When the Rivers Run Dry: Water, the Defining Crisis of the Twenty-first Century

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Beacon Press, 2006 - Nature - 324 pages
In this groundbreaking book, veteran science correspondent Fred Pearce travels to more than thirty countries to examine the current state of crucial water sources. Deftly weaving together the complicated scientific, economic, and historic dimensions of the world water crisis, he provides our most complete portrait yet of this growing danger and its ramifications for us all.

“A strong—and scary—case that a worldwide water shortage is the most fearful looming environmental crisis. With a drumbeat of facts both horrific (thousands of wells in India and Bangladesh are poisoned by fluoride and arsenic) and fascinating (it takes 20 tons of water to make one pound of coffee), the former New Scientist news editor documents a ‘kind of cataclysm’ already affecting many of the world’s great rivers.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Oil we can replace. Water we can’t—which is why this book is both so ominous and so important.” —Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature

“An enriching and farsighted work.” —Jai Singh, San Francisco Chronicle

“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.” —Booklist

“If you want to quickly get up to date on climate change and its consequences, I recommend With Speed and Violence: Why Scientists Fear Tipping Points in Climate Change. If you can read only one book on climate change, this is it.” —Lester Brown, president, Earth Policy Institute

“. . . perhaps it is time for you to spend some time with Fred Pearce and his wonderful When the Rivers Run Dry.” —Daily Kos, July Review

Fred Pearce has been writing about water issues for over twenty years. A former news editor at New Scientist and currently its environment and development consultant, he has also written for Audubon, Popular Science, Time, the Boston Globe, and Natural History. His books include With Speed and Violence, Turning Up the Heat, and Deep Jungle.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - RajivC - LibraryThing

This is a frightening book. It is also an extremely well researched and well-written book. We have a lot of knowledge. We have a lot of data, and yet we continue to do things that endanger our planet ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Devil_llama - LibraryThing

This book takes a mad rush through the water stressed regions of the world, stopping briefly at each point on the tour for a short look at the water issues of the area. This extensive geographical ... Read full review

Contents

The Human Sponge
7
North America Crossing the Rio Grande
13
Riding the Water Cycle
23
Pakistan The Unhappy Valley
31
When the rivers run drywe mine our childrens water
37
India A Colossal Anarchy
39
Halliburtons Job for Qaddafi
49
The Worlds Largest Mass Poisoning
53
The First Modern Water War
171
Swords of Damocles
179
When the rivers run drycivilizations fall
187
Elishas Spring and the Mysteries of Angkor
189
Losing the West
197
Aral Sea The End of the World
205
When the rivers run drywe go looking for new water
221
Taking the Water to the People
223

Mirages
61
When the rivers run drythe wet places die
69
The Common Wealth
71
Lake Chad Tragedy of the Floodplains
81
Seas of Death
93
Mekong Feel the Pulse
97
When the rivers run dryfloods may not be far behind
109
China The Hanging River
111
Changing Climate
127
When the rivers run dryengineers pour concrete
133
Wonders of the World
135
Sun Silt and Stagnant Ponds
145
Dams That Cause Floods
151
When the rivers run drymen go to war over water
157
Palestine Poisoning the Wells of Peace
159
Sewage on Tap
235
Closed Basins and Closed Minds
241
Out of Thin Air
249
When the rivers run drywe try to catch the rain
261
Catch the Rain
263
On the Grapevine
271
Unfailing Springs
277
When the rivers run drywe go with the flow
285
Learning to Love the Floods
287
Freeing Saddams Captives
297
More Crop Per Drop
303
Water Ethics
309
Index
317
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Fred Pearce is an award-winning author and journalist based in London. He has reported on environmental, science, and development issues from 85 countries over the past 20 years. An environment consultant at New Scientist magazine since 1992, he also writes regularly for the Guardian newspaper and Yale University's prestigious e360 website. Pearce was voted UK Environment Journalist of the Year in 2001 and CGIAR agricultural research journalist of the year in 2002, and he won a lifetime achievement award from the Association of British Science Writers in 2011. His many books include Falllout, With Speed and Violence, Confessions of an Eco-Sinner, The Coming Population Crash, and The Land Grabbers.

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