From the time she was 8 years old Star Morris was making connections between what humans do in the name of progress and the health of the planet. She was aware that a nuclear power plant had been erected near her home in Darlington Ontario. She also knew that very near by was cement factory that was blasting for limestone. She thought, “nuclear power plant and blasting, hmmm, this can’t be good.”
Star’s education led her to a study of both the positive and negative aspects of nuclear research. She started her career in nuclear medicine but later switched to ultra sound. She arrived on the west coast thirty years ago when she accepted a position at Women’s and Children’s hospital. Ever the scientist and always learning, during her time there she earned 7 areas of specialty, including pediatric echocardiograms.
In December 1989 Star took a position in a hospital in Saudi Arabia. Eight months later the Gulf War broke out, but that did not deter Star. She stayed on for a total of 7 years, finishing off by running the first high risk obstetrics ultra sound in the Middle East.
In Squamish CAN, Star is known as the “water lady”. I asked: “Why water? With all the other areas of environmental concern, why did you choose to focus on water?” Star responded that many of her life experiences have led her to this place. Working in obstetrics she observed how important the fluids surrounding the fetus were. In Saudi, where people depend on desalination for every drop of fresh water, she began to understand how precious water is. But what truly set the seed of her passion was the witnessing of the calving of an iceberg in Greenland. At that moment her determination to do whatever it took to protect the planet’s fragile fresh water system was set in her heart.
Today Star applies her scientific research skills to the study of water. She sees water as 3 possibilities: a health robber, a health maintainer and a health promoter. Star teaches us to ask questions about the things we eat and drink: “What is truly healthy and what is healthy marketing for profit?”
In the past few years, Star has been researching the politics of water in a global, national and local context. She feels her mission is to bring the bigger world picture into a local context. When it comes to the free trade agreement with the EU, she states: “Water is on the table!” Along with other members of the Council of Canadians, she is working locally to make governments and citizens aware of the dangers of losing control of our own water.
When you sit down for a chat with Star, water is definitely on the table. Always present is her reusable water bottle, and her passion to protect this clear, clean sustainer of life on our planet.