NSB Logo Maude Barlow Maude Barlow

Maude Barlow


Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Activist & Former UN Senior Advisor on Water

Maude Barlow is a political activist, author, policy critic and outspoken crusader for Canada. She is a founding member of the International Forum on Globalization, a network of individuals and groups from around the world advocating for democratic control of the global economy, and has served as the national volunteer chairperson for The Council of Canadians, a non-profit, non-partisan public interest organization supported by 100,000 members.

Keynote Speeches

Virtual Keynotes & Webinars
Contact us for more information about this speaker & their virtual presentations. Click here for some of the most popular formats for virtual events.
Boiling Point

We are complacent. We bask in the idea that Canada holds 20% of the world’s fresh water — water crises face other countries, but not ours. We could not be more wrong. In this presentation Maude lays bare the issues facing Canada’s water reserves, including long-outdated water laws, unmapped and unprotected groundwater reserves, agricultural pollution, industrial-waste dumping, boil-water advisories, and the effects of deforestation and climate change. This will be the defining issue of the coming decade, and most of us have no idea that it is on our very own doorstep.

Blue Future

Maude draws on her extensive experience and insight to lay out a set of key principles that show the way forward to what she calls a “water-secure and water-just world.” Not only does she reveal the powerful players even now impeding the recognition of the human right to water, she argues that water must not become a commodity to be bought and sold on the open market. Focusing on solutions, she includes stories of struggle and resistance from marginalized communities, as well as government policies that work for both people and the planet.

Audience reviews:

  • Maude has that combination of passion, relevant information and human caring that totally involve her audience.

    - Econexus

Speaker Biography

Maude Barlow is a Canadian activist and author. She chairs the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch and Ottawa-based Blue Planet Project. Maude co-founded the Council of Canadians and chaired its board for over three decades. She serves on the Board of Advisors of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and is a Councillor with the Hamburgbased World Future Council. Maude is the Chancellor of Brescia University College in London Ontario.

Maude is the recipient of fifteen 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 the creator of the Blue Communities project in which municipalities pledge to protect water as a human right and a public trust and ban plastic bottled water. There are now more than 25 million people living in official Blue Community towns and cities, including Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Thessaloniki, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Montreal.

Maude is also the author of dozens of reports, as well as 20 books, including Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse and Canada’s Water Crisis; Whose Water is it Anyway? Taking Water Protection Into Public Hands; and her new book, Still Hopeful, Lessons From a Lifetime of Activism.