There are few things as fundamentally crucial to the existence of human beings and, indeed, all life on Earth as water. It is difficult to believe any human being thinks water is privately-owned, a commodity, to use for profit at the expense of human life, but Americans know there are entities that will go to any lengths to feed their corporate greed. In several states in this country, climate change is wreaking havoc on the people in the form of severe, multi-year droughts. So, with extreme water shortages, what do two industries do with the vanishing precious resource? They either mix it with deadly carcinogens and pump it, under extremely high pressure, back into the ground, often directly over active earthquake faults, or draw it out of the ground, bottle it, and sell it for profit. It is a wealthy corporations’ ideal business model; free raw materials and a product no human being can survive without.
California, like many states primarily in the southwestern United States, is facing one of its most severe droughts on record. The conditions are so severe that in January Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought state of emergency in preparation for water shortages that are especially dangerous during the summer months. The critically severe drought has entered its third year of a projected decade (at least) long drought, and throughout California water restrictions are having a profound impact on agriculture. In fact, the water shortage is so severe that farmers in some of the most agricultural-rich areas of the country are being forewarned there may be no water within two years at best; that is if the extreme conservation measures work.
However, while the rest of the state is attempting to conserve what little life-sustaining water California has left, the Nestle Company ignores the emergency measures the state adopted because its water bottling plant is conveniently located on a Native American reservation. Like all N.A. reservations, it is considered a sovereign nation by the US government. It is a water-theft enterprise any greedy corporation would lust after because unlike farmers, individual Californians, and every municipality in the state, Nestle is exempt from complying with any water-saving state or federal regulations. To make matters worse, Nestle is depleting what precious water reserves lie deep underground in the aquifer and pumping it directly to its bottling plant and selling it for profit. This is not a new endeavor for Nestle, and their blatant disregard for Californians’ need for basic survival was best expressed by Nestle’s CEO and Chairman.
According to the former CEO and now Chairman of the largest food product manufacturer in the world, Nestle, corporations own every drop of water on the planet, and because he believes water is not a basic human right; if human beings get thirsty, they have to pay or die. It is the ultimate privatization insult to mankind, and worse because Nestle is intent on privatizing water the world over; a natural resource that falls from the sky and seeps into the Earth for man to use for survival. In the case of California, and other regions around the world, what precious little water remains for basic survival is being stolen by a filthy corporation to sell to those who can afford to survive, and they are being assisted by Native Americans claiming to be good stewards of the Earth. Maybe this is Native American vengeance on the white man for invading their sovereign land, massacring them, and sending the survivors to permanent interment camps with high-sounding names like “sovereign nations.” But that is another story altogether; this is about Nestle draining California’s water.
The Nestle Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water bottling plant is located on the Morongo Band of Mission Indians reservation and drains water from a Mojave Desert oasis at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains 85 miles from Los Angeles where just three inches of rain falls each year. Their little enterprise prevents water from seeping downhill to fill aquifers of nearby towns struggling for water during the drought, and prior to 2009, about when the drought began, Nestle submitted annual reports to local water districts detailing how much groundwater they were extracting for profit. Since the drought began, neither Nestle nor the Morongo tribe submitted any forms; likely because it would be bad for business to tell local residents how much of their precious water they are being forced to buy to increase Nestle’s profits.
Nestle already has a history of showing blatant disregard for the human race according to Corporate Watch. The company regularly barges into struggling rural areas and extracts groundwater to sell in bottles “completely destroying the water supply without any compensation,” and in fact “actually makes rural areas in the United States foot the bill.” However, Nestle is not focusing only on Americans’ water as reported by Corporate Watch that has documented Nestle and former CEO Peter Brabeck-Letmathe’s long history of disregarding public health and abusing the environment for profit to the tune of $35 billion annually from water bottle sales alone. Corporate Watch states that “Nestlé production of mineral water involves the abuse of vulnerable water resources. In the Serra da Mantiqueira region of Brazil, home to the “circuit of waters” park whose groundwater has a high mineral content and medicinal properties, over-pumping has resulted in depletion and long-term damage.”
One wonders if when the Morongo Band of Indians runs out of water themselves and is forced to buy water they allowed Nestle to deplete for profits, they will still consider themselves good stewards of the Earth or that Nestle is a “valued partner.” California is home to the largest Nestle water bottling operation near Mount Shasta that is suffering the drought as much as any other part of the state with nearby Shasta Lake unrecognizable as a lake. Still, the piece of human filth, Nestle CEO, condemned non-governmental organizations like the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations for perpetuating the “extremist idea that drinking water is a human right” that should not have a market price to enrich the Nestle corporation.
Although the extreme California drought is just one reason to take action against Nestle, the point is the giant corporation is pillaging a basic necessity for human life all over the world with little opposition and relative impunity. The company touts job creation as validation for draining the water supply dry and selling it back to thirsty Americans, but when they have exhausted the water supply, no amount of jobs or money will sustain life devoid of water. There is no end to the disregard for human life that corporations have made their overriding mission after profit taking, and at least in one California region, there is no possibility of holding a truly vile and inhumane corporation accountable for a crime against humanity; stealing their dwindling water supply and selling it back for profit because they set up shop in a sovereign nation inside drought-stricken California.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.