Celebrate Blue October
Celebrate Blue October
Joining the Local to the Global – Take Action in Your Community
Blue October is an international month of action challenging corporate control of water. It’s designed to protect water as the shared water commons of all people and nature. Blue October celebrates the historic vote on October 31, 2004 when the people of Uruguay voted to amend their constitution to recognize the fundamental human right to water.
A vibrant and growing international movement is asserting that “water is a human right” and a “right of nature.” Here are ACTIONS you may take through the month to make a difference:
1) October 24 is United Nations Day. In July 2007, the corporate CEOs initiated the CEO Water Mandate as part of the Global Compact. Host or join in a United Nations Day panel to educate your community about the “Water Mandate.” Most of the 47 endorsers are CEOs of major corporations, for example, Coca Cola, Nestle, PepsiCo, Dow Chemical, with troubling records on human rights, the environment and labor relations. They use the “Mandate” to green-wash their operations. The “Mandate” could facilitate more corporate control and management of water resources. It competes with the initiative of Miguel d’Escoto, President of the General Assembly, and Maude Barlow, his advisor on water policy, who are calling for U.N. member states to recognize water as a fundamental human right, not a commodity to be bought and sold.
2) Find out who controls your water. Ask your Public Works Department who makes decisions about your local water supply and where your water comes from. Stay alert to any attempt to privatize your local Public Water Utility through a long-term lease or outright sale. This is becoming a major threat as cash-strapped municipalities and Water Utilities are struggling in this economic crisis.
For the health of your community and family, keep track of water quality reports for your tap water. Find out who the major polluters are in your community. Call them out and put on a mock trial of the corporate person that is polluting the environment and impacting the health of real persons.
3) Where have all the Fountains Gone?
Slurping water from a bubbling fountain is a simple pleasure. But, have you noticed water fountains have disappeared from schools, offices, and public buildings. Even from our parks!
Next time you’re out – make a survey. Create a map of locations to distribute so everyone knows where to get a drink or fill up their water bottle. Encourage the city, a school, or non-
profit group to sponsor a design contest for a new public fountain where it is needed, help raise funds, and plan a dedication ceremony.
4) Meet with your Mayor. Take a small group, including a few that know the Mayor, if possible. Ask if he/she attended the U.S. Conference of Mayors (June 2008 and 2009) and remind him/her that the Conference passed a resolution supporting public water. The resolution encourages mayors to promote the importance of municipal water and to phase out government spending on bottled water, except for emergencies and when safe municipal water is not available, and to redirect taxpayer dollars to other essential services.
5) Ask the owners of some of your favorite local restaurants to “Take the Pledge” and ask that bottled water be removed from the drink list. Let the restaurant know that major restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Boston and elsewhere have stopped serving bottled water. Let them know that you understand bottled water provides income from sales and that purchase of an “in house” filter and carbonation system may be expensive, but well worth the investment.
Let the Save the Water Issue Group know the results of any of these actions or others that you take up during Blue October and we’ll post on the Save the Water pages!