Academic, Culture & Community

EarthxReads: Water Conservation & Resources

For many people, water is a plentiful resource that is easily available at all times via water fountain, fridge, or sink. However, it is a reality for many others that water is not an easy-to-come-by resource, and in fact there is a water crisis that exists in many places, including cities in America, today. In these books, the topic is explored further, with an emphasis on preserving the precious resource of water and ensuring its availability to everyone for generations to come.

Unquenchable by Robert Glennon

“In the middle of the Mojave Desert, Las Vegas casinos use billions of gallons of water for fountains, pirate lagoons, wave machines, and indoor canals. Meanwhile, the town of Orme, Tennessee, must truck in water from Alabama because it has literally run out. Robert Glennon captures the irony—and tragedy—of America’s water crisis in a book that is both frightening and wickedly comical. From manufactured snow for tourists in Atlanta to trillions of gallons of water flushed down the toilet each year, Unquenchable reveals the heady extravagances and everyday inefficiencies that are sucking the nation dry.”

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Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization by Steven Solomon

“Far more than oil, the control of water wealth throughout history has been pivotal to the rise and fall of great powers, the achievements of civilization, the transformations of society’s vital habitants, and the quality of ordinary daily lives. Today, fresh-water scarcity is one of the twenty-first century’s decisive, looming challenges, driving new political, economic, and environmental realities across the globe. In Water, esteemed journalist Steven Solomon offers the first-ever narrative portrait of the power struggles, personalities, and breakthroughs that have shaped humanity from antiquity’s earliest civilizations through the steam-powered Industrial Revolution and America’s century. Meticulously researched and undeniably prescient, Water is a stunningly clear-eyed action statement on what Robert F Kennedy, Jr. calls “the biggest environmental and political challenge of our time.”

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Not a Drop to Drink by Ken Midkiff

“Fans of classic frontier survival stories, as well as readers of dystopian literature, will enjoy this futuristic story where water is worth more than gold. New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant says Not a Drop to Drink is a debut “not to be missed.” With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a frontier like world not so different from our own. Teenage Lynn has been taught to defend her pond against every threat: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and most important, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty—or doesn’t leave at all. Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. But when strangers appear, the mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it. . . .”

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The Big Thirst by Charles Fishman

“The water coming out of your tap is four billion years old and might have been slurped by a Tyrannosaurus Rex. We will always have exactly as much water on Earth as we have ever had. Water cannot be destroyed, and it can always be made clean enough for drinking again. In fact, water can be made so clean that it actually becomes toxic. As Charles Fishman brings vibrantly to life in this delightful narrative excursion, water runs our world in a host of awe-inspiring ways, which is both the promise and the peril of our unexplored connections to it. Whether we will face a water scarcity crisis has little to do with water and everything to do with how we think about water-how we use it, connect with it, and understand it. Portraying and explaining both the dangers-in 2008, Atlanta came just ninety days from running completely out of drinking water-and the opportunities, such as advances in rainwater harvesting and businesses that are making huge breakthroughs in water productivity, The Big Thirst will forever change the way we think about water, our crucial relationship to it, and the creativity we can bring to ensuring we always have plenty of it.”

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Blue Future by Maude Barlow

“In her bestselling books Blue Gold and Blue Covenant, world-renowned water activist Maude Barlow exposed the battle for ownership of our dwindling water supply and the emergence of an international, grassroots-led movement to reclaim water as a public good. Since then, the United Nations has recognized access to water as a basic human right—but there is still much work to be done to stem this growing crisis. At a time when climate change has moved to the top of the national agenda and when the stage is being set for unprecedented drought, mass starvation, and the migration of millions of refugees in search of water, Blue Future is an urgent call to preserve our most valuable resource for generations to come.”

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