Water activists take on bottled water
Water activists take on bottled water.
Representatives from the group, Mike Balkwill and Karen Rathwell, were invited by professor Andrea Muehlebach to speak at the weekly ANT461H5S seminar regarding their campaign against Nestlé’s right to bottle and sell ground water in Ontario.
This was not a regular speaking invitation though—in fact, fourth-year anthropology students led the talk, as they questioned the two WWW representatives on various topics, such as whether grassroot organizations were the most effective way to campaign, if the media was beneficial to the cause or not, and what students themselves could do to help to reduce bottled water in their own communities.
This changed her perspective entirely, and later, upon switching schools, she went on to collaborate with the WWW on the project “Message In A Bottle,” where 40,000 bottles were distributed among children in schools to encourage the use of re-useable bottles.
Rathwell was in her fifth year as an activist with the organization, when in mid-2016, the WWW’s campaign against Nestlé began.
In this story, Balkwill characterized David as the WWW, while Goliath represented the Nestle company.
According to Balkwill, the regulations are structured so that if the government does not review the permit documentation in time, the permit application is “automatically extended until the government does their part.” “On August 1, […] we got up on our hind legs, and in false outrage—because we knew what the rules were—we said: ‘How can you let Nestle continue to pump water in a drought?’” said Balkwill.
Please leave some water for me —Molly.” This outrage, public protesting, and media attention helped push the federal government towards a moratorium on bottled water.
I’m a teacher—I love facts,” says Rathwell.
For example, Black Lives Matter (TO) polarized their issue when they halted the Pride Parade or camped out in front of the police headquarters, used the media to bring attention to their cause, and forced the public to pick a side.