The mariner is a member of Food and Water Watch, an advocate for clean, fresh water around the world, making water available to all human beings, and opposed to privatized management of food and water policy, that is, food and water should be managed by governments, not corporations. Food and Water Watch (FWW) is a watchdog for all sorts of wasteful food and water practices, especially the pollution of the fresh water that is available and the unnecessary cost of ‘bottled’ water. Corporate advertizing contends than bottled water is better for you than tap water – which is not true, and also has a high profit margin.
Last night he watched C-SPAN coverage of a FWW conference. The main speaker was Maude Barlow, who was instrumental in forming FWW in 2005. Ms Barlow is Chair of the Board of Directors. She has a remarkable reputation. Ms Barlow has a standing in food and water issues similar to that of Martin Luther King in the Civil Rights movement or Ralph Nader in auto safety.
The mission statement for FWW is:
“Food and Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profit before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment.”
An environmental phrase often heard is climate change. Food and water issues are intertwined with climate change. For example, the excessive amount of carbon dioxide settles into the world’s oceans. This causes acidification of ocean waters that in turn kills just about everything that lives in the oceans. In her book, The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert points out that ocean acidification is the cause of the Permian extinction (third great extinction). 95% of all marine species went extinct. Coral reefs did not return for 10 million years.
Very much in the news is the debate over fracking (hydraulic fracturing) – the process of forcing natural gas to the surface by sending water underground at high pressure. Similar to the damage caused by strip mining for coal, the water doesn’t stay where it’s put and turns up in all the wrong places. Even the Great Lakes, the largest source of fresh water in the world, are not immune to fracking pollution. Many of us may have seen the news clip where a man could set his kitchen tap water on fire.
FWW looks into many food situations. In her presentation, Ms Barlow said everyone should stop eating meat because it is not an efficient use of water, given the amount of meat per unit of water the animals require.
FWW is an advocate of home grown organic vegetables. Have you planted your bell peppers yet?
The mariner could go on but everything you want to know – or in some cases would rather not know, is on the FWW website. The material is presented well and if the reader has never thought about the big issues in food and water, it will be enlightening.
He ends with one statistic: Not counting the ‘permanent’ ice at the poles, only 1% of Earth’s water is drinkable.