Readers' Forum

Tell us what you think of the ideas you find in YES! magazine
Hope for Our Water
It is with relief that I read the water issue (YES! Winter 2004). Having recently read Marc Reisner's Cadillac Desert, all about the damming of the American West over the past 100-plus years, I didn't think there was much hope left for water sanity in that part of the country, or anywhere, for that matter. The flagrant politics, power, greed and pork-barrel corruption in relation to water is mind boggling.

But the Mono Lake article, Grossman's work, the Hopi's hope and all the rest show human determination to conserve wisely. For YES!' effort to counterbalance the often depressing aspects of human nature, which seem to be running amok these days, by bringing the optimistic view to light, I am thankful.

Hannah Fox Trowbridge
Harpswell, Maine

Right From the Tap
Here is a chuckle. “Bottled Water Flimflam” (YES! Winter 2004) reminded me of Clearly Worcester's Choice.

In Worcester, we are blessed with a competent and creative commissioner of public works, Robert Moylan, who has a flair for public relations. He is bottling our tap water, which comes from our reservoirs through a state-of-the-art filtration and treatment plant, attaching an elegant tri-color label, and giving bottles away at strategic opportunities.

The labels read:
“We've taken the protected water from our reservoirs in the pristine uplands of Central Massachusetts and added the best that water treatment technology has to offer. That result is Clearly Worcester's Choice, a water truly befitting an All-American City. Ozonated and filtered for unsurpsassed safety and clarity.
“Clearly Worcester's Choice is available to you from the comfort of your own home. No long check-out lines and no lugging gallons of water. Simply fill this bottle at your kitchen tap and refrigerate.
“A product of the Worcester Department of Public Works and the only choice for an All-American City. Source: Worcester, MA municipal water supply. Worcester DPW brings you the safety, reliability, and low cost of a public water supply, plus the convenience of bottled water. Fill and Chill. Right From the Tap.”

William Densmore
Worcester, Massachusetts

Stay Home
A reader wrote that her family plans to bicycle in different parts of the world every year to show that not all Americans drive big gas-guzzling cars. Great idea—if they bicycle to their destinations. Otherwise, they should stay home, as planes are the biggest gas-guzzlers.

I too love to travel, so I hope someone can invent a fuel-efficient means of getting across the globe.

Joan Philips
Saint Paul, Minnesota

World Water Movement
The movement for water democracy covered in your Winter 2004 issue is building. From January 12 to 14, almost 300 water activists from over 70 countries met in Delhi, India, for the Peoples' World Water Forum. Participants declared their opposition to the water oligarchy of the World Water Council, Global Water Partnership, World Bank, and multinational corporations and confirmed their commitment to democratic, community-based control of the world's water resources.

The Forum focused on privatization, indigenous perspectives, small-scale sustainable management, corporate water mining, mega diversion and dam projects, and the establishment of water as a human right.

Small-scale, ecological community management is being accepted as both a preventive measure and a practical solution to the water crisis. This movement needs to create a new paradigm of water stewardship. We need to bring the responsibility over our water resources back to the local level. By doing this we can rebuild a culture of stewardship, the only truly sustainable solution to this impending water crisis. This will also strengthen our local economies and our communities and help us regain sovereignty over our lives and protect our cultural and ecological diversity from globalization. It is in this diversity that our hope lies. Across the planet, there are many different methods of small-scale, low-cost, low-tech, ecologically sound management—some traditional, some modern, some a blend of the two.

The Peoples' World Water Movement can share this diversity of methods with the world, empowering people to reject the dominant, unsustainable models of agriculture, drinking water supply, and wastewater management. This movement also shows how we can implement the practices of water stewardship on a grassroots level. We are building a network to draw information on sustainable water management from organizations around the planet.

The Water Stewards Network is a North American organization that is working to collect and disseminate information on small-scale low-cost solutions to the global water crisis, and working to create a culture of water stewardship. For more information please visit our website at

Michael Blazewicz
Resources coordinator, Water Stewards Network

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