Prelude: I just read a great interview with the Slovak hydrologist, and Goldman Environmental Prize winner, Michal Kravcik. Do check it out, as Michal has an excellent commonsense understanding of the growing water problem and its antidote.
History is littered with sordid tales of tribes and nations taking the best land and resources from others by force. These were in times where the population density was so low that greed, rather than need, was often the primary motivator. Two thousand years ago, for example, the world population was 3% of what it is today.
Today’s politically correct and population dense world doesn’t look so kindly on such pillaging (although, of course, it still goes on). The modern way is far more, let’s say… discrete. Rather than a sword or a tank, the weapon of choice is now more often a checkbook. The motivation, however, seems to still be the same.
Although the average person may not realise it, water shortage concerns are reaching the highest levels – resulting in a race between some of the world’s most powerful groups to privatise and take control of this most essential of resources.
The two clips below share a frightening insight into the exploitation, profiteering and control of water.
The key issue at stake is whether we determine water to be a ‘need’, or a ‘right’. The former understanding labels water as a ‘good’ (product, commodity) that can be privatised and ‘managed’ for profit, the latter a basic right that should be denied no one, and kept in the public domain for the greater good of all. The speaker is Maude Barlow, author of the Who Owns Water? post we just ran (highly recommended reading). Maude Barlow is the Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and a board member of Washington-based Food and Water Watch.