|Happy Birthday Dear Network! This 22nd issue of the Newsletter marks the start of the Water Ethics Network's 3rd year. The Newsletter is just one form of the Network's engagement in water ethics. Do you know what else we do? Click here to find out!
Rethinking Ethical Treatment of Animals...and Rivers
Costa Rica has announced plans to close its zoos because of "a change of environmental conscience among Costa Ricans." The US government is retiring most of the chimpanzees it has used for medical experiments, thanks largely to the efforts of conservationist Jane Goodall (Click for New York Times article). Meanwhile a new documentary, Blackfish (click for the trailer) highlights the plight of Orca whales held in the mega-aquarium, Sea World in San Diego, where they are used for entertainment (click for Youtube video of "Shamu Rocks"). Ethics really can and do change!
There is also some rethinking about captive rivers. The documentary DamNation (click for 3 min. trailer) reports on the growing popularity of dam removal. The movie is scheduled for release in 2014. See the website here.
The Water-Health-Food Nexus
Unclean water and poor access to sanitation could be major factors behind malnutrition, according to new research reported by Bloomberg News. Repeated exposure to pathogens can diminish the effectiveness of the intestines, making it difficult for children to take in nutrients even when they are fed an adequate diet. [from Circle of Blue]
Constitutional Right to Water in Tunisia
Tunisia's new draft constitution is getting high marks for recognizing the human right to water as well as the human right to a healthy environment. See this article from the Daily Kos blog, and this analysis by Jörg Fedtke at Tulane University Law School). If these provisions remain intact in the final version, Tunisia will join a small group of countries that give constitutional protection for access to clean water and a healthy environment.
Big Data and Water Ethics
IBM announced the launch of "Digital Delta", an innovative program using Big Data
to transform flood control and the management of the entire Dutch water system (see article from the
Wall Street Journal. The reason that digital modeling can be so useful, however, is that the Dutch have already thought about the ethical "frame" for their water management, which is no longer conquest of nature but peaceful co-existence by providing enough room for the rivers that the inevitable flood waters will have low-impact places to go.
"Regrarianism" is an ecological approach to farming that uses plants to transfer carbon from the air into the soil, mitigating climate change while storing water for plant growth. What's not to like? Read an interview with Darren Doherty, who is trying to popularize the concept. In India some similar ideas are being promoted by Navdanya, the organization founded by Vendana Shiva. She calls the approach "non-violent farming" with local rice varieties cultivated organically, enhancing both biodiversity and farmers' livelihoods
Ethical Water Exchange
Valérie Issumo, CEO of Prana Sustainable Water company, spoke recently at TEDx-Lausanne 2013 (click to hear the talk) about creating new markets for treated wastewater and using the revenue to finance the treatment plants. This is what she calls an "ethical water exchange" described in this 1-page overview.
Eco-friendly water infrastructure in Seattle
Seattle, Washington, home of Microsoft and Boeing, is also home to some innovative water infrastructure: A composting toilet in a large commercial office building, and some clever ways to capture urban storm water (which there is a lot of in Seattle, as it rains a lot). Take an audio photo tour of Seattle’s water solutions water with water author, Cynthia Barnett, reporting for Orion Magazine.
Interactive website explains UN Watercourses Convention
The UN Watercourses Convention User’s Guide, published in 2012, has been revamped as a website to help practitioners make better use of its potential.
Village-level Water and Sanitation Promoters in India
A new program in Tamil Nadu trains village women to teach WASH to village children, through the schools. More than teachers, the women become a knowledge resource if villagers have any questions related to sanitation including how to construct a toilet or get individual water pipe connections for their homes.
Big Jump for Living Rivers. On July 14 at 3:00pm Paris time, between 30 to 50,000 Europeans jumped into their rivers to raise awareness and have fun before heading for their summer holidays. Organized by European Rivers Network, the event has been held every July since 2005, and is both a reason for, and an expression of, Europe's strong river protection policies. [Thanks to Rafael Ziegler for this info.]
