flintsburg, the perils of privatization of water services

posted May 31, 2018

Dangerously high levels of lead in Pittsburgh’s drinking water

It has recently emerged that a lack of corrosion control in the water system in Pittsburgh has caused dangerously high levels of lead in the city’s drinking water. According to Dr. Marc Edwards, levels recorded in Pittsburgh are even higher than the levels recorded in Flint MI in 2015. A lack of corrosion control was the physical issue in Flint, as it is in Pittsburg. However, that the level of lead was allowed to get to such levels shows an utter disregard for the wellbeing of those affected. Government and private actors tasked to serve the people and provide basic and essential services have failed.

It is not surprising to learn that the private company behind the lead crisis in Flint, is behind the current situation in Pittsburgh. Vieola is the worlds largest private supplier of water services.

Unaccountable

The cities of both Flint and Pittsburgh have taken legal action against Vieola. Charges in flint include: “professional negligence and fraud. These actions caused Flint’s lead poisoning problem to continue and worsen, and created an ongoing public nuisance”. In Pittsburgh, the Water and Sewer Authority sued Vieola in 2016 for the sum of $12.5 million. Charges against Vieola include: gross mismanagement of PWSA’s operations, abuse of it’s position of trust and confidence, and misleading and deceiving PWSA.

Despite legal proceedings, Vieola has so far been able to avoid responsibility. In Pittsburgh both the city and Vieola are trying to pass the blame onto each other. Neither party is taking responsibility for poisoning those who they should be accountable to. After an extensive arbitration process Vieola and the city authority issued a joint statement . It said that neither party “admits or concedes any allegations or claims made”

In an era of increasing water scarcity and rapid urban growth, privatization of water services and resources is a global threat. Privitization can seriously undermine the democratic control and power of the people and the structures of the state. Recent events have shown that water privitization also puts the people at risk of being held hostage by unaccountable mega-corporations who have a monopoly on our most precious resource – water.

Read more in the Intercept HERE.


intergenerational succession?

posted December 20, 2017

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‘If there’s no water, what’s the point?’ Female farmers in Arizona – a photo essay

Debbie Weingarten and Audra Mulkern, December 19th 2017, The Guardian 

Despite the fact that women have always farmed, they have been left out of our agricultural narrative. An incomplete story has real consequences: women have been left off land titles and bank documents; they have been denied federal loans and training opportunities; and until the 1982 census of agriculture, female farmers were not counted at all.

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what thanksgiving looks like at standing rock

posted November 27, 2016

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Photo cred to Deborah Kates of the NYT
Ever late to the party, The New York Times is finally giving Standing Rock some much-deserved coverage. This gorgeous and inspiring video (and its accompanying article) gives sober context to Thanksgiving celebrations all over this country last week.

Caitlyn Huss, 25, a manager of a vegan hostel in Los Angeles, was closing up late one night last month when the tent flap opened and someone dropped off a deer that had just been killed by a car.

“We knew we had to find an elder from the sacred fire to come and bless it, then find someone who could skin it for us,” she recalled. “It was crazy.”

Not incidentally, Severine and Krista spent the afternoon making saurkraut to send to Standing Rock. And foraged apples from a 150 year old tree..
The events that are transpiring in North Dakota, though horrific, are providing a context for new agrarians, Native Americans, veterans, peace activists, climate activists and people from all across the country to unify in a land occupation that is about protecting the commons. We are moved and we are hopeful.

the best infographic we’ve seen all year

posted October 31, 2016

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Geographer Robert Szucs created this color-coded map to show which rivers and tributaries feed the water basins of the United States. That big pink one in the middle? That’s the Arkansas, Missouri, and Mississippi, the basin the water protectors at Standing Rock are working so hard to keep safe.



why there is a giant media blackhole blackout on the native american oil blockade

posted October 27, 2016

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For the love of all things good! Can we talk about something other than Donald Trump already? Thanks to Global Research for publishing this informative piece:

“The first point is actually very simple: Native Americans standing up for themselves is not polarizing. In an age of institutionalized media divisiveness and hyper-partisanship, the story of Native Americans in North Dakota fighting for land and water rights just doesn’t fit the script of deep, societal divides plaguing the nation’s law and order, nor does it fit in with the left-right paradigm. People from both sides of the political spectrum pretty much agree that Native Americans have been screwed by the U.S. government and resource-snatching corporations long enough. Considering this sentiment, there’s really no exploitable controversy on this issue from the mainstream media perspective, which inherently drives topical, superficial news narratives.”

 


our land 2: moving towards an autonomous food system, NM, nov 9-15

posted October 19, 2016

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OUR LAND 2!
November 9-17th, in Albuquerque and Santa Fe New Mexico.
ALL THE INFORMATION IS HERE: www.agrariantrust.org/2016symposium
This will be the second Agrarian Trust OUR LAND symposium, and once again we’ve got speakers from around the country and around the region focusing our attention, analysis, activism and collective agency on issues relevant to your regional foodshed.
This event is presented by Agrarian Trust and has a focus on Land access, land transition and the issues underlying ownership and management of the territory required for an autonomous and sovereign food system.
The central themes of this symposium center on land-use and governance regimes of the southwest region.  We will learn about the acequias, a system of irrigation ditch commons brought by the Spanish. The history, management regimes and future prospects of this system represent a powerful curriculum for other commons-based systems. Can these ditch commons be explained to include their uplands and headwaters, or will ditch rights be lost to privatization and sold to developers?

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eeee, acequias! our land symposium, northern NM, nov. 9-17

posted October 13, 2016

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OUR LAND 2: Tracing the Acequia Commons

A Symposium about land transition, continuity, and commons.

NOVEMBER 9-17th 2016
Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico

Films. Talks. Exhibit. Acequia Walk.

  • Can our regions shift towards food sovereignty?

    Can our agrarian systems become more harmonious with their wild habitat?

    Can we maintain our traditional commons?

The complete program, speakers bios, schedule and locations are all on the website www.agrariantrust.org/2016symposium (or scroll down to see the full schedule of events)

You can learn about the work of the speakers at the event’s facebook page, where we’ve posted videos, articles, and links.

Speakers include:  Mary Wood, Ruth Breach, Rick Prelinger, Kim Stringfellow, Sylvia Rodriguez, Allyson Siwik, Tezozomoc, Eric Holt-Gimenez, Miguel Santiestevan, Devon Pina, Stanley Crawford, and Alex Pino.

Artists include: Sharon Steward, Kim Stringfellow, Emily Volger, Ildi Carlise-Cummings, Kaitlin Bryson, Nancy Dewhurst, Erin Fussell, Bill Gilbert, Andrea Gohl, Ryan Henel, Catherine Harris, Jeanette Hart-Mann, Cecilia McKinnon, Sarah Molina, Hollis Moore, Hamshya Rajkumar, Kacie Smith, Molly Zimmer, Rachel Zollinger, and more!

OUR LAND 2 has a focus on the lessons of the acequia irrigation commons, a 400 year old system that supports dryland agriculture.


on the front lines of the great fight of our times

posted September 7, 2016

The activists currently protecting the water commons, their indigenous heritage, and our planet against institutionalized corporate greed. We stand with them. See Thursday’s post for more background on the Dakota Access Pipeline and the protest again it and for ways you can help, and, at the very least, sign the petition here.