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Water Sustainability – Power, Poverty and Perception

It’s a new year, a fresh start in Decade Deux of the Roaring 2000’s. A few constants carry over from previous decades: the wealthy and the poor continue to paradoxically grow apart, America is spending trillions to maintain its war position, and over 1.4 billion people face the daily challenge of finding safe hydration. As the gap between rich and poor widens, it’s interesting to me that war dollars and the number of thirsty people also continues to move higher. Is there any correlation here? Anyone paying attention?

The answer is yes, and herein lies a problem. Firstly, I appreciate my freedom to voice the following opinion: the powerful entities that recognize and allow wealth disparity are funding the killing of soldiers and innocents, while also creating large, bureaucratic, inter-connected organizations focused on bringing water solutions to those lacking.

There, I said it, and thankfully, I won’t be arrested for doing so.

This leads me to additional questions, namely, is water a tradeable commodity, like corn, oil and gold—earthly creations– or for that matter, interest rate swaps—human brainchilds? Or, is water a basic human need, and therefore meant to be free for all? Where does water fit in? It’s a vital question, as shortages in many areas of the planet are being addressed by the powerful organizations alluded to above. Unfortunately, the human condition is, for the most part, trained as a taking rather than sharing society. This attitude risks the result of a free-for-all, which can lead to protectionism and violence.

Rather dire, cynical message so far. My thoughts are stoked by an informative article I read this morning: http://www.mediafreedominternational.org/2009/09/21/water-as-commodity-or-commons-issues-from-the-2009-world-water-forum/ And please understand that I have great optimsm for the future of our species. Yet, with only a modicum of research, organizations like the World Water Council (http://www.worldwatercouncil.org/), that represents very large corporate interests, is directly linked to the OECD, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Here, I discover the DAC (Development Assistance Committee, i.e. donor countries) of which the USA is a member. The primary role of the DAC is to provide ODA (Official Development Assistance– money) to developing countries designated as recipients. For 2007-2008, the USA-DAC directed a combined $5.1 billion to the two top recipients of ODA, namely, Iraq and Afganistan ( Allow me to connect the dots. America is spending countless billions on two wars, while simultaneously devoting relief funds to these ruined countries. Imagine if the dollar amounts were reversed, i.e, that countless billions were spent on bringing aid and relief, while a measly 5.1 funded the war machine. And where does this money come from, and where does it end up? Who is doing the accountability on these dollars?

So now, allow me to begin spouting about the way out. Water consumption is meant for all humans, regardless of social and economic standing. It is my belief that large corporate and governmental bodies are too focused on either shareholder return or political ramifications for making hard decisions. As well, fortunately, more people of wealth and wherewithal are waking up to the shared and common goal of preserving our planet, our species, and all living things. It is my view that privately held, socially conscious and engineered companies can energize change and bring solution and sustenance to the end user. In terms of water, profitable distribution can flow hand in hand with philanthropic thirst quenching. This is a tenable way to shrink the gap between the wealthy elite and struggling poor. Together, we are all human, where each day can start with a drink of water, leading to a sustainable and prosperous existence.

  • Hi James,
    Glad you are optimistic! But looks like the Supreme Court is helping to turn ‘We the People’ into ‘We the Corporations’. I hope we do not let this happen.

    • JamesOConnor

      Hello there, K, my delayed response reflects lots of good stuff going on.
      Progress and patience don’t always mix that well, and sometimes the progress takes a shot across the bow, as seen in the SC decision you allude to.
      My optimism and hope for the future remains very strong; eventually the waking of the few will result in the waking of the masses to all the flagrant unfairness that we live with, blindly or no.
      I keep breathing and keep moving forward, and definitely want to witness and participate in world changes that positively impact future generations. I think it’s a good goal for this current life of mine…;-)
      Rock on…