The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water

The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water Author Charles Fishman
ISBN-10 1439102082
ISBN-13 9781439102084
Year 2012-02-14
Pages 402
Language English
Publisher Free Press
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The water coming out of your kitchen tap is four billion years old and might well have been sipped by a Tyrannosaurus rex Rather than only three states of waterliquid ice and vaporthere is a fourth molecular water fused into rock 400 miles deep in the Earth and thats where most of the planets water is found Unlike most precious resources water cannot be used up it can always be made clean enough again to drinkindeed water can be made so clean that its toxic Water is the most vital substance in our lives but also more amazing and mysterious than we appreciate As Charles Fishman brings vibrantly to life in this surprising and mind changing narrative water runs our world in a host of awe inspiring ways yet we take it completely for granted But the era of easy water is over Bringing readers on a lively and fascinating journeyfrom the wet moons of Saturn to the water obsessed hotels of Las Vegas where dolphins swim in the desert and from a rice farm in the parched Australian outback to a high tech IBM plant that makes an exotic breed of pure water found nowhere in natureFishman vividly shows that weve already left behind a century long golden age when water was thoughtlessly abundant free and safe and entered a new era of high stakes water In 2008 Atlanta came within ninety days of running entirely out of clean water California is in a desperate battle to hold off a water catastrophe And in the last five years Australia nearly ran out of waterand had to scramble to reinvent the countrys entire water system But as dramatic as the challenges are the deeper truth Fishman reveals is that there is no good reason for us to be overtaken by a global water crisis We have more than enough water We just dont think about it or use it smartly The Big Thirst brilliantly explores our strange and complex relationship to water We delight in watching waves roll in from the ocean we take great comfort from sliding into a hot bath and we will pay a thousand times the price of tap water to drink our preferred brand of the bottled version We love waterbut at the moment we dont appreciate it or respect it Just as weve begun to reimagine our relationship to food a change that is driving the growth of the organic and local food movements we must also rethink how we approach and use water The good news is that we can As Fishman shows a host of advances are under way from the simplicity of harvesting rainwater to the brilliant innovations devised by companies such as IBM GE and Royal Caribbean that are making impressive breakthroughs in water productivity Knowing what to do is not the problem Ultimately the hardest part is changing our water consciousness As Charles Fishman writes Many civilizations have been crippled or destroyed by an inability to understand water or manage it We have a huge advantage over the generations of people who have come before us because we can understand water and we can use it smartly The Big Thirst will forever change the way we think about water about our essential relationship to it and about the creativity we can bring to ensuring that well always have plenty of it

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