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Blue Gold

By Cathryn Cootey
My thesis is that the abuse of water can destroy the sustainability of an entire ecosystem,
and through out history we know that civilizations have worshiped water because of its nutrients
but, over time, man kind has floundered in an effective way to share the worlds hottest
commodity.
Blue Gold is an eye opening documentary that enlightened me on issues I had never been
fully aware of before, because water has always been so easy for me to receive. I enoy a hot
shower in the morning, a cold cup of water with breakfast, and I continue using water all day, the
second I need it. I had never understood why water was so easy for me to use but, so hard for
underdeveloped countries to receive, until I watched this documentary. !esertification is a
process that dries out the soil so the permeability of the soil is soon gone, and that makes the rain
water run off back to the ocean, and this is only one issue for why we are not replenishing our
water source. "nother issue is, how the #orld Bank distributes power, it was created after #orld
#ar $wo, to bring financial stability, and development to the world, but what happened is it
become greedy and, I could not believe that the world is run by only four countries that have
power of the money. In an effort to stop the privatization of water, countries realized that the
most secure way to keep water as a commodity is if they create it themselves by de%salinization,
which I think is ust another problem to solve an older problem. $he environment is depleting
worse every decade, because we have thousands of dams, and every day we pump thirty billion
tons of water. #e are not renewing the water &uick enough, because the population is too large
and demanding for the water cycle to keep up with us. '" river is the life blood of an ecosystem
ust like the veins and arteries bring blood to every part of our organism, when we have choked
arteries that is called a heart attack, a damn is the choking of the artery of the planet.(
)
!esertification is a slow process, but it is occurring all over the world because, people
are cutting down forests in search of water. *nfortunately, they cut down so much of the forrests
that there no longer are tree roots to store the water, therefore it runs out, and the community has
to relocate to start the process over again. $hose who have the ability to pay for water will go,
but those who cannot pay will go with out, and the world is running out of water. +ave you ever
had the e,perience of being thirsty- +ow about going with out water for a week- $he e,perience
of thirst, and dehydration creates thick saliva, a lump in ones throat, the tongue swells into the
aw, breathing becomes difficult and the skin shrinks all over your eyelids, and body. #ell, the
earth goes through thirst, and dehydration in a similar way, the soil dries up, and becomes
impermeable to the water from rain, and rivers, and eventually the plants, and organisms that
once lived there, will shrivel up, and die. !espite the renewable water cycle, where rain makes
the soil able to grow plant life, and then it flows from rivers down to the ocean, and then
evaporates back into a cloud. the water is actually not renewing fast enough for how much we
are consuming. /armers have to obey certain water laws, or else they lose their water license, but
it re&uires them to pump a lot for irrigation, where some of it percolates back into the ground,
which is called a return flow. $he problem is that they are pumping fifteen times more water than
they are putting back into the ground, which is also contributing to desertification. /armers have
even added chemicals into the soil to produce better &uality products, but the harsh chemicals are
drying out the soil, and the fossil fuels from factories are depleting the ozone layer, which is not
a renewable source. $here seems to be no ethic when it comes to humans relationship with land,
animals and plants which grow on it because, it is a piece of property that could make a lot of
1 Vandana Shiva, Author of Water Wars, Blue Gold, time 7 minutes and 5 seconds
profit. #e are a community as a whole, even though humans feel the need to compete, we need
to co%operate with nature.
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$he land ethic should include every living organism from soil, plants,
water and animals, we are apart of the land, therefore we need to consider the conse&uences for
our actions. 1" land ethic of course cannot prevent the alteration, management, and use of these
2resources2, but it does affirm their right to continued e,istence, and, at least in spots, their
continued e,istence in a natural state.1
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I think that people in a position of power need to
remember that we are ust members in a vast community, and hopefully they know that trying to
be a con&ueror over everything is an impossible task, and has never worked out for everyone
who has tried through out history. 4ur political leaders are who run the world, but I wish we had
people in charge who could bring the human race together as a community.
$he #orld $rade 4rganization is ran by what is called 1$he 5uad1, which is made up of
the *nited 6tates, Canada, 7apan and the 8uropean *nion, and they finalize all the decisions, and
laws. "t one of their meetings, local farmers collected in protest to their new laws, and one man,
called 9ee :yun +ae, stood up on the fence, and stabbed himself in the chest, and this became a
very important symbol for the farmers because, they wanted to let people know that the laws the
$rade 4rganization were creating were actually killing people.
