Grassroots International

Water Rights | Página 10 de 10

  • El Salvador’s Anti-terrorism Legislation Targets Water Activists

    The tiny Central American nation of El Salvador has long been out of sight, out of mind to most U.S. residents. Once the guns of the 12 year civil war went silent in 1992, the country signed peace accords, disbanded the famously repressive National Guard, modernized the police force incorporating ex-combatants from both sides into its ranks and embarked upon a somewhat haphazard process of healing.

  • Challenging Coke’s Thirst for Water: The Apizaco Story

    "A few days a week, foul-smelling black mud comes out of the plant," Javier told us as he sat a short distance downstream from the Coca-Cola plant in Apizaco, Mexico. Javier, a small farmer getting on in years, has been tending his cows along the Apizquito River for decades. "The spring is about four kilometers up to the east. The water comes out sweet and clean there, but by the time it gets here it's polluted."

    Javier, a small farmer near the Coke plant

    Javier, a small farmer near the Coke plant

  • Resource Rights and Wrongs at the Core of Water and Social Justice

    "Water and other natural resources are at the center of conflicts worldwide, in large part due to their unequal distribution. These conflicts are both paradigmatic and traditional, involving a fundamental difference over whether water is a human right or a marketable commodity. For rural small producers from the Middle East to Latin America, there is no question that access to and control of water is essential to their very survival. The source of the water challenges these producers face vary across the globe, from occupying powers to a state of war, and from government-sponsored, top-down development models to corporate interests that promote private gain over public good. When viewed through the lens of resource rights, globalization is shrinking the global commons through the concentration and privatization of natural resources. Social change movements of small producers are at the forefront of envisioning and realizing more sustainable alternatives."

  • Update on Dom Luiz’s Hunger Strike

    Thousands of supporters turned out to celebrate Dom Luiz's birthday with him yesterday, as he continues his hunger strike against the re-routing of the São Francisco River.

    Here's an AP story on the demonstrations. It's good that the reporter focuses on the environmental damage that re-routing the river will cause (which will likely include increased deforestation, sedimentation and habitat loss for wildlife and fisheries stock) but it's disappointing that he takes at face value the government's claims that 18 million people will benefit from the project.

    Independent experts who have analyzed the plan suggest that the number who actually receive water from the project will be much smaller than that, and experience with similar projects around the world suggest that the long term consequences of mega-projects like this can be catastrophic not only for the environment in some abstract sense, but for the livelihoods and lives of the people who live in the area. Not exactly what I would call a benefit.

  • Brazilian Bishop on Hunger Strike In Defense of São Francisco River

    It is the seventh day of Dom Luiz's hunger strike to protect the São Francisco River from a potentially catastrophic "Watershed Transposition" project that the Brazilian government wants to implement in the country's arid northeast. He is growing weak, but is determined to continue his hunger strike.

    Dom Luiz is a Franciscan Bishop who lives at the margin of the São Francisco river in a town called Cabrobo (ca-bro-boh), in the northeastern state of Pernambuco. He has been a strong advocate of the revitalization of the river and a strong voice during the public hearings about the plan to re-distribute the water of the river using a series of dams and canals. In a letter to the people of the northeast, he stated the problems of the project and appealed to the families from the four states that are supposed to benefit from this mega project: "If the São Francisco river was not dying and the watershed transposition were the best solution to end your thirst, I would not be in disagreement and would fight with you for it."

  • Bishop on Hunger Strike In Defense of São Francisco River

    It is the seventh day of Dom Luiz's hunger strike to protect the S Francisco River from a potentially catastrophic "Watershed Transposition" project that the Brazilian government wants to implement in the country's arid northeast. He is growing weak, but is determined to continue his hunger strike.

    Dom Luiz is a Franciscan Bishop who lives at the margin of the S Francisco river in a town called Cabrobo (ca-bro-boh), in the northeastern state of Pernambuco. He has been a strong advocate of the revitalization of the river and a strong voice during the public hearings about the plan to re-distribute the water of the river using a series of dams and canals. In a letter to the people of the northeast, he stated the problems of the project and appealed to the families from the four states that are supposed to benefit from this mega project: "If the S Francisco river was not dying and the watershed transposition were the best solution to end your thirst, I would not be in disagreement and would fight with you for it."

  • Working Together, Redefining Rights: Environment, Agriculture and Labor

    When an activist is murdered for organizing resistance to powerful interests, it can be much easier to simply think about the crime as a human rights crime in the narrowest sense of the term. It's easy to forget that what the activist was fighting for in many cases wasn't political freedom per se, but for those other categories of rights that sometimes seem hard to understand: social and economic rights like the right to define a culture of one's own, and to have enough food and water and land to support a dignified living.

    A few weeks ago, this news alert came through my inbox from International Rivers Network:

  • A Little Water Goes a Long Way in Haiti

    This morning we visited the community of Lawob, where, with a grant from the European Union, the Peasant Movement of Papaye (MPP) has constructed a small dam to capture the water from an intermittent stream.

    This deep into the drought there was not sign of the stream, anywhere. When we arrived at the site, we saw a small blue and black rowboat sitting under a mango tree in the middle of what looks like a desert. The lake was out of sight until we walked down a winding path, but before we got could even see the water, it was obvious that there was something special about this place.

    Flitting through the air were half a dozen Antillean Palm Swifts, tiny little insect eaters with pointy wings. They are supposed to be ubiquitous in Haiti, and these were the first I had seen after three days of looking. Downstream from the small lake was a lush garden that was greener than anything we've seen since we arrived in Haiti. (Most of the plants we have seen are covered with a fine layer of dust.)