Because of climate change, the story of water in the U.S. is increasingly one of extremes. In the Midwest and along the East Coast, residents are erecting costly barriers to keep rising waters from overwhelming their communities. Meanwhile, the West is suffering from unthinkable shortages: places like Wichita Falls, Texas are expected to run out of groundwater in just a few short years.
Rachel’s Network will gather in Milwaukee in October to learn how we might address these serious challenges as funders and advocates. We are privileged to host some of the top advocates and scholars on water issues at this Fall Retreat. In advance of our Retreat, Rachel’s Network members shared their favorite books on water. Tell us about your own picks in the comments section below!
Blue Future: Protecting Water for People and the Planet Forever – Maude Barlow; Barlow, world-renowned water activist, draws on her extensive experience to show the way forward to a “water-secure and water-just world.” She argues that water must not become a commodity to be bought and sold on the open market. Focusing on solutions, she includes stories of struggle and resistance from marginalized communities, as well as government policies that work for both people and the planet.
Blue Mind – Wallace J. Nichols; Nichols combines cutting-edge neuroscience with compelling personal stories from top athletes, leading scientists, military veterans, and gifted artists to show how proximity to water can improve performance, increase calm, diminish anxiety, and increase professional success. (Recommended by Dane Nichols)
Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind our Obsession with Bottled Water – Peter Gleick; Bottled and Sold shows how water went from being a free natural resource to one of the most successful commercial products of the last one hundred years—and why we are poorer for it. (Recommended by Brigitte Kingsbury)
The Ripple Effect: The Fate of Fresh Water in 21st Century America – Alex Prud’homme; Fresh water will be the defining resource of the 21st Century. Experts call it “the next oil,” and predict water will be the focus of increased tension and great innovation in coming decades. In response, Prud’homme set out to discover how people across the U.S. and around the world are using and abusing water today – and how they are preparing for what the UN has deemed “the looming water crisis.” (Recommended by Ann Hunter-Welborn)
The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas – Jerry Dennis; This is the most complete book ever written about the history, nature, and science of these remarkable lakes at the heart of North America. From the geological forces that formed them to the industrial atrocities that nearly destroyed them, to the greatest environmental success stories of our time, the lakes are portrayed in all their complexity. (Recommended by Marianne Gabel)
Blue Revolution: Unmaking America’s Water Crisis – Cynthia Barnett; Blue Revolution exposes the truth about the water crisis—driven not as much by lawn sprinklers as by a tradition that has encouraged everyone, from homeowners to farmers to utilities, to tap more and more. But the book also offers much reason for hope. Award-winning journalist Cynthia Barnett argues that the best solution is also the simplest and least expensive: a water ethic for America.
And another water classic, “The Cadillac Desert” to see how water history in the western US evolved
And “Unquenchable” and “Water Follies” both by Robert Glennon.