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<eople need to know that the
three maor companies the #orld Bank hooked up with want you to privatize your countries
water over to them if you receive financial help out of debt, and in several countries their water
was privatized to companies such as. 6uez, =eolia, and >#8?$hames, but that created
controversy for the companies, so they decided to change names and create a new add campaign
to make the world forget about their past business name. Companies will never be concerned
about the consumers because they have to answer to their stock holders, it takes two players to
2 Aldo Leopold, A Land Ethic, Page 203
3 Aldo Leopold, A Land Ethic, Page 204
4 Blue Gold, The Politics, Maude Barlow
make the corruption happen because the corporations are greedy they are there to make a profit,
they are not a social service agency. <rivatization of water has happened in /rance, "rgentina,
<uerto >ico and 1<rivatization of water is also an issue here in the *6.1
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<olitics are dirty, 6uez
paid the mayor of "tlanta, Bill Campbell, si, thousand and nine hundred dollars for his ad
campaign, and that is not the first time they have tried to buy people off for water. $he president
of Me,ico, =icente /o,, actually used to be the general manager for Coca Cola in 9atin "merica,
so Coca Cola ust happened to receive some of the largest water concessions in Me,ico, people
were saying that Coca Cola owned Me,ico. I can not believe that our world is run by people on
such selfish power hunts, people say we can only change by encouraging water conservation, but
how can that affect the men actually in charge- It does not seem like educating us children in
school on water conservation, will change the problems in the world, so we need to influence the
men in power.
Countries decided they wanted to create water for themselves by de%salinization. $o build
de%salinization plants re&uires we burn more fossil fuels, but that contributes to global warming,
which in turn contributes to the climate change problem in general. 1$he unholy alliance
between development enthusiasts in the 6outh, and growth fatalists in the Aorth, however, works
not only against the environment but also against greater ustice in the world. /or in most
countries, while development has benefited rather small minorities, it has doe so at the e,pense
os large parts of the population. !uring the development era, growth was e,pected to abolish
poverty. Instead, it led to social polarization. In many cases, communities which guaranteed
sustenance have been torn apart in the attempt to build a modern economy.1
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#e already have an
energy shortage, so countries are suggesting that we use nuclear power, but we have no current
5 #enonah +auter, !irector of /ood and #ater #atch, Blue Gold
6 Global Ecology and the Shadow of Development, By #olfgang 6acks, page B
plan to deal with nuclear waste. #ater is the hottest commodity in the market, and big
corporations do not want to prevent pollution, they would rather pay to clean up after it occurs. I
ust do not think that is very wise, because once something has been polluted and depleted, it
usually is ruined and can not be cleaned up. 1$he only way we can preserve and nurture other
and more precious freedoms is by relin&uishing the freedom to breed, and that very soon.
2/reedom is the recognition of necessityC and it is the role of education to reveal to all the
necessity of abandoning the freedom to breed. 4nly so, can we put an end to this aspect of the
tragedy of the commons.1D$ragedy of the Commons, page EF
$he abuse of water can destroy the sustainability of an entire ecosystem, but mankind has
floundered on how to share the worlds most necessary commodity. $he governments of each
country have tried to con&uer nature, by creating water dams, the #orld Bank, the #orld $rade
4rganization, and countless other organizations to control who gets the power, and the water.
1$he environmental ustice framework attempts to uncover the underlying assumptions that may
contribute to and produce une&ual protections of 1who gets what, why and how much.1 General
characteristics of the framework include the following. "ll individuals have a right to be
protected from environmental degradation.1
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I really like what >obert Bullard had to say, all
individuals have a right to be protected from environmental degradation, and I think that means
that we have a right to try stopping the deforestation, and corruption that our government is
inflicting on our planet. $his documentary, Blue Gold, e,plained perfectly the current crisis we
have on our hands with our water supply, we are using more than we are replenishing and to
&uote one of the co authors, 1If there is one thing that is going to slam us into reality, it2s going to
be running out of water.1
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I think that if we can raise awareness for the water problem, that we
7 8nvironmental 7ustice in the $wenty%first Century, By >obert !. Bullard, page ;
8 Maude Barlow, Blue Gold
will be able to change the outcome in the future, I wish I could talk directly with certain leaders
but for now I will be doing everything I can to conserve our precious blue gold. water.
Bibliography and #orks 6ited
)
=andana 6hiva, "uthor of #ater #ars, Blue Gold, time E minutes and @ seconds
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"ldo 9eopold, " 9and 8thic, <age 0G3
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"ldo 9eopold, " 9and 8thic, <age 0G;
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Blue Gold, $he <olitics, Maude Barlow
@
#enonah +auter, !irector of /ood and #ater #atch, Blue Gold
H
Global 8cology and the 6hadow of !evelopment, By #olfgang 6acks, page B
E
8nvironmental 7ustice in the $wenty%first Century, By >obert !. Bullard, page ;
I
Maude Barlow, Blue Gold