We use cookies for site personalization, analytics and advertising. You can opt out of third party cookies. More info in our privacy policy.   Got it

Water inc

Varda Burstyn is a distinguished environmental writer and her début novel – an accomplished eco-thriller – confirms her as an author who knows her subject inside out. Water Inc concerns a consortium of American billionaires who recognize the impending water crisis that their greed has created. These magnates plot, with the collusion of politicians and officials, to pipe water from northern Quebec into the parched and drought-ridden US. They are unconcerned that this massive water-grab will have disastrous ecological consequences for the flora, fauna and peoples of Quebec, and they are prepared to go to any lengths, including murder, to protect the secrecy of their multibillion dollar scheme. Opposing them is a disparate group including a disillusioned executive, Canadian activists for eco-justice, a campaigning journalist and assorted rogue police and computer hackers.

As the seemingly mismatched sides square off in a deadly game of double-bluff, Burstyn expertly reveals the way global corporations hide their crimes with unaccountable subsidiaries, interlocking shell companies and labyrinthine accounting trails. These tactics are matched by countervailing webs of solidarity and cross-border co-operation developed by activists, in an attempt to curb corporate environmental larceny.

Perhaps Burstyn has relied rather heavily on the serendipitous collaboration of whistle-blowers, radical activists and law-enforcement agents. Nevertheless, she marshals both her huge cast of characters and her arguments as to the importance of ‘water wars’ with skill and integrity. She is surely right in her conclusion that with water, as with the Earth’s other precious resources, ‘the choice between greed and humanity will decide the fate of millions of people for decades to come.’

Peter Whittaker

New Internationalist issue 378 magazine cover This article is from the May 2005 issue of New Internationalist.
You can access the entire archive of over 500 issues with a digital subscription. Subscribe today »

 

Help us produce more like this

Editor Portrait Patreon is a platform that enables us to offer more to our readership. With a new podcast, eBooks, tote bags and magazine subscriptions on offer, as well as early access to video and articles, we’re very excited about our Patreon! If you’re not on board yet then check it out here.

Support us »

Subscribe   Ethical Shop