War on the Environment
U.S. Arab Disconnect
Edward S. Herman
Billionaire Phillip Anschutz
GAY & LESBIAN COMMUNITY NOTES
The San Jose Project
Labor Must Play Its Wild Card
Obama's Jobs Proposal
Court Allows U.S. Citizens to Sue Rumsfeld
The Filthy RIch
"Soft Power" in the Middle East
The World of Drones
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Today millions of people in the developed world take for granted that they have access to water for life and livelihood, while others struggle for subsistence, as 12 percent of the world’s population controls 85 percent of the world’s water.
According to the 2006 UN Human Development Report, people have a minimum basic water requirement of 20 liters per day. This estimate takes into account drinking and personal hygiene. If bathing and laundry needs were factored in, this number would rise to about 50 liters per day. In the
If the average water consumption in Europe per person is around 250 liters and in the
Why, then, are so many caught up in believing that our water crisis has more to do with scarcity of resources than a distribution of them? The answer can be found in the current economic ideology of neo-liberalism. According to neo-liberal rhetoric, efficiency and economic growth is realized through the privatization and commodification of everything, including public goods. The problem when we privatize everything from water to mass transit is that it no longer becomes profitable to provide services to those who can’t afford them. That’s why a home in
There Is No Universal Access
However, national water usage averages can mask inequalities. An article from the Detroit News reported that 100,000 people in
Many believe that something can be done to ward off the solemn predictions like that of UNESCO’s Third World Water Development Report, which predicts nearly half of humanity will be living in areas of high water stress by 2030. If water access were more equally disseminated everyone could have more than enough for their individual need. In fact, household water requirements represent only a small fraction of total water usage, usually less than 5 percent. Therefore, there is no reason for such tremendous inequality in access to clean water and sanitation at a household level.
Beyond water use for life, most people’s livelihoods depend on whole industries such as agriculture and fishing. These industries are most affected by the deterioration of water quantity and quality. Such disruptions of water exacerbate the effects of droughts and floods. Furthermore, water contamination affects food production, thereby directly affecting the health of all living things.
Another challenge specific to post-industrialization includes the misuse of water. It is diverted from agriculture to industry, creating threats of hunger and less food production in the country being exploited. For example, Coca Cola in
In Europe and
Although prospects may seem bleak, fortunately, some progress has been made in the right direction. Activists like Maude Barlow and former Chilean Ambassador Pablo Solon have imbued civil society with a renewed hope over the issue of water rights in the 21st century. Their efforts, along with many others, helped to pass the UN Convention of Water as a Human Right. This convention obligates governments to ensure that people enjoy “sufficient, safe, accessible and affordable water, without discrimination.” Moreover, it asserts that water be protected and distributed across all nations. Although this can be seen as a success on the side of civil society, it is important to realize that the real work has only just begun. The implementation of this convention is far from realized. With water scarcity becoming a global geopolitical issue, moving up the ranks of National Security Agenda’s in Europe, America and China, getting countries to comply with these demands will not be an easy task.
Thus, it is vital that civil society remain strong in the position that all people and the earth have a right to clean water. Furthermore, transnational corporations, who ignore international or nation-state laws, cannot be allowed to privatize precious natural resources such as water. The time has come for all people, not just the very wealthy, to have access to clean water.
Erica Carlino is a freelance artist and writer. She currently works as a project manager for
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www. peacestockvfp.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.