H.2O: Environmental questions with Maude Barlow of the United Nations, part three

Maude Barlow

This is a continuation of part one and part two of our interview with Maude Barlow, Senior Advisor on Water to the President of the UN General Assembly.

Question 9: Why do you think most governments in the world are finding it very hard to create and enforce environmental protection laws for industrial corporations that operate under their jurisdiction?

Maude Barlow: Governments around the world (with some recent exceptions) have assumed that what is good for their corporations must be good for the general well-being of their society. While it is true that a healthy economy is important, it is not necessarily true that this wealth is best generated by large transnational corporations who move their production to low wage countries and “externalize” their costs by dumping their waste into the environment. Governments must break their ties – including as funding sources – with big business.

Question 10: What is your view on genetically engineered food?

Maude Barlow: I am opposed to genetically engineered food. It is estimated that as much as 75 percent of processed food in our supermarkets now contains GE products. These foods pose serious risks to human and animal health as they contaminate the food supply with unregulated experiments and pose a direct threat to the biological diversity of the planet.

Question 11: What alternative energy source would benefit society the most?

Maude Barlow: I believe that solar (harnessing the radiant light and heat from the sun) and geothermal (using energy from the earth to heat buildings and produce electricity) are the most exciting alternative energy sources to fossil fuels and I am happy to see that the new administration of President Obama is investing heavily in research on both.

Question 12 Do you think politicians really have what it takes to tackle the dangers of Global Warming?

Maude Barlow: I am very disheartened by the lack of leadership by our current spate of politicians in dealing with the climate crisis. This became apparent at the recent G-20 meeting where the leaders failed in coming up with a true solution to the three challenges they faced: the economic crisis, the climate crisis and the need for First World aid to the Third World to help poor countries face these threats. What is called for is a true “Global Green Economy” plan that would build future jobs on the need for sustainable and wise use of our limited and threatened resources instead of the discredited mantra of growth and globalization.

Question 13 What books about environmental topics are important and why do you think so?

Maude Barlow: There are many wonderful books on the environmental crisis. I recommend two recent Canadian books: Sea Sick, by Alanna Mitchell on the frightening condition of our oceans; and Tar Sands by Andrew Nikiforuk on the devastation of mining dirty oil in Northern Alberta. I would also guide people to my new book on water: Blue Covenant, The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water.

This concludes the interview, thanks for reading the Sunfiltered Blog.