Nestlé Waters North America recently announced at a monthly township meeting in Kunkletown, Pennsylvania, the company had given up on its attempts to pump 73 million gallons of water per year from the town’s local aquifer..
Truth-out reported that;
“The room erupted in cheers and for the first time since Nestlé began meeting with community members about the project, the company received a standing ovation.”
Nestlé had planned to pump 200,000 gallons of water per day for a contract of up to 25 years, which would total a mind blowing 1.8 billion gallons of water being taken from the local community.
Needless to say to anyone who has paid even the slightest amount of attention, Nestlé's projects have been disastrous for the environment and can directly linked to California's droughts.
As soon as the community discovered the multi billion dollar predator corporation was eyeing their water resources back in 2012, they began organizing against them.
Normally the mega corporation just cuts through local opposition like a hot knife through butter, which is primarily the result of the targeted communities not being aware that the company is even doing a deal behind their back with their local state government.
But that's not the case this time.
Donna Diehl, a local school bus driver and key community organizer, said she believed the lawsuit her and other community members filed against the giant corporation was the deciding factor. The lawsuit highlighted proof that Nestlé secretly and illegally began changing the area’s zoning rules.
“Personally, I think their application was so, so flawed that they honestly thought the ‘sleepy dwellers’ of Kunkletown wouldn’t pick up on it, that we wouldn’t research their application... They finally realized that they can’t go any farther or they’d be completely exposed.”
So fierce was the opposition of the small town against Nestlé that the local meetings had to be moved from the municipal building to a larger firehouse in order to be able to fit the large number of protestors organizing to get rid of the unwanted giant Nestle's presence.
Donna goes onto explain how this external threat helped to bring the people of her town closer together;
“People are very involved now in our township, I think you are going to see people staying on top of things. You go to a meeting once a month and find out what is happening in your town. The ‘sleepy dwellers of Kunkletown,’ as some people in the beginning called us, are now very vigilant. I know I have made lifetime friends now.”
This story is really so inspiring for so many reasons. Not just because one of the most loathsome corporations got their butts kicked, but because it shows that the power in the people really is more powerful than the people in power, and through the spread of information and knowledge, these elitist people and organizations are powerless against us. One of the main organizers was a local bus driver, if she can do it, there is no excuse why other people can't do it too.
John Stewart, deputy campaign director for Corporate Accountability International, released the following statement of solidarity and vigilance;
“We are seeing an increasing consciousness that water is a scarce resource and needs to be defended. We will do what we do until as a movement we can show them that we draw the line at water. This shouldn’t be something a corporation can profit off of. The momentum is with us.”
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