Wade In The Water

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WATER AND ENERGY RELIEF INTERNATIONAL

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Wade In The Water

  1. 1. Wade in the Water! Community Action for World Water Day March 22, 2007 Wade in the water … Wade in the water, children. Wade in the water … God’s gonna trouble the water. “Wade in the Water” – This spiritual was one way that African-American slaves assured themselves that they would one day be free … and singing these words of hope and deliverance was one of the ways that they resisted their bondage. Were the lyrics a instruction to slaves on the run – wade in the water, so the slave hunters’ dogs would lose their scent – or were they an affirmation that God would stir the waters of justice and lead the enslaved to freedom? Either way, this song is a powerful message that if we want to change the world for the better, then we need to “wade in the water.” KAIROS encourages all its friends to wade in the water and advocate for water justice on (or around) World Water Day, March 22 2007! Why World Water Day? In 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the Earth Summit) designated March 22 as a time when nations might take action to ensure that “adequate supplies of water of good quality are maintained for the entire population of this planet, while preserving the hydrological, biological and chemical functions of ecosystems.” Yet today, access to clean water is under attack. Some sources of water are threatened by the pollution left behind by mining and energy companies. Some are potentially threatened by the bottled water industry. Whether corporations take clean water away or leave dirty water behind, the end result is the same: compromised access to clean water. Access to clean water is also imperiled by our government’s refusal to acknowledge that water is a human right. Despite an interpretation by the UN Council on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights that water is a human right, Canada has refused to sign on and has in fact voted against the appointment of a special rapporteur on water: a position dedicated to the right to water. It’s time for us to Wade in the Water together! Let us know what you are planning by March 1 so that we can include it in our national publicity and let churches across Canada know about your activities. Remember: we hope to have as many events happening at the same time as possible! Email or phone Sara Stratton: sstratton@kairoscanada.org, 1-877-403-8933 x 241. Wade in the Water! KAIROS Community Action for World Water Day www.kairoscanada.org
  2. 2. How Do I Hold A World Water Day Event in My Community? Step 1: Bring People Together Gather people in your community who might also be interested in this issue. Invite them to your first meeting. Begin with your own congregation or KAIROS group. Invite others such as: Other parishes, congregations, and religious communities  Local Development and Peace groups  Local Council of Canadians chapters  Schools, colleges, universities – through student or teacher groups  Unions – especially public sector unions  Other activist community groups  First Nations communities  At your meeting, decide exactly what you want to do at your event. See the list of options below, or decide on something of your own. Step 2: Divide (the tasks) and Conquer (the workload) Make a list of tasks and divide responsibilities among the group. Depending on your focus, these tasks may include:  Plan For The Day: Who will speak? What will they say? Make sure you have an agenda that all public participants understand and are happy with.  Logistics: someone ensure that you have the necessary permission to use the facilities and resources you have chosen, or to hold a public event or walk. This is especially important if you are considering marching to private property!  Connect With Your MP: if you plan to meet with your MP, contact their office to arrange a constituency meeting to discuss legislation regulating Canadian corporate activity overseas and why Canada should recognize the right to water.  Connect With Your Town Council: if you’re doing our municipal action, let sympathetic members of your council know you’re coming so they can meet you.  Community Outreach: designate people to approach churches, schools, community centres, etc. This is a great opportunity to reach out into the community and build new alliances!  Local Publicity: designate one or two people to produce and coordinate publicity (eg posters and announcements) for churches and community gathering places, community papers, radio and cable shows, and bulletin boards.  Media Outreach: we will do national media outreach but it’s also important for you to make connections with the media in your area so that they will cover the event. For help with media, contact KAIROS Communications Coordinator Adiat Junaid at 1-877- 403-8933 x223 or ajunaid@kairoscanada.org  Materials: a small group should that ensure you have plenty of materials on hand on the day of the event: “Counting on Water” action sheets for people to sign, banners, signs, and symbolic jugs of water to carry.  Music/Entertainment: if you’re planning to have musical accompaniment in your event, make sure someone is responsible for making those arrangements and providing any assistance needed.  Refreshments: you may want a social time at the end of your event. Make sure someone plans for this and has hot tea and coffee on hand! Wade in the Water! KAIROS Community Action for World Water Day www.kairoscanada.org
