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Taking Action

To become engaged in your issue, you need to become knowledgable. Here’s how to become an informed citizen lobbyist.

Change Begins Here

To become effective citizen advocates, we need to educate ourselves about the system we hope to change. To do that, we learn as much as we can about the issues that concern us. We can then take what we’ve learned and put it into sustained action.

 

Lobbying for an issue requires more than a superficial understanding of the problem. We need to take a deeper dive into the details that are involved, as illustrated below.

Here’s an example

Lobbying for an issue requires an in-depth understanding of that issue.

Privatization of water resources:
reclaiming water as a basic right

Access to clean, affordable water should be a human right. As citizens, we need to hold our elected officials accountable for ensuring the protection and availability of water, now and into the future.

 

The World Bank has predicted that by the year 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population will run short of fresh drinking water. This is already happening, even in our own country due to the  widespread draining of aquifers and the mismanagement of water infrastructures.

 

There’s a growing trend for corporations to come into an area and obtain the rights to municipal water supplies. Some of these companies lease the municipal water supply to bottle water and sell it back to the community at inflated costs. This has adverse environmental impacts.

 

A parallel problem occurs when public water systems are faced with deteriorating infrastructure. Outside companies seize this opportunity to replace or upgrade the infrastructure in exchange for control of this critical resource. 

The problem

One has only to look to Flint, Michigan to understand the public health crises that can result if water systems are left unattended or mismanaged.

 

Because of the enormous cost of updating aging public water systems, many budget-strapped municipalities enter into contracts with private companies to buy or operate their public water utilities. 

Here are some reasons why privatization may be detrimental to the people in a community:

  • It often leads to rate increases because the private companies then transfer the cost of infrastructure improvement to the consumer
  • Water quality suffers as private companies are often more concerned with profits than with public health or the environment
  • Privatization reduces local control and public rights — there’s no guarantee that the private company will work in the best interests of the community
  • People in poverty are often harmed the most by privatization

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