By Nikhil Aziz
March 22nd, 2010
Frankly, a lot! Here's just three factoids to think about (and there are many more)
• One out of 6 people globally does not have access to clean water.
• Nearly half the world’s population — that’s 2.5 billion people — does not have access to basic sanitation facilities.
• Large-scale corporate agricultural production consumes 70% of the world’s fresh water.
You see, for us at Grassroots International water is a political lens through which we can see the injustice in the world: who has it, who controls it, who profits from it; and who never has enough, and doesn’t control nor profit from it
Cultures in different parts of our planet have long held rivers to be life-giving. Early human civilizations are even known by their connection to the river systems whose banks they arose from like the Indus-Ganga, the Nile and the Yangtze Kiang-Huang He. But today human actions and inaction have literally throttled our rivers through industrial pollution, mega dams, diversification, deforestation and the list goes on.... But people are fighting back -- especially those most directly impacted. In my home country India, numerous popular movements have emerged like the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA-Save the Narmada Movement) and the Ganga Mukti Andolan (GMA-Free the Ganga Movement).
Former Grassroots International Board member and current Board member of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Bill Fletcher Jr. recently blogged on CNN.com about the "frequent tendency to misrepresent the lessons of [the U.S. black freedom] movement and apply them to other social movements overseas in a way that misses the mark.
By Nikhil Aziz
February 17th, 2010
Last month I went to Wingspread in Racine, Wisconsin for a meeting of water funders (mainly foundations funding freshwater conservation) where I’d been asked to be on a panel addressing issues of Equity, Rights and the Commons as a frame for water funders. The panel, moderated by Harriet Barlow of the HKH Foundation included besides me, Jon Jensen of the Park Foundation and Sam Passmore of the C.S. Mott Foundation.
February 2nd, 2010
Harmony Foundation releases new educational presentation, Troubled Waters
Harmony Foundation of Canada recently released a new educational presentation, entitled Troubled Waters. This 27 minute, narrated multimedia presentation examines freshwater issues of global importance and inspires local action through examples of grassroots leaders working to protect and conserve fresh water in communities around the world.
Grassroots International's program coordinator for Brazil &Mesoamerica, Saulo Araújo worked with the Harmony Foundation to helphighlight the One Million Cisterns Project in Brazil, begun with seed support by Grassroots International for its partner Pólo Sindical.
As the Climate Summit in Copenhagen plods onward, various so-called solutions to global warming are being tossed around: Alternative energy, Cap and Trade, adaptation and mitigation, and many more. It can be hard to make sense of them, and even more difficult to unpack the myths from the realities. Fortunately, Annie Leonard, who brought us “The Story of Stuff” offers a new video to explain the Story of Cap & Trade.
And, the answer is...350. That is 350 parts per million of Carbon Dioxide in our atmosphere, the upper limit for sustainability of life, human life anyway. The question, however, is why are more -- not less -- Americans not convinced about the dangers of global warming and climate change in 2009 than in 2006? A new poll by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press released yesterday, found some alarming downward trends. Only 35 percent of Americans see global warming as a serious problem, and about 57 percent believe there is solid evidence that the earth is getting warmer.
The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), an independent international research and development organization, recently published a book that should be of interest to Grassroots International's supporters. Available free online, Towards Food Sovereignty: Reclaiming Autonomous Food Systems offers great analysis and links to video and audio files that show farmers, indigenous peoples and consumers all working to promote food sovereignty.
Throughout the world, social movements are the driving force behind a new food sovereignty policy framework, which aims to guarantee and protect people's space, ability and right to define their own models of production, food distribution and consumption patterns.
October 17th is marked as by the United Nations as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. At Grassroots International, we have been working with our partners for over 25 years towards achieving that goal. Clearly, a lot needs to be done to get us there.