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Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water
Synopses & Reviews
A passionate call to action from one of the leading voices in the global struggle for universal access to the earth's most vital element—a sequel to the acclaimed Blue Gold.
"Life requires access to clean water; to deny the right to water is to deny the right to life."—from the introduction to Blue Covenant
In their international bestseller Blue Gold, Maude Barlow and co-author Tony Clarke exposed how a handful of corporations are gaining ownership and control of the earth's dwindling water supply, depriving millions of people around the world of access to this most basic of resources and accelerating the onset of a global water crisis.
Blue Covenant, the sequel to Blue Gold, describes a powerful response to this trend: the emergence of an international, grassroots-led movement to have water declared a basic human right, something that can't be bought or sold for profit.
World-renowned activist Maude Barlow is at the center of this movement, which is gaining popular and political support across the globe, encompassing protests in India against U.S. bottling giant Coca-Cola; in Bolivia against the water privatization scheme of European water conglomerate Suez; against the use of water meters in South Africa; and over groundwater mining in Barrington, New Hampshire, and dozens of other communities in North America.
With great passion and clarity, Barlow traces the history of these international battles, documents the life-and-death stakes involved in the fight for the right to water, and lays out the actions that we as global citizens must take to secure a water—just world—a "blue covenant"—for all.
"Canadian antiglobalization activist Barlow (Blue Gold) calls for a 'blue covenant' among nations to define the world's fresh water as 'a human right and a public trust' rather than a commercial product. Barlow marshals facts and figures with admirable (if often dry) comprehensiveness, noting that as many as 36 U.S. states could reach a water crisis in five years; that once vast freshwater resources like Lake Chad and the Aral Sea are becoming briny puddles; and a handful of multinational water companies, abetted by World Bank monetary policies and United Nations political timidity, are bidding for the 'complete commodification' of formerly public water resources. Her passionate plea for access-to-water activism is buttressed with some breakthroughs; Uruguay has enshrined public water rights in its constitution (the only nation to do so), and 'water warriors' are fighting back in Bolivia, Argentina and Chile, where activists have forced private water companies to cede control of municipal water systems. There's a noble tilting-at-windmills quality to the author's call for private citizens and nongovernmental organizations to challenge corporate control of water delivery, agitate for equitable access to clean water and confront the reality that freshwater supplies are dwindling." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In "Blue Gold," the authors exposed how a handful of corporations is gaining ownership and control of the Earths dwindling water supply. This follow-up describes a powerful response to this trend: the emergence of an international, grassroots-led movement to have water declared a basic human right.
An Inconvenient Truth of water.
Imagine a world in twenty years, in which no substantive progress has been made to provide basic wastewater service in the Third World, or to force industry and industrial agriculture production to stop polluting water systems, or to curb the mass movement of water by pipeline, tanker and other diversion, which will have created huge new swaths of desert.
Desalination plants will ring the world' s oceans, many of them run by nuclear power; corporate nanotechnology will clean up sewage water and sell it to private utilities who will sell it back to us at a huge profit; the rich will drink only bottled water found in the few remote parts of the world left or sucked from the clouds by machines, while the poor die in increasing numbers. This is not science fiction. This is where the world is headed unless we change course.
-- Maude Barlow
Dubbed Canada' s best-known voice of dissent by the CBC, Maude Barlow has proven herself again and again to be on the leading edge of issues Canadians care deeply about. In Blue Covenant, Barlow lays out the actions that we as global citizens must take to secure a water-just world — a blue covenant for all.
About the Author
A recipient of Sweden's Right Livelihood Award (the "Alternative Nobel") and a Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship, Maude Barlow is head of the Council of Canadians, Canada's largest public advocacy organization, and founder of the Blue Planet Project. She is the author of sixteen books, including Blue Gold (The New Press)—published in over fifty countries—and is on the board of Food and Water Watch and the International Forum on Globalization. She lives in Ottawa, Canada.
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