(Lecture Notes are NOT included, Please add your lecture notes within this brief
summary of course readings and case studies)
•We use water every day of our lives (We are carried in it before birth, blessed in it
swim in it, drink it, bathe in it, wash everything in it, sweat it, freeze it…etc.
•Because of water’s necessity to life and its pervasiveness, water is a public good,
but concerns over its quality and how to monitor such a good, have generated
such symbols of the age as bottled water.
•Canadians are some of the worlds most wasteful consumers of water (subject to
contamination) In Canada, water is seen as a public good but is under pressure
•Supply is one facet of the water problem; safety is another
Case Study No. 1: Walpole Island and the St. Clair River
Between Lake Huron and Lake Erie, and between the Canadian and American Borders
flows the St. Clair River. At the mouth of the river sits Walpole Island. The special
relationship of Walpole Island to the water is constantly threatened by the concentration
of chemical industries upriver at Port Huron and Sarnia. Certain actions have revolved
around the growing revitalization of native cultures and the assertion of their strong
connection to the lands and waters around Walpole. The trigger was a toxic spill of over
10,000 liters of toxic chemicals in St. Clair River in 1985. Action from the government
required a pipeline to bring water from Lake Huron, bypassing St. Clair River in 1985.
Walpole Island refused because they did not want to be cut off from its indigenous water
supply. A press released that followed the rejection read: “The protection of Mother Earth
is utmost in the hearts and minds of First Nations People”. However, in 2004, Walpole
was forced to turn off its local water supple three times due to spills. Nevertheless, the
uniqueness of Walpole and their connection to their spiritual tradition and connection to
the local environment run very deep.
Case Study No. 2: Walkerton and the Water Stories Project
Walkerton is a town in Bruce County Ontario has become infamous because of an
outbreak of toxic E. Coli in May 2000 that was carried through the municipal water
supply, and killed 7 people and affected over 2,000 other with various waterborne
illnesses. The cause of the outbreak was due to the incompetence of local officials. The
arts and rituals can play a significant role in healing community discord through story,
acting out, humor, communal responses and the presentation of mutual fears and hopes.
Susan Scott and other members of the concerned Walkerton Citizens, determined on a
Water Stories Project, which told stories, artworks, enactments, and forms of spirituals all
focused on community renewal in various forms, including a ceremony at one of the
polluted wells in the community. One product was “Water Finds A Voice”, a play written
by Susan Scott and performed Mary-Eileen McLear.
Case Study No. 3: Bottled Water
A pervasive symbol of age is bottled water. Bottled water is an example of the pervasive
move towards individualism in modern capitalist society- capitalist meaning profit.
Marketing tools for bottled water include connections between: pure water and the
wilderness experience (drinking from a fresh mountain stream). However, it is just a