Newsletter no 8 – Editorial


The sound of water
At the ancient pond
a frog plunges into
the sound of water
Frog Haiku by Matsuo Bashô, Translated by Sam Hamill

Water for life, not for death!
Rallying cry of the International Movement of Dam Affected Peoples

Illustration, Anna Loveday-Brown

For centuries, in every part of the world, water has been a pivotal force of civilisation, culture and progress. Proximity to secure water sources has guided the itineraries of nomadic peoples and other travelers, and determined where communities and nations have established their settlements. Water has inspired poetry, music, art and literature, and has shaped the diets, cuisines and health of our families and societies. Like the air we breathe, water is the very essence of life and possibly for this reason, its use and governance are fraught with conflict and vested interests. Water has been dammed, diverted, piped, bottled, transported, contaminated, poisoned and purified, and through all these, it has been responsible as much for life, as for death. This issue of the Nyéléni newsletter describes the pressures and demands on our planet’s water sources, attempts to control access through privatisation and commodification, and the intensifying struggles by extraordinary people all over the world to defend their rights to water and to protect water from elite capture. Governments cannot be allowed to give corporations and wealthy classes preferential access to and control over water. It is imperative and urgent that we join forces to protect water as commons, as the shared, collective wealth of current and future generations.

Shalmali Guttal, Focus on the Global South