March 22 is World Water Day, and to mark this day, the Council of Canadians is encouraging its chapters and the public to take action for water in their community. As you know, there are few things more important than clean, safe water. But corporate control of drinking water, the growth of the bottled water industry, pollution from mining companies and fracking projects, and water shortages from droughts and over-extractions are all part of a growing global water crisis. In Canada, our government has failed to safeguard our water by refusing to implement a National Water Policy to protect and conserve it. The Canadian government also shamefully ignores the human right to water and sanitation, which was recognized by the United Nations in July 2010.
But you can make a difference. The fight for public water is happening now. Across Canada people are rejecting the commodification and privatization of water, and are raising awareness of the importance of clean, safe accessible public water for all.
Join us in marking the importance of World Water Day by organizing a water-themed event in your community. Be sure to let us know about your World Water Day activities so we can highlight them on our website. E-mail your event details to [email protected]. And don’t forget to check out our resources and publications to help inform people and raise awareness.
Here are some ideas for how you can take action on World Water Day:
1) Take action for the right to water.
On July 28, 2010, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly agreed to a resolution declaring the human right to “safe and clean drinking water and sanitation.” Appallingly, the Canadian government abstained from the vote even though there are many communities across Canada, including First Nations, which do not have access to clean, safe water. Take action and help us apply the political pressure needed to make the right to water and sanitation a reality in Canada!
*Join us in putting pressure on the federal government. Download a copy of the "Appeal to Parliamentarians on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation" letter and our Parliamentarian Pledge on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation. Arrange a meeting with your elected Member of Parliament and ask them to sign the pledge. Be sure to send a copy to [email protected] so we can add your MP's name to a list of supportive politicians on our website.
* Visit your local city council and ask them to pass a resolution http://www.canadians.org/water/documents/WWD/2009/bcpguide-draft-web.pdf supporting the right to water. Check out page 5 of our Blue Communities Project booklet for more information and a sample resolution.
2) Say “Don’t frack our water!”
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” is a drilling technique used to extract natural gas from hard to access sources. Massive amounts of water mixed with chemicals and sand are injected at a high rate of pressure into rock formations. The process has been known to contaminate nearby drinking water sources, and concerns have been raised about the safety of the contaminated wastewater from the projects. There are many ways you can help protect our water from fracking:
* Find out if there is a fracking operation in your community and send us an e-mail so we can add it to our “Fracker Tracker,” a web tool that maps frocking projects across the country.
Help raise awareness by setting up an information booth in your community.
* Write a letter to the editor of your local paper.
* Visit your local council and convince politicians to protect water by passing a municipal resolution that puts a moratorium on fracking.
* Garner public support by getting signatures on a “Don’t Frack Our Water” petition.
3) Call for a bottled water ban in your community.
More than 60 communities across Canada have said “no” to bottled water. Canada has one of the best drinking water systems in the world, but the bottled water industry has worked hard to undermine our faith in public water. The industry sells water – what should be a shared public resource – for huge profits. Producing and transporting bottled water requires large amounts of fossil fuels, and plastic water bottles continue to end up by the millions in local landfills. Take a stand against bottled water in your community by:
* Call on your municipal council to ban bottled water in public places. For more information and a sample resolution, see page 9 of our Blue Communities Project Guide.
* Get creative and design a public display that demonstrates how many empty water bottles end up in landfills each year.
* Click here to read more about how we can all “Unbottle it!”
* The Council of Canadians is also a partner in the Coalition for Bottled Water-Free Communities, which is encouraging school boards, organizations and people across Canada to go bottled water free on March 15. Go here to join the campaign.
4) Be a part of the fight against water privatization at the World Water Forum.
The World Water Forum (WWF) claims to be a democratic, multi-stakeholder platform for governments, civil society, academics and industry on global water issues, but past forums have shown that in fact, they are dominated by a handful of multinational food and water corporations with a strong agenda of privatization and corporate control of water. The Council of Canadians has been challenging World Water Forum agendas for more than 12 years. We will be at the upcoming World Water Forum March 12-17 in Marseille, France, and the Alternative World Water Forum (in French, Forum Alternative Mondial de l’Eau, or FAME), which will take place on March 14-17, 2012, speaking out against the efforts of corporations and governments to privatize water. Visit our World Water Forum webpage to find out more.
5) Make a splash in the media.
Writing a letter to the editor or opinion column for your community newspaper is a great way to share information about local water issues. Whether it’s exposing water privatization, pollution, or encouraging people to dump bottled water in favour of public tap water, help raise awareness by getting water issues in the news on World Water Day.
Join us on March 22 and we can all make a difference for water in our communities!
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