The Blue Covenant
3 September, 2008
Why you should listen
Maude Barlow is a Canadian activist and author who travels the world telling a simple and compelling truth: we are running out of water. And with that, comes devastating consequences. In this compelling Sydney Ideas lecture, Barlow, the author of Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right of Water(Black Inc), explains the phenomena of “hot stains”, where large areas of the earth’s surface are running out of clean, drinkable water and describes this as “the most important ecological and human threat of our time.” Barlow is informed and passionate and gives a frank assessment of the state of water in Australia. “You have a right to be really angry with your governments,” she says. “What we’re looking at here are years and years of mismanagement, collusion with corporate and special interest organisations and industries, ignoring scientific, environmental warnings that were crystal clear at the time when some of these crises could have averted much more easily.” Barlow discusses the urgent need for water equity – “to deny the right to water is to deny the right to life,” she says – as well as the looming battle for water worldwide. “We are going to see water as a national security issue for nation states that are running out, particularly superpowers,” she says. Maude Barlow has been described as the “Al Gore” of water and is the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians - Canada’s largest public advocacy organisation - and the founder of the Blue Planet Project, which works internationally for the right for water. Barlow has six honorary doctorates and is the author of 16 books including the best-selling Blue Gold: The Battle Against Corporate Theft of the World’s Water (2002). She was awarded the 2005/2006 Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship Award and the 2005 Right Livelihood Award, known as the “Alternative Noble”, for her global water justice work.
“I feel a kind of panic in my stomach around the crisis that I feel coming here” – Maude Barlow at Sydney Ideas