Toronto Catholic high schools work to eliminate bottled water

TORONTO (CNS) — Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of Toronto are working to create “bottled water-free zones” within their schools.

The “Water for All: Let Justice Flow” movement is part of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace’s yearlong campaign against the privatization of water.

“The idea is to create a culture where students don’t bring bottled water or use bottled water even though they may have the right,” said Luke Stocking, who works with Development and Peace in central Ontario. Bottled water companies are buying more water sources and denying access to local communities in the Southern Hemisphere, said Stocking.

“Bottled water is the most visible symbol of turning this public good into a private good for private profit,” he said.

At Toronto’s Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts, school officials plan to stop selling bottled water at the concession stand by the theater, said chaplain Marilyn Grace. She said campaigners hope to create a Cardinal Carter reusable water bottle that students could take to shows.

“But it’s all an ongoing process … it’s not something that can happen overnight,” she added. “We’ve got to get all the stakeholders on board.”

Officials at Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School have applied for various grants to fund their initiatives, said teacher Kathy Saran. So far, the school has received a $500 grant from Learning for a Sustainable Future, a registered nonprofit charitable organization whose goal is to integrate sustainability education into Canada’s education system.

“We’re using that money to purchase stainless steel water bottles,” said Saran.

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