Water justice is not just about changing the distribution of water access and benefits, but access to the water governing rules too. The human right to water is a challenge globally and even here in the Great Lakes too. In recent years, the struggle for clean and affordable water has risen in Flint, Detroit, and in over 100 First Nations across Canada. This post presents 2 examples of how Indigenous nations are taking back some control over how the waters are governed.
In 2015 Ontario passed the Great Lakes Protection Act. One key difference to this Act was the establishment of Guardians Council. The Great Lakes Commons community is encouraged by this difference because the focus on 'Guardianship' aligns well with many of our principles. But how might a Guardian protect the waters differently than a typical stakeholder? What can a Great Lakes Commons offer this new Council?
As water protectors we often talk of water rights and water responsibilities. These words go hand-in-hand like peace and justice, but let's decode what the differences are and the impacts each has on social movements and water care.