Monday, May 23, 2005

What will the future be like for our children?

In my life, I have seen the privatization of two public utilities. The promise was that with competition, prices would decrease, efficiency would increase, and there would be savings for the public coffers.

The result has been that prices have increased dramatically, efficiency has decreased, customer service has all but disappeared, and the public has not saved a dime.

Now I hear talk about privatizing water.


We're talking about the water that flows through the river, in streams, that collects in our lakes and wetlands. The very rain that falls from the sky. I have heard about pipelines that ship our fresh water to California.

It is very frustrating that people who do not understand the delicacy of an ecosystem can make judgements that will profoundly affect the way life grows, and the way we drink that biological imperative: water.

I buy bottled water now and then. I pay more for it than I do for juice or pop. I look at the label. Coke. Pepsi. I'm buying water from COKE!?

My friends tell me they don't drink city tap water, or if they do, they filter it. As the people who live in this land, the water is our common responsibility. We should neither allow a corporation to buy this from us (only to turn around and sell it back to us at greatly inflated rates), nor should we relax our standards to such point that we do not even feel comfortable drinking what comes out of our own taps.

What will the future be like for our children?

Will we leave them with enough freedom that they will have a say in the world? Or will we sell off all of the gifts of Mother Nature to corporations. Entities with whom we have no sway.

“Vote with your dollar,” I've been told.

Well if that's the new democracy, guess what? Someone who has more money than you gets more votes than you. Does this even make sense?

We live in paradise here in the northern latitudes of North America, and perhaps we have become complacent in our wealth. Perhaps we assume that these things are being taken care of, that someone will make sure it turns out all right...that SOMEONE will protect us from our lassitude.

But that someone doesn't really exist. I exist, and you exist, and that is all. If we don't do or say anything, there is no more noble soul who will step in.

We are those noble souls.

As preposterous as it may sound:

It's up to us.

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