Bottled water is a $46 billion global industry. While it may be more portable than good-old tap, there’s no proof it’s more potable. What’s behind the boom and what are its hazards? Meanwhile, as mega-companies mass market a nearly free resource, municipalities privatize their public water supplies, turning them over to multi-nationals. Is water a collective property by human right, or is it a commodity like any other?
Tony Clarke is the director and founder of the Polaris Institute, whose objective is to “fight for democratic social change in an age of corporate driven globalization,” and author of Inside the Bottle: An Expose of the Bottled Water Industry and Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water (with Maude Barlow). He was the 2005 Right Livelihood Award recipient (with Maude Barlow) for their long term activism on trade and justice issues.
Deidre Consolati is an activist, television producer, and writer about the negative consequences of privatization upon local communities. She led the Concerned Citizens of Lee Massachusetts in 2004 to a David and Goliath victory that reverberated nationally, when town representatives and workers rejected a forceful corporate bid to privatize the community’s water supply and sewer service. She is the creator of Walkabout, a popular local media project since 1989 and co-president of the Lee Land Trust. In collaboration with her mother, the author Florence Consolati, she edited See All The People, an anecdotal history of the town of Lee. Currently she and other citizens are resisting an attempt to privatize the Lee town beach.
Geoffrey Segal is the Director of Privatization and Government Reform at the Reason Foundation, a non-profit think tank advancing free minds and free markets, as well as the editor of Reason’s Privatization Watch. He has worked closely with legislators in over twenty states to improve government performance, efficiency, and accountability. In addition he has testified to the United States Senate and numerous state legislatures and agencies, written dozens of articles for leading publications, and been a frequent television and radio guest on such outlets as Fox News Channel and CNBC. He is a highly experienced analyst with a focus on public-private partnerships.
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This relevant documentary was aired on RIPBS as part of Action Speaks’ programming during the Fall 2005 recording season.