On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin takes an in-depth look at the Nestlé corporation; its business practice of bloating the price of water, while pursuing the privatization of this common resource against the public good.
Tag Archives | Water
Our world is so gross right now. Via Inhabitat:
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The EPA has declared that an astounding 55 percent of rivers and streams in the country are in “poor condition for aquatic life.”
The results of their first comprehensive survey of waterway health reveal shrinking vegetation cover, high levels of phosphorous and nitrogen, and pollution from mercury and bacteria—none of which are all that great for human health either. Additionally, as the EPA emphasizes, the polluted, unhealthy waterways include vital sources of drinking water.
So where are these contaminants coming from? Phosphorous and nitrogen, both key ingredients in fertilizer, have long been recognized as a problem in US water health. 40 percent of waterways surveyed had high levels of phosophorous, while high levels of nitrogen were found in 27 percent of waterways.
Over 13,144 miles of waterways featured levels of mercury that similarly exceed safe levels for human health, making it ill-advised to consume fish from those areas.
Imagine going for a walk in the park with your family, your child runs up to the water fountain and presses the button for some a bit of refreshment. Nothing comes out. At first she’s confused, but sees the coin slot/card swipe that will sell you 15 second of flowing water for just 50 cents. You as a loving dad, pull out your card and swipe it so she can have a drink. Think this image is impossible? Do you imagine this to be something only a mad man would think of, to deprive humans of the right to water? Unfortunately there are interests buying up rights to all clean water sources. People like oil baron, T. Boone Pickens and Nestle chairman, Peter Brabeck see water as a commodity like any other, not a right. The Nestle chairman explains his stance in light of his goal to treat water as a foodstuff and the outrage his views have caused:
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“The fact is they [activists] are talking first of all only about the smallest part of the water usage,” he says.
Andrew Gavin Marshall writes:
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In the 2005 documentary, We Feed the World, then-CEO of Nestlé, the world’s largest foodstuff corporation, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, shared some of his own views and ‘wisdom’ about the world and humanity. Brabeck believes that nature is not “good,” that there is nothing to worry about with GMO foods, that profits matter above all else, that people should work more, and that human beings do not have a right to water.
Today, he explained, “people believe that everything that comes from Nature is good,” marking a large change in perception, as previously, “we always learnt that Nature could be pitiless.” Humanity, Brabeck stated, “is now in the position of being able to provide some balance to Nature, but in spite of this we have something approaching a shibboleth that everything that comes from Nature is good.” He then referenced the “organic movement” as an example of this thinking, premising that “organic is best.” But rest assured, he corrected, “organic is not best.” In 15 years of GMO food consumption in the United States, “not one single case of illness has occurred.” In spite of this, he noted, “we’re all so uneasy about it in Europe, that something might happen to us.” This view, according to Brabeck, is “hypocrisy more than anything else.”
Water, Brabeck correctly pointed out, “is of course the most important raw material we have today in the world,” but added: “It’s a question of whether we should privatize the normal water supply for the population.
Commoditization of the commons is the most important issue of our time, the most vital aspect of which is the commodification of water, usable water (pdf) to be more precise. As Global Water Corporation, a Canadian water privatization company has stated (pdf):
“Water has moved from being an endless commodity that may be taken for granted to a rationed necessity that may be taken by force.”
Strong words indeed for an important issue. Gavin Power, the deputy director of the United Nations Global Compact, reiterated this message when he made the following statement after receiving support from some of the largest corporations in the world in an effort “to help [sic] solve the global water crisis”:
“The scale of the water problem is so big that governments can’t solve it alone. They need the help of the private sector.”
The last Soviet mission to the moon, Luna-24, returned to Earth with water-rich rocks from beneath the lunar surface. But the West ignored the result. The possibility of water on the moon has excited scientists and science fiction fans for decades. If we ever decide to maintain a human presence on the moon, clear evidence of water will be an important factor in the decision. In recent years, that evidence has begun to mount. The data comes from several sources. First there was the pioneering Clementine mission in 1994, America's first return to the moon in twenty years. Clementine looked for water by bouncing radio waves off the surface—the returns giving a strong indication that water ice must lie beneath the surface...
Remember that image from a few weeks back that showed Earth with all its water gathered up in a sphere beside it? Well here's that image again, only this time, it also features Jupiter's moon Europa, along with all of its water. Notice anything interesting? Based on data acquired by NASA's Galileo satellite, astronomers think the global oceans sloshing around beneath Europa's icy exterior are likely 2 to 3 times more voluminous than the oceans here on Earth. Not 2 to 3 times more proportionally, 2 to 3 times more in total volume. Yeah. That "little" moon is packing quite the supply of H2O—and with it, scientists think, a significant chance of harboring life...
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Large quantities of antibiotic-resistant bacteria enter the environment via municipal — and especially hospital — wastewater streams. Although wastewater treatment plants reduce the total number of bacteria, the most hazardous — multiresistant — strains appear to withstand or even to be promoted by treatment processes. This was demonstrated by Eawag researchers in a study carried out in Lake Geneva, near Lausanne.
Treated wastewater from the city of Lausanne — around 90,000 m3 per day — is released into Vidy Bay (Lake Geneva); the discharge point is located 700 m offshore, at a depth of 30 m. The Lausanne region does not have a pharmaceutical industry or intensive animal production. However, the Lausanne treatment plant receives wastewater not only from the region’s 214,000 inhabitants and a number of smaller healthcare centres, but also from a major healthcare facility — the University Hospital of Canton Vaud (CHUV).
William deBuys writes at TomDispatch:
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Consider it a taste of the future: the fire, smoke, drought, dust, and heat that have made life unpleasant, if not dangerous, from Louisiana to Los Angeles. New records tell the tale: biggest wildfire ever recorded in Arizona (538,049 acres), biggest fire ever in New Mexico (156,600 acres), all-time worst fire year in Texas history (3,697,000 acres).
The fires were a function of drought. As of summer’s end, 2011 was the driest year in 117 years of record keeping for New Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana, and the second driest for Oklahoma. Those fires also resulted from record heat. It was the hottest summer ever recorded for New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, as well as the hottest August ever for those states, plus Arizona and Colorado.
Virtually every city in the region experienced unprecedented temperatures, with Phoenix, as usual, leading the march toward un-livability. This past summer, the so-called Valley of the Sun set a new record of 33 days when the mercury reached a shoe-melting 110º F or higher.