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By Daniel Moss
July 21st, 2010
On July 28, after years and years of grassroots pressure, the United Nations’ General Assembly will finally consider and debate a resolution supporting the right to "safe and clean drinking water and sanitation.” Grassroots International embraces the human right to water and has signed on to an open letter supporting the resolution entitled “The human right to water and sanitation.
Maude Barlow, former senior advisor on Water to the President of the United Nations General Assembly, described the denial of access to clean water as the
June 25th, 2010
By Alisa Pimentel
Among the almost 20,000 activists gathered in Detroit for the US Social Forum this week are several Grassroots International partners and allies. Grassroots International regularly provides funding to our partners and allies to participate in movement-building and leadership development gatherings.
After tireless campaigning by the indigenous people of Guatemala and international solidarity organizations, including Grassroots International, the Goldcorp Marlin Mine has been ordered to shut by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. This is a huge victory for local Mayan residents who have fought for the past six years to hold Goldcorp accountable for appalling social and environmental problems caused by the mine. Grassroots International supported their struggle for justice by funding indigenous representatives to attend meetings with allies in Canada and the United States as well as hearings at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Among the many challenges facing Arab citizens living in Israel, access to water is perhaps the worst. Grassroots International partner the Ahali Center for Community Development is organizing to secure the human right to water in a region that thirsts for justice.
Last month, I traveled to Cochabamba, Bolivia for a number of reasons. The main one was to attend the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. Many of Grassroots International’s partners from Latin America, Asia and Africa were also there – some of whom we supported to attend – and it was a great opportunity for me to meet with them and with many of our allies in one central location. They were all at the conference because for them the climate crisis is immediate in its impact and not some theoretical scenario for the future.
A World People's Conference on Climate Change has been called by Bolivia as a response to the failure of COP15. As one of the few countries that openly criticized the negotiations in Copenhagen and has refused to sign the Copenhagen Accord, Bolivia has invited governments, organizations, and people to take part in finding solutions to fight climate change.
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.
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.