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Water We Thinking?

June 18, 2015

A Michigan family recently lost their children because they were living in a tent instead of a house. It was a summer trip, the family owned a home, and they had permission to camp on the property, yet county officials cited them for “not living in a stable environment, and having no electricity or water source,” among other things.

After 21 days (of their children living in foster care) the family was able to reunite, but only because the parents proved they were tribal, and protected under the federal Indian Child Welfare Act.

In unrelated news, scientists are agog over the purifying properties of Moringa oleifera, Egyptian seeds that fuse the membranes of problematic bacteria together, turning undrinkable water clean without the expensive process of distillation or reverse osmosis. They are hoping to propagate the plants in regions of the planet lacking potable water.

“People who have to spend large amounts of time finding safe water to drink don’t have time for other things like education or work,” Popular Science noted.

Let’s break this down. Access to water, according to these articles, isn’t about survival. It’s about humans’ ability to participate in the free market. It’s about enforcing a standardized concept of an acceptable lifestyle. It is becoming, in short, another cog in the wheel of dependence on technological society.

Wait, you might say, how can a plant cause anyone to become dependent on technology? Wouldn’t access to this plant lessen such dependence?

Maybe so, in a perfect world. But gifts are only gifts when they don’t come with an agenda – and western culture is nothing if not goal-oriented. Manifest destiny, anyone? The Moringa will arrive with subtle missionaries bearing gifts of computers and cell phones – which, if rejected, will be followed by a cadre of excessively polite and well-intentioned government officials removing children in the name of humanitarianism.

The carrot has never been so sticky.


From → Rants

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