From Groundwater to Grass Roots, author Walter Baily chronicles the struggle of residents in the rural Maine towns of Newfield and Shapleigh to prevent an international corporation from extracting groundwater. This book highlights residents’ actions and developing knowledge as they advocate for protecting groundwater beneath their homes and communities. The issue was not only preservation of an aquifer, but the principle that a resource fundamental to life should not become a commodity for private profit. In addition, this book testifies to the enduring power of democracy.
Conflicts in the United States between cities, states, towns and large water extractors are now common over the control, sale and transfer of water. Who owns the water? Should it be privatized? Sites include: the Great lakes; the Colorado River: Florida; California; Massachusetts; Oregon; New Hampshire, and now Maine. This saga reveals the sixteen-month effort of residents to control their groundwater and the quality of their future. Citizens learned of other nearby towns that had already developed ordinances to limit water extraction. Community members, near and far, have expressed similar concerns as Shapleigh and Newfield residents did over water removal, the large-scale waste of plastic bottles that accumulate in landfills and the ocean, and the constant transfer of water in large and heavy tanker trucks along local roads and highways.
From Ground Water to Grass Roots is a detailed narrative that speaks out to those who care for the planet. This volume highlights the importance of stewardship of water and the natural world to insure their continued health, stability, and availability for future generations.
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About the Author
Walter H. Baily was a social worker throughout his career in mental health, public health, social planning and children’s services. He and his wife, Thelma Falk Baily, also a social worker, collaborated for many years on research and training projects around the country. Baily, who holds a doctorate, has two sons and a daughter and two grandchildren. His commitment to human services has expanded to include environmental protection and now, in his eighties, he lives on an old farm and cares for his family’s sustainably- managed forest.