Water is fundamental to a community’s ability to function. To the extent that water deprivation tracks social group-based inequalities, we can say that there are social and/or global injustices at work. Transforming structures of injustice that impede communities’ access to water will surely require legal and popular advocacy as well as political will and cooperation across borders. But efforts to dismantle unjust barriers to water access also require a cogent ethical defense of water as a public good to which all human beings and communities have a right. My doctoral studies, funded by a Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarship, undertake this task.
My PhD supervisor is Prof. Monique Deveaux, Canada Research Chair in Ethics and Global Social Change. For the Fall 2018 semester, I was a CGS-Michael Smith Foreign Studies Supplement Funded Visiting Postrgaduate Research Student at the University of Edinburgh, where my supervisor was Prof. Tim Hayward. My doctoral research centres on five questions: What right, if any, do people have to water? What are the putative harms of privatizing and commodifying water? Should naturally occurring necessities for life, like water, be considered common property? If so, what are the most compelling normative and ethical grounds for justifying common ownership of water? How might people’s rights to access to water be protected through legal and political means, and what role might local and transnational political activism play in hastening the implementation of such protections? I approach my project from a normative perspective, with ideas of how we ought to act regarding the distribution of natural resources. I consider these questions as they relate to the moral implications of selling and exploiting the natural resource of water. I argue that the quest for natural resources will place a strain on all people, but especially on the poorest people – both in Canada and globally – because such people lack the means to purchase, and so secure, reliable access to privatized essential resources. North-South inequalities in access to water will increase global inequalities.
Outside of my doctoral research, I have worked in the Water Security and Nexus project at the United Nations University - Insitute for Water, Environment, and Health. At UNU-INWEH, I was supervised by Dr. Nidhi Nagabhatla. Moreover, I have been a Graduate Research Assistant for the University of Guelph's Arrell Food Institute and Food From Thought program, as well as the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario.
PHIL 3450: Ethics in the Life Sciences - Food, Water, and Environmental Ethics and Justice
Projects, Collaborations, and Publications
2021 Fioret C., and Nagabhatla N. "How droughts and floods lead to migration - and 7 things governments can do to help." The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/how-droughts-and-floods-lead-to-migration-an...
2020 Nagabhatla N., and Fioret C. "The Water-Migration Nexus: An Analysis of Causalities and Response Mechanisms with a Focus on the Global South." In Regional Integration and Migration Governance in the Global South, eds. Rayp G., Ruyssen I., Marchand K. Springer Nature Switzerland AG: Cham, Switzerland, pg. 85-115.
2020 Nagabhatla, N., Pouramin, P., Brahmbhatt, R., Fioret, C., Glickman, T., Newbold, K. B., Smakhtin, V., 2020. Water and Migration: A Global Overview. UNU-INWEH Report Series, Issue 10. United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health, Hamilton, Canada.
2019: Lam Steven, Thompson Michelle, Johnson Kathleen, Fioret Cameron, Hargreaves Sarah. “Transdisciplinary research: A graduate perspective.” Action Research, 0: 1-18.
2019: "We need grassroots activism to ensure water access." The Hamilton Spectator. https://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/9117140-we-need-grassroots-activis...
2018: Co-authored with Kathleen Johnson, Steven Lam, Michelle Thompson, and Sarah Hargreaves. "Towards farmer-led research: a guidebook." Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario, Guelph, Ontario. https://efao.ca/researchDocs/efao-farmer-led-research-guide-2018-1531757...
2018: "How to reduce poverty and re-connect people to nature." The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/how-to-reduce-poverty-and-re-connect-people-...
2018: “Against the Commodification of Water.” Alternate Routes, 29: 283-293.
2017-18: Work done as a Graduate Research Assistant in the Arrell Food Institute as part of their Food From Thought program. I worked in an interdisciplinary team to evaluate the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario's Farmer-Led Research Program. We created a guidebook for those who might want to start a farmer-led research program in their respective organizations.
2017: “Complimentary intersections? Water commodification through the lens of philosophy and geography.” Geoforum, 86: 16-19.
2016: Hansen H.V., and Fioret C. “A Searchable Bibliography of Fallacies - 2016.” Informal Logic, 36.4: 432-472.
Presentations and Conferences
October 2019: Essay entitled “Water, Peace and Political Stability” presented at the 2019 Sustainability and Development Conference at the University of Michigan.
August 2018: Research on Water, Peace, and Political Stability, stemming from internship at UNU-INWEH, presented at the 2018 Science, Youth and Sustainable Development symposium at UNU-INWEH.
May 2018: Research stemming from work as a Graduate Research Assistant in the Food From Thought program and the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario presented at the 2018 Arrell Food Summit.
April 2018: Essay entitled “An Amelioration of Water Management” presented at the 2018 Midwestern Political Science Association Annual Conference in Chicago.
March 2018: Essay entitled “Never the Twain Shall Meet: White Ignorance and Hermeneutical Injustice as Distinct” presented at the Uehiro Graduate Philosophy Conference at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
April 2017: Essay entitled “On the Impermissibility of Commodifying Water” presented at the Alternate Routes: A Journal of Critical Social Research Conference in Holguín, Cuba. The themes of the conference were social justice and social inequality.