700 million people could be displaced by intense water scarcity by 2030. So what's the problem with water privatization?
Water is one of the most politicized resources.
Here's an excerpt from a UNICEF article on water scarcity:
Even in countries with adequate water resources, water scarcity is not uncommon. Although this may be due to a number of factors — collapsed infrastructure and distribution systems, contamination, conflict, or poor management of water resources — it is clear that climate change, as well as human factors, are increasingly denying children their right to safe water and sanitation.
Water scarcity limits access to safe water for drinking and for practising basic hygiene at home, in schools and in health-care facilities. When water is scarce, sewage systems can fail and the threat of contracting diseases like cholera surges. Scarce water also becomes more expensive.
Water scarcity takes a greater toll on women and children because they are often the ones responsible for collecting it. When water is further away, it requires more time to collect, which often means less time at school. Particularly for girls, a shortage of water in schools impacts student enrolment, attendance and performance. Carrying water long distances is also an enormous physical burden and can expose children to safety risks and exploitation.
Water is an important environmental justice issue. When people try to privatize a natural resource like water, access inequalities can increase. In this Action Pack, we'll go over water privatization facts, examples of how this looks in different countries, and how we can play a role.
🎯 Action step 1 of 4: READ — Let's start by looking at a few articles together.
One thing I learned in the UNICEF article is that 700 million people could be displaced by intense water scarcity by 2030. That’s twice the population of the USA - this has major implications for our safety and political landscape.
One place where water scarcity is hotly debated is Chile. Let's zoom in.
Here’s an interview with Rodrigo Mundaca, who has been fighting for water access and the rights of farmers, workers, and Chilean locals since the 1990s.
Some major shockers from the interview:
Water privatization is deeply concerning. At Soapbox, we believe one else should own our rights to live, and we must build resilient, self-sufficient communities to protect our planet together.
You'll hear a lot of pros from (generally rich) people pushing for water privatization. It's important we think critically about the pros and cons, how this affects human rights, and what this means for sustainability.
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 1 of 4: READ.
🎯 Action step 2 of 4: LISTEN — we'll watch a short video or listen to a podcast to further expand on our topic.
Fun/not-fun fact: I’m FROM India; I was born there, and I had no idea about this widespread Water Mafia.
A Water Mafia is scary, but part of practicing hope is building the courage to face what’s going on, and cultivate our courage to then take action. So let’s go — join me in this learning experience so I’m not alone.
Let’s start with four basic facts on how water is tied to geopolitical stability.
Now, watch the Water Mafia segment from National Geographic's Global Water Wars episode of their Parched series. The focus of today's module is on the first 5 mins. Some key takeaways are below.
Now that we've looked at how water issues look in two different countries, let's gear up to act.
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 2 of 4: LISTEN.
🎯 Action step 3 of 4: ACT — Now it's time to do something. Let's go!
I want to get better at tracking the actions people are taking through our Changeletters and Action Packs. So, now that we're tackling water privatization, here are your actions and here is your 10-sec form to report what you're up to.
Easy actions! Recurring donations take the work out of activism so you can focus on more ongoing things.
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 3 of 4: ACT.
Before we go any further, it's time for you to pledge your commitment. It takes less than 30 seconds to pledge and we can bother you about it in a friendly way, so we can hold each other accountable. Pledge here!
🎯 Action step 4 of 4: REFLECT — what can you commit to? What fresh perspectives can we look at?
So far, in our Water Privatization topic, we’ve read about Chile’s water privatization, watched a video on India’s Water Mafia, and taken actions including supporting journalism and the legal rights of nature.
One takeaway for me this month is how little I'm hearing Western mainstream climate activists are talking about water despite it being our literal life source.
So, for this Reflect module, I’ve compiled a lil downloadable conversation starter pack for you to talk about water. I'm challenging you to take what you’re learning in this Changeletter and bring it from your inbox to your... mouth? You get what I’m trying to say lol.
You’ll get access to the sheet for free when you fill out our action survey, which takes like 10 seconds.
One of the most common struggles I hear from you is "I don’t know what to say to people when talking about climate change". Let me tell you the answer: it’s practice. You have to start somewhere, and I’m here to make that easy!
So take this very very short action survey for water privatization and get talking points on the following three topics (plus an article for each):
That’s it! Thanks for being on this journey with us.
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 4 of 4: REFLECT.
Check out our membership community for more resources like free weekly events with social justice experts, sustainable product discounts, pre-written email templates, a social impact job board, and in-person hangouts with new friends. Thanks for taking action with Soapbox Project!
Get our free bite-sized climate action plans before you go!