Maude Barlow

Maude BarlowMaude Barlow is the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and chairs the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch. She is a board member of the San Francisco–based International Forum on Globalization and a Councillor with the Hamburg-based World Future Council.

Maude is the recipient of eleven honorary doctorates as well as many awards, including the 2005 Right Livelihood Award (known as the “Alternative Nobel”), the 2005 Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Fellowship Award, the Citation of Lifetime Achievement at the 2008 Canadian Environment Awards, the 2009 Earth Day Canada Outstanding Environmental Achievement Award, the 2009 Planet in Focus Eco Hero Award, and the 2011 EarthCare Award, the highest international honour of the Sierra Club (US).

In 2008/2009, she served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly and was a leader in the campaign to have water recognized as a human right by the UN. She is also the author of dozens of reports, as well as 17 books, including her latest, Blue Future: Protecting Water For People And The Planet Forever.

Do not listen to those who say there is nothing you can do to the very real and large social and environmental issues of our time. There are serious problems that beset our world. I'm not now talking about a false sense of optimism based on ignoring the very real crises we face, but there is so much room for hope. And such a need to bring joy and excitement to our commitment to a different future. I swear to you this is true. The life of an activist is a good life because you get up in the morning caring about more than just yourself or how to make money. A life of activism gives hope, which is a moral imperative in this work and in this world. It gives us energy and it gives us direction. You meet the nicest people, you help transform ideas and systems and you commit to leaving the earth in at least as whole a condition as you inherited it.

—Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, June 2009,
addressing Trent University after receiving an honorary Doctor of Laws.