I was recently asked to do a guest post for Heal the Bay‘s President Mark Gold’s blog. It was titled “Ground Control to Guy”, because it was a report post on Guy Laliberté’s (founder of Cirque du Soleil) Poetic Social Mission in space. If you haven’t already seen my post, I invite you to go over to Mark’s blog and check it out there. I gladly accepted the offer to do a guest post on Mark’s “Spouting Off” blog, specially since Guy’s Cirque has been extremely supportive of Heal the Bay through La Soirée, which will take place this October 16 to benefit Heal the Bay and Guy’s organization ONE DROP Foundation (for ticketing info click here). The event will feature the premier of Cirque du Soleil’s Koosa in the Southern Cal city of Santa Monica.
I watched the entire two-hour live webcast of Poetic Social Mission featuring a myriad of voices around the globe all honoring and advocating for social justice in the protection of our water. Water IS life and has been the basis for all civilizations. We must revere it, respect it, and protect it from pollution and abuse. The Latino experience in Southern California with water has been evolving into a battle for the narrative of just what is at the root of the water crisis in the state. The battle is basically between the responsible/sustainable management of our water and the put-profits-before-people “backdoor deals with agribusiness” that the moneyed powers-that-be in California make all the time.
One prime example of such backdoor deals are the blatant manipulation of Latinos to use them for props in campaigns to build dams/reservoirs and handing out big contracts that generate a sweet pot of money for rich developers. I am talking about Governor Schwarzenegger, who, on the one hand kills Latino kids’ dreams of going to college and on the other he’s using Latinos as fixtures in support of his big Agribusiness pals’ pockets. It has now been reported that Governor Schwarzenegger presided over the birth of the so-called “Latino Water Coalition”, which has been intrumental in pushing the governor’s plans to basically ‘build bigger dams baby!’ In fact, it is a very little-known secret that Schwarzenegger’s rich friends have been pulling ENRON-like stunts with our water supply, which was reported on an interview that Dorothy Green gave to LA Weekly, a month before she passed away.
Latinos actually care very deeply about what is going on with the protection of our water and the responsible use of this precious resource, whether it’s on an individual personal behavioral basis to prevent waste or on a government policy level to combat its pollution or overuse. Last March, I helped craft the messaging for the 2009 “March for Water” in Los Angeles,which sought to move people to action on the issue of social justice when it comes to the protection of water. Water conservation is not just an issue of scientific urgency or of supply and demand but of a higher moral call that we all, as human beings, must answer. At the March for Water, many Latinos answered the call, and joined in an effort to stand with solidarity of the recent FLOW film’s theme of “water for people, not for profits!” … just check out this video from the actual march. Latino immigrants are oftentimes very much in tune with nature because many of them grew up in or came from rural areas in Latin America. As such, they immediately understand just how important it is to care for our environment. Yes, March for Water might not have had the money kick-backs that Schwarzenegger is able to throw around or the ability to broadcast from space. There is no doubt in my mind, however, that Latinos will continue to be instrumental in the fight for a more just and responsible use of one of our most precious sources of life: water.