The Water Ethics Network facilitates sharing of experience, ideas, and information about events and activities relating to water ethics. The aim is to bring an awareness of water ethics into the everyday discourse of water policies and management decisions, so that choices about water use and water ecosystem management are consciously informed by values.
Water Ethics Newsletter
   January 2014

Detox Your Clothes!

The Greenpeace Detox Catwalk is an interactive online platform to hold major clothing companies accountable to clean up their toxic habits.  Companies are asked to sign the Detox Fashion Manifesto and commit to toxic-free clothing that will protect the water supply from harmful chemicals. Check out the Detox fashion music-video and click for more about the campaign.  Will consumers be willing to pay a bit more for clothes without chemicals?  The answer, according to this article from EthicalCorp, is "maybe."

Ethical Mining?

The Eagle Mine, near the southern shore of Lake Superior in the state of Michigan, will be a test of "citizen water quality testing" in a deal announced between Rio Tinto and a local environmental group, according to a report by Circle of Blue.  The testing program does not end the controversy about the mine, which is located on lands sacred to the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.   The local legacy of environmental destruction from mining is not reassuring, but could corporate water ethics really be changing?  Stay tuned! Guyana, plans to build a massive hydroelectric dam would lead to the destruction of
the Akawaio Indigenous Peoples and vast tracts of rainforest, according to this report commissioned by Survival International.  For background, see this article from Think to Sustain.

Ecocide and Its Discontents
The European Citizens' Initiative “End Ecocide in Europe” aims at making severe environmental destruction a crime.  Details are given in a draft directive, and in this 3-min. YouTube video.  For the intellectual grounding of the End-Ecocide movement, see this report from the Human Rights Consortium at the University of London.
Human Right to Water
"The Third Committee" (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) of the UN General Assembly has approved a draft resolution, sponsored by Germany and Spain, clarifying the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation. See this report from IISD News, and click here for the full text of the resolution.

Water Security and Peace
Held in the Peace Palace in The Hague on 14-15 November 2013, this conference helped mark the 100th anniversary of the Palace, and the inaugural activity of the Water Diplomacy Consortium.  Click for more.  


Guide to Public Participation under the Protocol on Water and Health from UNECE.

The Equitable Access Score-card: Supporting policy processes to achieve the human right to water and sanitation (from UNECE and WHO) Nov. 2013.

Drilling the Hills to Devastation reports on small hydro-electric development in Himachel Pradesh (from India Water Portal).

The Story Behind the Success: "Ten Case Studies Identifying What Led to Uptake of Research for Development,' is a new report from IWMI. 

Creating a Sustainable Food Future: Interim Findings' from WRI, UNDP,  UNEP and the World Bank, recommends reducing waste and demand for animal products, as well as following other "climate-smart” guidelines

Wire's Water is an exciting new water journal analyzing the socio-cultural side of water. This first issue is open access.

Reintegrating Urban Ecology is the featured topic of the newsletter.  See especially the article on "biophillic cities" and a report on the Santa Fe River in New Mexico.

The Yamuna Manifesto is an outcome of the Yamuna-Elbe seminar held at the Max Mueller Bhawan, New Delhi in December 2010, which brought together scientists, activists, artists, policy makers and citizens to exchange thoughts on the beleaguered river Yamuna. 

Global Risks 2014 from the World Economic Forum names water as one of the top three global risks.  [But we knew that...!] 

A primer on mercury and water, from the BBC, reminds us that these two elements are best kept apart.

The Role of Natural Resources in Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration: [1.1MB] "Addressing Risks and Seizing Opportunities" (from UNDP and UNEP) illustrates how proper management of water can contribute to reintegration in conflict regions.

Catalyzing water for sustainable development and growth: "Framing water within the post 2015 development agenda", by UN Office for Sustainable Development, UNU-INWEH, and Stockholm Environment Institute.

Memorandum on European Water Policy by Riccardo Petrella, (in French) reviews the logic of current policies and suggests the alternative of "Water for justice and wisdom", from Institut Européen de Recherche sur la Politique de l’Eau (IERPE).

Towards the wise use of urban and peri-urban wetlands, a Briefing Note from Ramsar.

Public participation and water resources management: Where do we stand in international law?  Report of a UNECE conference plus presentations.

Can Bhutan achieve hydropowered happiness?  Bhutan is investing in hydropower for export to India. [From the DotEarth blog of the New York Times]

Beyond Fiji and Perrier, With a Water Sommelier.  A New York Times article about Michael Mascha, founder of

The Emerging Alliance of Religion and Ecology, a lecture by Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, Yale University.

Scaling Up Agroecology: Toward the Realization of the Right to Food, a report by S. Varghese and K. Hansen-Kuhn, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP)
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The Water Ethics Newsletter is an initiative of the Water-Culture Institute and is made possible through a generous grant from Kalliopeia Foundation
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Irrigation & Water Forum at the University of East Anglia, 21 Feb. 2014 in London, is titled, "The daunting challenge of canal irrigation reform for water productivity and food security." The meeting will feature retired World Bank engineer, Hervé Plusquellec.  Click for details.

Sustainability in the Water-Energy-Food Nexus, 19-20 May 2014 in Bonn, is organized by GWSP.  Deadline for abstracts is 31 January.

World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress, Mérida, Mexico, 21-25 September, 2014 will be an interactive discussion about the future of the world's small-scale fisheries.  Submit abstracts by March 15.


Featured Opera

Purchase of Manhattan  "sings-to-life" the drama of New York’s hidden beginning. Was the island’s price tag really $24 worth of beads?  By keenly re-staging New York’s founding from a Lenape Indian perspective, the opera blazes uncharted territory.  The full video is not yet available but click for the audio, or read this review of the performance.  [Thanks to Gordon Bronitsky for this info]


Climate Crimes argues that climate-friendly energy development is masking an assault on Nature.  (Produced by Ulrich Eichelmann, 54 min.)

Video interview (10 min.) with photographer Ed Burtynsky about water and the Ontario Water Keepers, or view some of his water images.
[Thanks to Jeremy Schmidt for this info]

Featured Organization

European Water Stewardship -  EWS focuses on water sustainability and resource efficiency at river basin achieve compliance with regulatory measures developed by the EU set out in the Water Framework Directive and the Blueprint 2012.

Featured Initiative

ValuesQuest is an initiative by the Club of Rome and the Alliance for Religion and Conservation (ARC) to identify those values that would be needed for ensuring a safe, just and sustainable world for the future, drawing together contributions from (and discussions among) the worlds of the creative arts, psychotherapy and spirituality as well as politics and social theory.  Click for a 7 min video about the role of values, or read the background paper, "The search for values that will make a world of difference."


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Last Updated January 2014

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