Blue Gold Rush

Water privatization imperils low-income communities in the United States

When most people think of families without water, they picture people in impoverished countries in Africa or Latin America. But right here in the United States, dozens of communities are struggling for access to clean, affordable water. In 2001, the city of Detroit introduced an aggressive debt collection plan that threatened to suspend water services if residents could not pay the quarterly charges. Within a year after the plan was introduced, more than 40,000 residents of Detroit had their water cut off. Today, many of these families—mostly low-income and black—are still without water, relying on the kindness of neighbors willing to share their hoses.

Predatory Patents

Biopiracy and the privatization of global resources

The primary stewards of the world’s biodiversity are the farmers, Indigenous peoples and local communities, primarily in the global South, who developed, nurtured and continue to use these resources today. Rural poor people in the global South rely on biological products (i.e., derived from plants, animals and microorganism) for an estimated 85 to 90 percent of their livelihood needs. More than 1.4 billion rural people depend on farm-saved seeds and local plant breeding as their primary seed source. More than three-quarters of the world’s population rely on traditional medicines for their primary health needs.

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Corporate Crops

Planting the seeds of health, environmental and economic hazards

By Don Fitz

As drought plagued southern Africa in summer 2002, biotech companies lost no time in exploiting hunger for profit. The United States offered to “help” by donating food from crops containing GMOs (genetically modified organisms). But African scientists knew there was a catch. They had seen demonstrations showing that Europe wanted no part of the technology. They knew that GMOs were associated with health and environmental dangers. Worst of all, they were aware that if genetically modified (GM) seed was planted in Africa, the next generation of GM plants could result in farmers owing “technology fees” to biomaster Monsanto.

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Corn Crisis

The impact of U.S. food policy on Mexican farmers

Corn is the basis of our culture, our identity, adaptability and diversity. Corn created us, and we created corn.”
Exhibition Sin maí­z, no hay paí­s, or Without corn, there is no country

Mexico City, 2003

“We are only able to subsidize Mexican corn with the lives of the people that produce it. The only way we can compete with North American prices is to give up the basic necessities.”
 Ví­ctor Suí¡rez, executive director of the National Association of Rural Producers’ Enterprises (ANEC)

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