A community gathering has just concluded this Sunday afternoon at a park in the Mexican town of Dolores Hidalgo.
Our climate justice ‘caravana’ was warmly welcomed by the community and assembled speakers told us about the impact of big agribusiness on the Independence watershed, officially known as the Upper Rio Laja watershed. Agribusiness that exports food from this area to Canada, the United States, and Europe.
We heard about violence against nature, water contamination, the river being polluted.
They said that wells have been dug so deep that the groundwater is being used up. So much so that their water table drops 3-10 metres each year.
They said they now find high traces of fluoride in their drinking water and told us of their concerns about how this affects the health of their children. They have also found cyanide and arsenic in their drinking water.
They told us about dynamite explosions happening to build a highway through an indigenous territory – without permission – and how this is disturbing their water springs.
They said that the agribusiness companies flood their fields for export crops when local communities don’t have clean water to drink.
They talked about how climate change has brought drought, floods, hard frosts and snow, all of which affect their sustenance crops.
And they talked about the rights of land and water, the need for justice and respect for the peoples, and how we must resist and unify to win.
They told us of their efforts to save their water supply and initiatives to collect rainwater.
Their demands were clear:
– promote and support diversified organic agriculture, using natural fertilizers
– support local and community markets to minimize the use of gasoline to transport food and other products far from the place where they are produced.
Among their proposals, they also want to: promote the conservation of water, harvest rainwater for consumption and domestic use, install dry filters, biofilters for the recycling of gray water, and permit rural communities to manage their own water resources.
For more, go to www.viacampesina.org/en.
Brent Patterson, Director of Campaigns and Communications, Council of Canadians