Needed: Clean Air, Water and Food

March 12, 2004

IN a moderate environment, three things only are needed to sustain life: Air, Water and Food. We lost control of the least of these, food, long ago.

The demand for food is constant. Every four hours or so, we are hungry. The supply is easily controlled by Agriculture Giants whose government puppets, congressmen and other high-level officials control prices through subsidies. Family farms in the United States and other countries cannot compete and must sell out in desperation.

Rice and beans, when they can be had, become the daily fare of the average poor, while lobster and exotic ripe fruit are jetted back and fourth to the privileged. “The people complain that they have no bread. Let them eat cake.”

The above quote is mistakenly attributed to Marie Antoinette, but it doesn’t matter who said it, the sentiment prevails in the World Trade Organization, the Green Giants of the world, Monsanto and their ilk.

SITTING at a polished conference table on the hundredth floor, one cannot hear a starving baby whimper, cannot smell the diarrhea that comes from eating things not meant to be eaten, can not taste the muddy gruel that passes for drinking water. One sees only the bottom line, smells only French Cologne, tastes Perrier and hears sweet music.

People are routinely sent to prison for stealing water from a privatized water company. Countries no longer own this most precious resource; it is owned by whatever company can control it, fence off a river, dam a stream, pipe the water and build cement aqueducts.

No matter that your family drank freely from this river for generations beyond recall. It is forbidden now.

Thousands of homes in one Michigan town have been taken because of property liens won by private water companies – the residents could not pay their exorbitant water bills. The town is situated on Lake Erie and just below the greatest freshwater lake system in the world. Here, water flows uphill to money.

FOR every 1,000 people on earth today, there were only 30 two thousand years ago. Because of the insatiable thirst of industry and agriculture and the profligate use of our most precious resource, we have less clean water today than ever before. The demand is increasing exponentially. We are running out, and they know it. The glamour stock on Wall Street today is water.

Desalination by today’s methods? Sure, about a buck a gallon. Towing an iceburg to warmer climes to harvest it? About the same price. Cheaper to capture what’s near at hand.

When is the last time you saw a public drinking fountain, the last time a waiter brought water to your table unbidden? When asked for water, the waiter brings a bottle of commercial water, not a glassful from the tap. We seldom complain. The young take it for granted.

THE last of the essentials, air, without which we would die in about four minutes, cannot be sold in tanks or bottles, but… The government can lie to us about the safety of the air we breathe. A glaring example occurred after the bombing of the TwinTowers. The government declared it was safe to return to work in the area to keep the wheels of commerce turning and the Stock Market open, when in fact the air was saturated with powdered glass, aluminum oxide, burned pvc and aircraft fuel.

Carcinogens and toxins filled the atmosphere and the people were encouraged to return to work.

What can We the People do about all this?

Nothing. The above is but an impotent catharsis, another example of a little man blowing off steam, like a boiler tripping a safety valve.

That’s what the First Amendment in the United States is all about – we can talk about it, but like the weather, there is nothing we can do to change it.

(George H. Prosser is a longtime resident of the Southern Zone, who says his bio and epitaph should read “Dead fish go with the flow.”)

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