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Blue Covenant


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Canadian antiglobalization activist Barlow (Blue Gold) calls for a "blue covenant" among nations to define the world's fresh water as "a human right and a public trust" rather than a commercial product. Barlow marshals facts and figures with admirable (if often dry) comprehensiveness, noting that as many as 36 U.S. states could reach a water crisis in five years; that once vast freshwater resources like Lake Chad and the Aral Sea are becoming briny puddles; and a handful of multinational water companies, abetted by World Bank monetary policies and United Nations political timidity, are bidding for the "complete commodification" of formerly public water resources. Her passionate plea for access-to-water activism is buttressed with some breakthroughs; Uruguay has enshrined public water rights in its constitution (the only nation to do so), and "water warriors" are fighting back in Bolivia, Argentina and Chile, where activists have forced private water companies to cede control of municipal water systems. There's a noble tilting-at-windmills quality to the author's call for private citizens and nongovernmental organizations to challenge corporate control of water delivery, agitate for equitable access to clean water and confront the reality that freshwater supplies are dwindling. (Feb.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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