When a food safety outbreak occurs, like the one that is unraveling currently in Europe, the topic of food irradiation makes headlines.
Last week I was in Berlin at the Global Water Summit 2011, a meet up for corporations that want to profit from water as it becomes scarcer. Sponsored by all the bad actors in the water industry, from Veolia to General Electric, the conference URL was www.watermeetsmoney.com. Even the Koch Brothers’ empire was represented (Koch Industries helped pollute water with its fossil fuel operations, so why not profit also from cleaning up the mess?)
My colleague, Anil Naidoo from the Council of Canadians, and I were invited to the meeting to debate the libertarian economist David Zetland and William Muhairwe, managing director of Uganda’s national water company. Both Zetland and Muhairwe are big proponents of full-cost pricing and dismissive of the government’s role in providing water.
Some may wonder why Anil and I would go there to debate, especially when the audience was comprised of people employed in the water industry. The truth is that there is no better place to really figure out what they are up to. An hour debate was a small price to pay for free entrance to the $2,500.00 event that gave us real insight into the newest plans of the global water cartel.
Over here in Europe, we are working with other organizations on a new campaign to raise awareness about so-called “responsible soy”. As consumers, we often rely on labels to help us make an informed choice by telling us what is in the product. Companies have caught on, understanding that it has become increasingly difficult to convince the savvy consumer to buy a product they do not support. Their solution? Green-wash labels.
In 2008, bottled water sales in the United States experienced a decline — one that lasted for two consecutive years. This was good news for water advocates, and bad news for the bottled water industry. Many believe this decline was due to a combination of a troubled economy and a growing consumer consciousness about bottled water’s negative environmental impacts. But, while the entire industry reported losses, one bottled water brand stood alone with increased sales: Nestlé Waters’ Pure Life.
But what allowed this brand to shine in an otherwise challenging marketplace for bottled water? Was it brilliant marketing, or does the Pure Life brand represent something more than just a bottled water product?
One year before the Alternative World Water Forum (known by its French acronym FAME) will take place in Marseille 2012, various peoples’ movements around Europe have witnessed landslide victories. Increased citizen participation has played a major role in the issues of water supply management and wastewater treatment, allowing these movements to take giant steps towards remunicipalization, or bringing the water back under public control.
This week we have an inspiring story for you from Berlin, Germany. 12 years ago, almost half (49.9 percent) of the Berlin Water Works (BWB) was privatized under Veolia and RWE. This led to price increase of 35 percent, one of the highest of any German city. Due to negotiated conditions, the Berlin Senate and the private investors decided to keep these contracts secret. As a result, a peoples’ initiative called the “Berliner Wassertisch” began challenging this and started a citizen’s referendum aimed at obtaining the publication of these contracts.
The New York Times reported this week that the city of Paris is now offering residents free sparkling water. While the program is ostensibly designed to wean Parisiennes off a popular guilty pleasure (red wine) we’re charmed that they’ve chosen the humble water fountain as the delivery method of choice for their efforts.
Antibiotic resistance has become a real challenge for modern medicine. As bacteria grow stronger, there are few options for treating very sick people. Over the past decade, medical professionals have raised awareness about the need to curb the over-prescription of antibiotics. Likewise, tireless activists have fought to decrease the use of antibiotics in industrial agriculture. But dwindling options for medical treatment aren’t the only worry associated with antibiotic resistance. Many things in nature depend on bacterial to grow. Plants need bacteria in soil to grow.
It looks like meat and milk from the offspring of cloned cows have beaten both Frankenswine and Arnold Schwartzensalmon to market—at least in the UK—to the surprise of UK consumers and authorities alike.
The cosmetics industry is a lightly-regulated, moneymaking machine. It encourages women to buy products to look better, thinner, tanner, softer, and generally more ‚attractive”. Unfortunately, these products are filled-to-the-brim with chemicals. We know some of these chemicals are harmful. That‚ bad enough, but even more frightening is that many chemicals or formulations do not have to be disclosed because they are considered ‚trade secrets.” Such is the case with the ingredient listed as ‚fragrance.”