By Nancy Price and Theta Pavis
The First People’s World Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth recently took place in Bolivia. Yet this historic conference was also a reminder that the work for a healthy planet, and clean drinking water for everyone, is far from over.
During the gathering in Bolivia, activists also held a water conference, Feria Internacional del Aqua, which featured an outdoor fair where villagers showcased the work of local water councils. The fair included food, information about water-related organizations and a number of workshops.
The WILPF project Women and Water Rights took months of planning, but the ripple effects will be felt for years to come. Check out the fantastic media coverage they’ve received.
This week the project continues to build momentum, with a “World Water Day Film Screening.” What’s next? None other than Vandana Shiva will make a major presentation on the closing day of the exhibition. If you couldn’t see the exhibit and catch the programming, don’t worry. You can listen to a Podcast about their work on the KFAI website – just look for the clip on International Women’s Day with host Dixie Treichel on the radio show Fresh Fruit. The exhibit will also be going on tour. Check their website for more details.
Celebrate Blue October
As the twentieth century had been called the “century of human rights,” this new era would be known as the “century of the rights of Mother Earth.”
- Evo Morales, President of Bolivia
You might ask why, since Earth Day – designated as April 22 in 1970 – is now celebrated in many countries, and from the 1970s on many countries passed environmental laws.
The answer is that worldwide, oil, natural gas, coal extraction and thermal energy production has accelerated, with fossil fuel use contributing to global warming. Most national governments collaborate with the multinational energy corporations or simply look the other way when it comes to environmental destruction, human rights and public health abuses, appropriation of land, and the waste and contamination of water that causes sickness and death.
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
United States Section
11 Arlington St. Boston, MA 02116
Tel: 617-266-0999 Email: web(at)wilpf.org
The Honorable Jared Huffman
Chair, Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife
Sacramento, CA 95814
April 21, 2009
RE: Support AB 1242 (Ruskin-Jones)
Dear Assemblymember Huffman:
The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, U.S. Section, wholeheartedly supports AB 1242 that would amend the California State Water Code to read that "every human being has the right to clean and accessible water on an equitable basis".
Click on the links below to view and download pdf versions of articles related to water that have appeared in WILPF's Peace and Freedom Magazine in recent years.
Reprinted from Peace & Freedom Magazine of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Winter 2009, Volume 69 #1
View this and other issues online at: http://wilpf.org/peaceandfreedomarchive
People Against Chemical Trespass
By Nancy Price
At this time, as no other in history, our health and life are at risk from the accumulation of chemicals used by industry, agriculture and the military that poison our air, land, water and our bodies. Currently over 80,000 corporate-produced chemicals are in use in the U.S. and among the 15,000 chemicals tested, few have been studied enough to conclude there are no risks. Amazingly, about 1,800 chemicals enter the market each year.
Over the decades, different chemicals have been found to be far more toxic to the environment and people than initially reported: lead, mercury, asbestos, DDT, PCBs, pesticides, tobacco, flame-retardants, solvents, perchlorate, dry-cleaning chemicals, Agent Orange; the list goes on and on. We now know chemicals that might be useful for one purpose can be extremely harmful in other ways. The threat to all life now far exceeds what Rachel Carson exposed more than 60 years ago.
THE HUMAN RIGHT TO WATER: International “Right to Water Treaty.” On December 10, 1948, when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 30 Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were adopted by all nations, water was not listed as a “right,” perhaps because the threat of scarcity was not yet looming.
In the U.S., Budgeting for Clean and Affordable Water
In President Obama’s FY 2010 Budget, there is $10.5 billion for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (pdf) which is 34% higher than the $7.8 billion estimated 2009 budget, This is a huge increase from the last Bush 2008 budget of $7.5 billion. This includes an “historic increase” in funding for clean water through the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. Also note that the Recovery Act includes $7.2 billion for clean water.
How much should water for personal and household needs and sanitation cost? How should these services be provided? These questions are fundamental to a woman’s ability to provide clean, sufficient and affordable water for her family. When water is considered a commodity with the price set by the market, only those that can afford water at any price will have access.
March 22, 2009
On World Water Day, the People’s Water Forum Declaration was released declaring water a human right and a central component of the global commons. The statement continues: we reject all forms of privatization and declare that the management and control of water must be public, social, cooperative, participatory, equitable, and not for profit.
The Tanzania Gender Networking Programme this morning issued a strong statement condemning profit hungry companies that came to Aftica to reap profits from our natural resources such as water. The statement signed by TGNP Executive Director Ms. Usu Mallya mentioned Biwater Gauff as being a one such case, saying such trends were quite appalling and that the dispute currently under litigation at the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) was far more a human rights issue than an investment dispute.
The WILPF Save the Water Campaign calls for the United Nations to pass a binding Convention on the Human Right to Water. This letter, of which WILPF is a signatory, was sent to to the Human Rights Council, urging the High Commissioner to support the Human Right to Water.
The Blue Planet project commissioned a legal analysis of the Green Cross campaign for a UN Convention on the Right to Water. While the Green Cross campaign does include some progressive elements, we maintain that it would undermine, not strengthen, protection for the international right to water.
by Mike Tidwell
Strange Weather, Future Katrinas, and the Coming Death of America's Coastal Cities
Not only does The Ravaging Tide explain how global warming will soon turn all of America's coastal cities into the next New Orleans, it lays out the systematic campaign to cover-up climate studies by leaders at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman's recent revelation of internal NOAA documents to this effect is but the latest in this shocking cover-up now imperiling all Americans.