  3. 3. What Can You Do For World Water Day? KAIROS, Council of Canadians, and CUPE are all concerned about access to clean water and so are joining together to encourage you to do any one (or more!) of a number of actions. We hope to have as many events as possible take place on World Water Day (March 22) but if this day doesn’t work for you, please work around it! Let us know! Here are a few action ideas: Hold A World Water Day Service  Use or adapt the KAIROS “World Water Day” Order of Service included in this mailing  Download and use this bulletin insert to help explain the issues: www.kairoscanada.org/e/network/sunday/Bulletin_KAIROSSunday2007.pdf  Make sure you have plenty of Counting on Water action sheets for folks to sign! Download, photocopy, and distribute: www.kairoscanada.org/e/action/Counting%20on%20Water_action%20sheets_English_FINAL.pdf Walk for Water and Raise Awareness  MEET your community at a time and place of your choosing  WALK together to your final destination: town hall, MP’s office, water plant, local industries that have an impact on our water supply.  GATHER more participants along the way stopping at churches, schools, community centers and places of work to pick up more interested people.  CARRY water (clean or dirty!) on your journey.  SPREAD THE WORD about threats to water as well as the “Counting on Water” action sheet!  BE VISIBLE! Let people know why you’re walking. Wear placards in the shape of water drops, or carry signs with the names of cities that have signed the Declaration.  STOP at your destination and hold a brief media event, congratulating your town on signing the declaration or urging them to do so – after all, community control of water is the best possible “local action for a global challenge”! Visit Your MP To Talk About Water Issues  Discuss the impact of Canadian corporate activity on water, using the KAIROS case studies as a reference point. Ask your MP where s/he stands on the issue of binding legislation for corporate accountability. The case studies are available at http://www.kairoscanada.org/e/action/waterResource.asp or in the “WaterWorks” action booklet.  Find out your MP’s position (and his/her party’s) water as a human right. If they’re for it, ask how you can work together to change Canada’s policy. If they’re against it, find out why and work to change their minds.  What if there’s an election? Sponsor an all-candidates debate on water issues! Wade in the Water! KAIROS Community Action for World Water Day www.kairoscanada.org
  4. 4. Take Local Action!  One of the actions in the ecumenical campaign is to get municipalities to sign onto the “Water Declaration” (created by Development and Peace), which asserts that water is a public good and a common trust. You can make this a focal point of your activities on March 22.  Find out if your Town, City, Municipal or Regional Council has already signed the Water Declaration. More than 100 have. If it hasn’t, why not try and convince it that it should? Visit the KAIROS website to download a full kit of materials to help, including a draft declaration and draft presentation to council. Have these materials ready for your first planning meeting! http://www.kairoscanada.org/e/action/municipal/index.asp  If your municipality has signed, go to the next step. Ask to meet with the Mayor, Council, and/or key bureaucrats. Find out if your community has a policy on the use of bottled water in municipal meetings and events. How much money is spent on bottled water? What’s wrong with the tap? Film Viewings There are many good films (both dramatic and documentary) about water. Remember that movies borrowed from a library or video store can be used for a small informal study group but not for major public events, where viewing rights must be purchased. Here are a few suggestions:  The Milagro Beanfield War. Director: Robert Redford, 1988. A dispute over land in arid New Mexico comes to a head when water rights become involved. You can rent this one at most video stores.  Thirst. Directors: Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman, 2002. In this beautiful and engaging film, people spill blood over water in Bolivia, figure out ingenious ways to conserve it in India, and try to protect it from profiteers in the United States. All over the world, communities need help in securing safe drinking water. The question of who the providers will be – private firms seeking a profit or public utilities focused on the common good – is becoming one of the big global battles of the 21st century. Available for rent from the United Church of Canada’s AVEL outlets or for purchase from http://www.thirstthemovie.org/.  Water Wars: Struggle in the Holy Land, Director: Iain Taylor, 1997. Runs 26 minutes. Could the war of the next century be over water rather than oil or politics? Demand for this most basic of resources is outstripping supply in some parts of the world and it is in these areas that the seeds of future wars have already been sown. Struggle in the Holy Land focuses on the apparent water inequalities between Palestinians and Israeli settlers in the West Bank and Gaza. Available for purchase from 1-888-591-FILM or http://www.arabfilm.com/item/241/ Wade in the Water! KAIROS Community Action for World Water Day www.kairoscanada.org
  5. 5. Book Club on Water, Inc by Varda Burstyn This fictional tale of bulk water exports is by a Canadian author. A book club is easy event to hold in your home, church, or community center. Here are a few questions to get the discussion rolling. Make sure you wind up the event by having everyone sign the “Counting on Water” action sheet!  Where most crime novels or thrillers make politics the back-story, Burstyn has made it the front story in Water, Inc. What do you consider to be the real crimes that are the heart and the bones of the book?  What most defines the view that Greele and the other consortium members have of the environment? How does this differ from Serge's view? From Malcolm's view? From the view of Claire and the Eau No Committee?  Burstyn highlights the particular circumstances of Quebec within the North American context. What did you know about these issues before reading Water, Inc? What other places in North America or the world present these same set of opportunities for natural resource exploitation and dangers to the environment?  What experiences have you had or that have raised some concerns about water for you?  Do you think that private corporations should be able to turn water into a commodity available only to those who can pay for it? Do you think water is similar in this respect, or different from other natural resources? Book launches! Work with your local library or bookstore to obtain and launch Thirst, the book about the movie that was the focus of many WWD events in 2006. More information available at http://www.thirstthemovie.org/. KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives 129 St. Clair Ave. West Toronto, ON, M4V 1N5 Tel: 416-463-5312/1-877-403-8933 Fax: 416-46305569 www.kairoscanada.org Wade in the Water! KAIROS Community Action for World Water Day www.kairoscanada.org

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