Not a drop to drink

Maude Barlow gives a lecture on the critical situation of water

By Rebecca Phaneuf-Thibault

Maude Barlow a Canadian activist and author came to Dawson to give a lecture about her battle for the human right for drinkable water and the critical situation of water in the world last Thursday.

“We need to understand that our resources are limited. Water will eventually run out… We have no rights if the earth is dying around us.” Barlow stated.As Barlow discussed the virtual water trade, she said that there were more water rights than actual water available.

“Pakistan is going to be the first one to run out in less than 10 years, followed closely by all the Middle Eastern countries and the Mediterranean region.”In order to sensitize everybody at the conference about the alarming nature of water situation on our planet, Barlow gave many facts to the audience.

She explained that every eight seconds, a child dies from water-related diseases and that it’s the number one cause for infantile deaths. She elaborated on the reality that one in three Africans don’t have access to water and 90% of water bottles aren’t recycled. She informed the crowd that 170 trillion gallons of drinkable water from land base systems are thrown into the ocean which causes the oceans to rise and global warming.

 “As we speak the supply can still answer to the demand but within the next two decades that won’t be the case. We could go into a worldwide shortage if we don’t make adjustments to the relationship we have with nature in the quickest delays,” Barlow said. The virtual water trade privatizes water as an exploitable good and is creating an exponentially growing demand for it.

 Barlow recognized and expressed her appreciation for Dawson’s effort in reducing the sale of bottled water on campus and for its initiative of the free water bottle distribution to its entire student body, “It’s seeing people like you that keep me hopeful,” she said. “It’s fascinating and inspiring to learn about this woman’s work.

The issues are so vast, more people should be involved but it’s always amazing to learn about those who are,” Zak Rosentzeig, third semester North-South student said.The conference turnout was intimate but, nonetheless, the energy in the room was palpable and passion filled. Justin Mueller, a third semester Dawson student in Environmental Studies said it was remarkable, “[The conference] was impressive and deep. It’s crazy how this information isn’t more out in the open.”

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