Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tiny Township Beats Toxic Dumpsite

Funny, just the other day I was talking with my wife's uncle about this planned dumpsite, Site 41, up in Simcoe County that would have sat on one of the purest aquifers on the planet. I'd also recently been doing some reading on the Oglala Aquifer - an underground sea in the American mid-west that saved the dustbowl and allowed the introduction of irrigation farming. Industrial and agricultural use of that Aquifer is draining it in some areas, polluting it in others. Out west, in Alberta, the development of the tar sands is rapidly depleting and polluting aquifers as millions of litres of water are sucked up and used, in the form of steam to separate oil and sand. As the world's supply of fresh water declines and corporate interests try to sell us stuff that was once free for the taking, water has become a key battleground between the fundamental right of humans to the basic necessities vs corporate privilege to make a profit of every single thing on the planet.
That's why it's important and exciting that a coalition of environmentalists, farmers, indigenous people and locals have defeated Site 41 at a council vote yesterday. In a small way, this victory is an important, momentum-building signpost as, in a much larger way, were the battles over the privatization of water in Bolivia. That it happened in a place called Tiny and yet is reverberating across the country is nicely symbolic. This truly is a mouse that roared. As Maude Barlow noted in the Globe & Mail article:

“Because this was such an intense fight being watched all over the country, I think you're going to see the same debate start happening everywhere. The shift is going to be from councillors searching for the least contentious place to put a dump to saying how can we have no more dump sites? How can we protect the water?”

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