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Entries in Blue Communities (2)


Inside the Say No to Nestlé  Campaign

I work as the Campaign Director for the Wellington Water Watchers. Paul Baines, (CSJ Blue Community Coordinator) invited me to write for this blog to update you on our campaign to Say No To Nestlé’.
The Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto recently made generous financial donations to WWW to support this campaign. WWW is launching the next phase of its campaign to Say No To Nestlé. I will write in this blog once a month to keep you up to date on and invite you to join with our campaign.

Say No To Nestlé is an ongoing campaign to stop Nestlé’s water taking in Wellington County. Nestlé currently has permits which allow it to extract up to 4.7 million litres of water per day in Aberfoyle (where it also operates a bottling plant) and in Hillsburgh. Guelph, which is located nearby, is the largest city in Canada that relies 100% on groundwater for its drinking water.

Nestlé is seeking permission for a third well – Middlebrook – in Elora.

View this 8 minute animation on Nestlé’s water taking in Wellington County and our campaign to Say No To Nestlé’.

Wellington Water Watchers is also campaigning for the Ontario government to end the practice of issuing permits to take water for bottling in communities across Ontario. Currently the Ontario government permits the extraction of more than 4.5 billion litres of water each year by commercial bottling by multiple corporations in Ontario.

WWW expects that any day Nestlé will submit an application to renew their permit for water taking in Aberfoyle and Hillsburgh.

In 2016 the Ontario government of Kathleen Wynne imposed a moratorium on permits to take water for bottling – in response to the campaigning of WWW and many others.

Doug Ford’s government lifted the moratorium on existing applications (although it maintained the moratorium on applications for new wells – like the proposed Middlebrook well in Elora).

When Nestlé submits its application there will be a 90-day consultation period – which is conducted completely online – through the Environmental Bill of Rights process. This online consultation excludes concerned people from direct contact with decision-makers. It is designed to separate politicians from people who are concerned about the environmental consequences, commodification of water, plastic waste, and disregard of Six Nations treaty rights of bottling Ontario’s water. In addition, the criteria set by the government for evaluating permits to take water does not assess the cumulative impact of water taking on underground aquifers.

For all of these reasons Wellington Water Watchers opposes Nestlé’s water taking for bottling.

WWW demands that Doug Ford’s government impose a full Environmental Assessment on the policy of issuing permits to take water so that there can be a full public discussion of water bottling by Nestlé and other commercial water bottling operations in Ontario.

You can tell Premier Doug Ford now you support a full Environmental Assessment by clicking here.


PS - If you would like to sign up for the newsletter of the Wellington Water Watchers you can do that here.


Reflection Day with the Catholic Women's League in  Windsor

Linda Parent (CSJ) was invited to give a one-day reflection day with 52 CWL members in Windsor. She chose the theme water because the season of Lent offers fitting opportunities to reflect and meditate on the significance of water, especially during Holy Thursday celebrations as Christians re-enact the washing of the feet that took place in the upper room. There was water, a basin and a towel. It was Jesus the Christ that wore an apron and demonstrated by his action how we too must wash and dry each other’s feet. Think of how refreshing it was to have their feet washed in order to continue the journey of life!

Linda also gave a session on the Samaritan Woman at the Well. Again, the theme of water is used to symbolize transformation in a personal encounter between Jesus and the woman. This water is spoken of as Living Water. Jesus offered Living Water that provided the Samaritan Woman with a life altering experience! An experience that changed her forever. She runs to tell the townsfolk of her God-encounter and wonders… can this be the Messiah?

The third session involved a specific call to action and addressed U.N. Sustainable Developmental Goal #6 -- which is Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

CWL members learned about the global movement of forming Blue Communities -- and specifically this Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph Blue Community. They learned about the mounting pressures exerted upon water resources and millions of people lacking clean and safe drinking water. We looked at 3 significant beliefs that require global attention: Water is A Human Right, Water is A Sacred Gift, and Water as a Shared Commons.

Many suggestions were highlighted for reducing consumption of water, studying, visiting and cleaning up nearby watersheds, becoming more aware of and taking actions with the issue of bottled water, plastics and the subsequent environmental/ecological adverse effects placed upon Mother Earth.

The reflection day was a growth filling experience with an integrative process of experiencing sacred water from a spiritual/contemplative place to a place of advocacy where we desire to express compassion and care for millions and millions of people denied adequate and safe drinking water. To this end, CWL members continue to be active in matters of justice by sharing their time and efforts to make a difference in the world.

by Linda Parent, CSJ


Copyright 2013. Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada.