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16th March 2016
Nestlé - the world’s largest water bottler--has a playbook for taking over public water sources.

It seeks out small towns with limited economic resources, promising investment and jobs; it uses its massive resources to influence local governments and bypass lengthy environmental assessments; and it tries to lock communities into decades-long contracts before the public has a chance to weigh in.

Nestlé thrives when it’s able to enter communities under the cover of darkness, something we’ve seen time and again. But with your help, The Story of Stuff Project is shifting this balance of power by bringing to light the stories of heroic citizens who are taking on Nestlé around the world.

We may not have Nestlé's money, but we have you. Pitch in today.
On March 22nd, we’ll be releasing our latest movie, a short documentary that tells the story of a particularly inspiring group of people fighting a Nestlé water grab in Cascade Locks, Oregon. They come from a variety of backgrounds, and none are professional activists, but they share a common desire to protect their home and identity in Oregon’s gorgeous Columbia River Gorge. They are fighting to preserve their water for local farmers, orchardists, families, and salmon.

Last year, these inspiring Oregonians succeeded in placing an initiative on their county ballot that would bar large scale commercial water bottling operations in Hood River County, effectively shutting down Nestlé’s proposal to tap the local Oxbow Spring. This groundbreaking measure, which residents will vote on in May, would set a historic precedent that will be replicated around the world.

But like the proverbial tree falling in the woods, news of their hard work and this hopeful story won’t spread around the world without folks like you and me.

Yes, I’ll pitch in to help The Story of Stuff Project amplify the voices of activists fighting to protect their water from Nestlé.
Last fall, we brought you and hundreds of thousands of others the story of two retired Forest Service Rangers who’d blown the whistle on Nestle’s unpermitted withdrawal of water from California’s drought-ravaged San Bernardino National Forest. We’re already seeing progress: last month, the Forest Service announced it had opened a review of Nestlé's permit application after nearly 30 years of inaction. And in April, we’ll get our day in court, asking a federal judge to turn off the spigot on Nestlé's illegal operation until this permit review is complete.

Make no mistake: the Forest Service wouldn’t have acted without the pressure we brought to bear. You and I made this happen.

We’re equally inspired by the smarts and hard work of the activists in Cascade Locks, Oregon and can’t wait to show you their story. Through their efforts, over 30,000 Oregonians contacted the Governor, asking him to intervene on their behalf. A local Native American activist waged a fast in front of Cascade Locks city hall to highlight Oxbow Springs’ spiritual importance to local tribes. And now, they’re waging an electoral campaign to pass their measure. Throughout, their message has been clear: water should be protected as a public resource, and the last thing Oregon should do is give water away to corporations during a drought.

Grassroots activists like those in Oregon have energy, time and passion, but they need our support too. The Story of Stuff Community is stepping up in small towns around the country and world to help them fight the good fight.

On March 22nd, we’ll release our movie about the fight in Cascade Locks. But shortly thereafter, we’ll be getting to work on our next video, the third in a series about communities uniting against Nestlé.

We’ll also be connecting interested Story of Stuff Community members with on-the-ground, local-led efforts to turn back Nestlé proposals around the country. We’ll be putting pressure on retailers that sell Nestle bottled water brands. We’ll be keeping up the fight in federal court in southern California and we’ll be boosting the most inspirational community campaigns through our expansive social media channels.

The movement happening in Oregon will have ramifications around the world. If the citizens of Hood River County succeed in passing their ballot initiative, it will set a precedent for public water protection that can be expanded across the state, to other states, and perhaps even to entire countries.

Keeping stories like these in the public eye sends a clear message to Nestlé that water is a resource to be cherished and protected, NOT a commodity to be bottled and sold around the world for corporate gain.

The Story Of Stuff