we might rejoice. But, not so. The
motive is profit.
In the third part of the book the authors outline ways
citizens and communities can - and must - fight back. They present the
ethical questions to consider, followed by ten principles, and finally offer
ten steps to water security. Undergirding all of their argument is the
principle that "water belongs to the earth and all its species."
This crisis, so little known today, is far more urgent
than "the black gold" (oil) crisis because "blue gold" (water) is essential
for survival. That may sound over-stated, but the story presented in this
book makes a very compelling case. I recommend it.
For more information and action on water rights
Water Rights Project of the Polaris Institute (a Canadian
organization) carries on critical research and analysis on the world's
largest water corporations, their most influential lobby groups, and
the for-profit water agenda and strategy they shape at a global level.
The project has published Inside the Bottle, a book detailing
how four large companies - Nestlé, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and Danone -
dominate the growing bottled water industry. They pay little or next
to nothing for the water they take from rural springs or public water
systems; turn "water" into "water" through elaborate treatment
processes, to produce a product that is not necessarily safer than tap
water; market it to an unsuspecting public as "pure, healthy, safe
drinking water," and sell it at prices hundreds and even thousands of
times more costly than ordinary tap water. [1-19-05]
ratified (or not) by the presbyteries
A number of the most important actions of the 219th
General Assembly have now been acted upon by the presbyteries,
confirming most of them as amendments to the PC(USA) Book of Order.
We provided resources to help inform the
reflection and debate, along with updates on the voting.
Our three areas of primary interest have been:
which removes the current ban on
lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender persons being considered as
possible candidates for ordination as elder or ministers.
which would add the Belhar Confession to our Book of
Confessions. Disapproved, because as an amendment
to the Book of Confessions it needed a 2/3 vote, and did not
10-1, which adopts the new Form of Government
that was approved by the Assembly. Approved.|
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Some blogs worth visiting
Mitch Trigger, PVJ's
Secretary/Communicator, has created a Facebook page where
Witherspoon members and others can gather to exchange news and
views. Mitch and a few others have posted bits of news, both
personal and organizational. But there’s room for more!
You can post your own news and views,
or initiate a conversation about a topic of interest to you.
Voices of Sophia blog
Heather Reichgott, who has created
this new blog for Voices of Sophia, introduces it:
After fifteen years of scholarship
and activism, Voices of Sophia presents a blog. Here, we present the
voices of feminist theologians of all stripes: scholars, clergy,
students, exiles, missionaries, workers, thinkers, artists, lovers
and devotees, from many parts of the world, all children of the God
in whose image women are made. .... This blog seeks to glorify God
through prayer, work, art, and intellectual reflection. Through
articles and ensuing discussion we hope to become an active and
John Harris’ Summit to
Theological and philosophical
reflections on everything between summit to shore, including
kayaking, climbing, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology,
politics, culture, travel, The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), New
York City and the Queens neighborhood of Ridgewood by a progressive
New York City Presbyterian Pastor. John is a former member of the
Witherspoon board, and is designated pastor of North Presbyterian
Church in Flushing, NY.
John Shuck’s Shuck and Jive
A Presbyterian minister, currently
serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton,
Tenn., blogs about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized
and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and
Got more blogs to recommend?
send a note, and we'll see what we can do!