I just got home from an incredible event in Rochester, New York, the fourth Great Lakes tour stop. Maude Barlow, National Chairperson for the Council of Canadians, has been touring around the Great Lakes speaking out about threats to the Great Lakes and what we need to do to stop them once and for all. We began the Great Lakes tour last year where we visited eight cities and continued the tour this year with events already in Duluth, Milwaukee and Grand Rapids.
Geneva, April 22, 2013 -- The Blue Planet Project is marking Earth Week by raising Canada's violations of the Human right to water with member states at the United Nations in Geneva in advance of the country's universal periodic review (UPR). The UPR was established in 2006 to enable an international review of the human rights records of member states.
Canada's UPR takes place on April 26. Joining us in Geneva are representatives of the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees. Together, we are highlighting the range and complexities of water injustices in Canada.
From March 26-30, an estimated 50,000 people flocked to Tunisia to participate in the first World Social Forum to take place in the Arab world. The theme was dignity -- a term that had become a battle cry during the revolutionary protests that took place throughout the region in 2010 and 2011.
Organizations working on water issues gathered a day earlier to hold discussions on the central role of water in the fight for human dignity. During the December 2010 protests in Tunisia that sparked the wave of revolutions in the Arab World, thousands had marched chanting, "Yes to bread and water! No to Ben Ali!" It was a clear message that the people would no longer tolerate a regime that denied them their basic rights.
Today is Bottled Water Free Day. And to celebrate, the Bottled Water Free Coalition has just released a new and inspiring video (see below) about people taking action to protect water and what you can do to protect water in your community. The video features Robyn Hamlyn (13-year-old water warrior), Sylvia Plain (Aamjiwnaang First Nation), Mike Nagy (Wellington Water Watchers) and Munib Sajjad (University of Toronto). They tell their stories, what they are doing to protect water and what inspires them to take action.
Close to 100 people gathered in Aamjiwnaang First Nation, located inside of Sarnia and close to Lake Huron, on Friday to take part in the Ultimate Walking Toxic Tour of Canada’s Chemical Valley. The toxic tour stopped at several of the 63 petrochemical facilities that surround Aamjiwnaang First Nation. The tour, which kicked off a weekend of strategy meetings on Line 9, highlighted the pollution created by the petrochemical industry and the right to breath clean air.
We are seeing an unprecedented shift in the way our government handles public science. Scientists are being censored -- they are no longer able to freely communicate their research to the media and the public. New government policies have the potential to suppress public science by making it harder for government scientists to publish their work and collaborate with scientists outside of government.
Today, on International Women's Day, a group of women held a flash-mob in front of the office of Sagittarius Mines, Inc. in Makati (a city in Metro Manila) in the Philippines. The Swiss-owned Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) has copper and gold mining projects in Tampakan, South Cotabato, Colombio in Sultan Kudarat, and in parts of Davao del Sur. At the end of their dance, they held up a sign stating "Women Say No to Corporate Mining."
The Blue Planet Project is working with allies including The Council of Canadians, KAIROS, Mining Watch Canada, Breaking the Silence Maritimes and the United Church to raise awareness about community resistance to Canadian mining in communities across the country.
Community activists from El Salvador will be on a North American speaking tour in March and April dubbed “Water is More Precious than Gold” to share stories from the frontlines about the ecologically and socially devastating impacts of metal mining in the region, the heroic efforts to have metal mining banned in the country and the ways in which the mining industry is bullying their way into Latin American communities.
Today is Save the ELA Day. To mark this day, a dinner event is being held in Kenora tonight where Elder Nancy Morrison, Tania Cameron, Peter Kirby and MP Bruce Hyer are slated to speak on the closure of Experimental Lakes Area.