The Water Integrity Forum was held at UNESCO-IHE in Delft, Netherlands June 5-7, co-organized with the Water Integrity Network and the Water Governance Centre. Click for a
list of presentations to download, and see especially the set of tools for assessing water integrity, "offering a quick and relatively inexpensive way of gaining a picture of the level of integrity in a country’s water sector."
Hydrology and Society. The International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS) has adopted "Change in hydrology and society" as its research theme for the coming decade. This certainly bodes well for incorporating ethics into hydrological studies! [Thanks to Dieter Gerten for this news.]
Water in the Post-2015 Development Agenda (1.4MB) A one-page summary of discussions at a July 3 meeting in Geneva, about the prospects for a stand-alone Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on water.
Ethics of flood management. An interview with Zoran Vojinovic in Asian Development Bank's "Water For All News" about a new approach for managing flood risks in SE Asia.
Call for a Community Rights Movement. Thomas Linzey, founder of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) calls for local communities to set their own environmental policies to protect land and water from the oil and gas industry. [published July 1, 2013 by www.occupy.com]
Legal Rights of Waterways” a webinar recorded June 24 by the POLIS project on water governance. The webinar features Linda Sheehan (Earth Law Center) and Vernon Tava (High Court of New Zealand) talking about the Whanganui River in New Zealand and the application of "rights of nature" to rivers everywhere.
The Delaware and the Rights of Rivers blogpost by Liz Marshall (Five Smooth Stones Project) asks some guided questions about whether the Delaware River has rights to its own health. [Thanks to Cynthia Loebig for this link.]
Eradicating Ecocide is the TEDx talk by Polly Higgins where she outlines her initiative to make "ecocide" an internationally recognized crime against peace. You can visit her website here and download the introductory chapter of her new book, "Earth is Our Business".
Global Water Governance: Challenges and Future Scope is a collection of invited papers published in Ecology and Society, a peer-reviewed open access journal. The five papers can be downloaded from this link:
"Ethics and Water Governance" by D. Groenfeldt and J. Schmidt.
"Policymakers’ Reflections on Water Governance Issues" by J. Gupta, A. Akhmouch, W. Cosgrove, Z. Hurwitz, J. Maestu, and O. Ünver
"Comparing Global Coordination Mechanisms on Energy, Environment, and Water" by S. Schubert and J. Gupta
"Missing Links in Global Water Governance: a Processes-Oriented Analysis" by C. Pahl-Wostl, K. Conca, A. Kramer, J. Maestu, and F. Schmidt
"UN–Water and its Role in Global Water Governance" by T. Baumgartner and C. Pahl-Wostl
Closing the Floodgates: How the coal industry is poisoning our water and how we can stop it. A new report from Waterkeeper Alliance and other US environmental groups. "For too long, the coal industry has polluted our precious waters with impunity [while] state regulators and the EPA have mostly looked the other way."
Participatory groundwater monitoring to enable cooperative ethics, a Powerpoint presentation by Cherukuri RamBabu (India) to the UNECE workshop on adaptation to climate change in transboundary basins, 25-26 June 2013 in Geneva.
Where the Waters Divide: Neoliberalism, White Privilege and Environmental Racism in Canada. by Michale Mascarenhas. See the review by Margot Francis and listen to an interview with the author here. [Thanks to Jeremey Schmidt for this info.]
The Blue Nile dam controversy in the eyes of international law, by Zeray Yihdego, University of Aberdeen, July 2013, Global Water Forum
Governance of transboundary aquifers: New challenges and new opportunities, by David Brooks, International Institute for Sustainable Development, June 2013, Global Water Forum.
The ethics of being a good water neighbor: How ‘soft’ power shapes transboundary water interaction, by J. Warner, M. Zeitoun, and N. Miramuchi, June 2013, Global Water Forum.
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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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