When the Rivers Run Dry - Water--The Defining Crisis of the Twenty-first Century
When the Rivers Run Dry: Water--The Defining Crisis of the Twenty-first Century
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Throughout history, rivers have been our foremost source of fresh water both for agriculture and for individual consumption, but now economists say that by 2025 water scarcity will cut global food production by more than the current U.S. grain harvest. In this groundbreaking book, veteran science correspondent Fred Pearce focuses on the dire state of the world's rivers to provide our most complete portrait yet of the growing world water crisis and its ramifications for us all.
Pearce traveled to more than thirty countries while researching When the Rivers Run Dry, examining the current state of crucial water sources like the Indus River in Pakistan, the Colorado River in the United States, and the Yellow and Yangzte rivers in China. Pearce deftly weaves together the complicated scientific, economic, and historic dimensions of the water crisis, showing us its complex origins-from waste to wrong-headed engineering projects to high-yield crop varieties that have saved developing countries from starvation but are now emptying their water reserves. He reveals the most daunting water issues we face today, among them the threat of flooding in China's Yellow River, where rising silt levels will prevent dykes from containing floodwaters; the impoverishment of Pakistan's Sindh, a once-fertile farming valley now destroyed by the 14 million tons of salt that the much-depleted Indus deposits annually on the land but cannot remove; the disappearing Colorado River, whose reservoirs were once the lifeblood of seven states but which could dry up as soon as 2007; and the poisoned springs of Palestine and the Jordan River, where Israeli control of the water supply has only fed conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
The situation is dire, but not without remedy. Pearce argues that the solution to the growing worldwide water shortage is not more and bigger dams but greater efficiency and a new water ethic based on managing the water cycle for maximum social benefit rather than narrow self-interest.
Review By: Bill McKibben, Author of The End of Nature - September 1, 2005
"Oil we can replace. Water we can't-which is why this book is both so ominous and so important."
Review By: Maude Barlow, coauthor of Blue Gold - September 1, 2005
"The growing global water crisis represents the greatest ecological and human rights crisis of our time. Fred Pearce has helped sound the alarm with this passionate, knowledgeable, and thoroughly researched book. A veteran reporter, Pearce cuts to the heart of the crisis and tells the human stories behind what can be soul-numbing facts. A great contribution."
Review By: James Speth, dean, Yale School of Forestry and Environ'l Studies - September 1, 2005
"Fred Pearce is an artist with a pen, writing beautifully and movingly about an emerging crisis that will galvanize the world's attention. Combine the water issue Pearce so cogently presents with the threat of global climate disruption and you have what's waiting for us if we don't respond-the perfect storm of the environment."
Review By: Lester Brown, president, Earth Policy Institute - September 1, 2005
"Carefully researched and clearly written, When the Rivers Run Dry is a landmark contribution to our understanding of the deteriorating world water situation. It is Fred Pearce at his best."
Review By: Catherine Caufield, author of Masters of Illusion - September 1, 2005
"These stories of floods, failed crops, engineering marvels, misplaced people, misspent monies, and backroom deals are fascinating in themselves, but Fred Pearce has done us all a good turn by bringing them together to show us what we will face if we allow ignorance or indifference to determine the future of water."
Review San Francisco Chronicle - April 2, 2006
"Pearce does a masterful job of describing the raft of problems that drying rivers cause. . . . Pearce's anecdotes and examples are meticulously catalogued. . . . When the Rivers Run Dry
is a timely book on an underreported issue. In an ideal world it would have a large audience here and abroad. . . .Those who patiently take Pearce's tour through the global water crisis will be treated to an enriching and farsighted work."
Review By: Carol Haggas, Booklist - March 28, 2006
"Former New Science
news editor Pearce cogently presents the alarming ways in which this ecological emergency is affecting population centers, human health, food production, wildlife habitats, and species viability. Having crisscrossed the globe to research the economic, scientific, cultural, and political causes and ramifications of this under publicized tragedy, Pearce's powerful imagery, penetrating analyses, and passionate advocacy make this required reading for environmental proponents and civic leaders everywhere."
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