There is nothing more essential to our life on Earth than water. With over 70% of our planet covered in it, it’s easy to think that water is a plentiful resource and that we cannot run out. What many people don’t realize is that out of the 70%, only 3% of our world’s water is freshwater - what we need to drink, and irrigate our farms with. As if this wasn’t rare enough, about two-thirds of all freshwater is inaccessible, frozen in glaciers or unavailable for use.
We are in a climate crisis - from the water scandal in Flint, Michigan, to tainted water in rural Asian towns, to glaciers melting and oceans rising. Rivers are drying up, and our oceans are so polluted we’ve poisoned the fish. People around the world are struggling, and the planet is crying out for help. We are taxing our water systems, causing stress on the ecosystems that must thrive in order to support our growing populations. Humans have a responsibility to reduce our consumption rate and aggressively combat climate change, and the best way to get started is to get educated. Here are five best books to learn about the water crisis:
When the Rivers Run Dry
In When the Rivers Run Dry, author and science correspondent Fred Pearce documents his findings from his travels across over thirty countries, where he researched the conditions of local water resources and needs. Pearce tells a harrowing and haunting tale of the world water crisis through scientific, economic, and historic contexts. This phenomenally important book shows us how essential it is that we all take responsibility for our water usage, before all of our rivers run dry. When the Rivers Run Dry was named as one of the Top 50 Sustainability Books by University of Cambridge.
Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization
In this revolutionary book, author Steven Solomon paints a portrait of the power struggles, personalities, and developments that have led human life from the earliest civilizations, to the Industrial Revolution, to current dilemmas. “This novel explores the power of water as the most wealthy and critical resource, even more than oil. Today, the scarcity of freshwater and lack of political, economic, or environmental change will become apparent in this shocking account of the water crisis,” says Albert Green, a blog writer at Paper Fellows and Australian Help.
Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water
This is a tale of the relentless journey for water in the American West. In this book, Marc Reisner writes of the earliest settlers in the American West, who had been promised paradise, and the malevolent campaigns used by West Coast politicians and business interests to ensure the growth of cities like Los Angeles, despite the lack of resources. Cadillac Desert tells the tale of dammed rand diverted rivers, political corruption, and the economic greed over water rights.
A Thirsty Land
A Thirsty Land explores the origins, ramifications, and potential solutions of water scarcity in the US state of Texas. As a leader of the 21st century economy, the shortage of water in the Lone Star State is important to all Americans. This novel delves into issues of accessibility in terms of community and quality of life, while accounting for population growth and resource shortages. Seamus McGraw’s key point from this novel is that water is becoming the world’s most important commodity, and that society must shift from current practices in order to survive.
Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water
“A detailed examination of corruption and the story of how powerful corporations have, and continue to, gained ownership and control of the world’s depleting water supply,” says Natalie Ellis, a book blogger at BoomEssays and StateOfWriting. Blue Covenant is a shocking account of deprivation, as millions around the globe struggle to access basic resources, while corporations are accelerating the global water crisis. Barlow depicts the history of water battles internationally, and documents the fatal mistakes being made in the fight for the right to water.
In a time where climate change is becoming increasingly acknowledged as a worldwide crisis, many people are wondering where we went wrong and what we can do to reverse it. These five compelling books will help you understand these questions and give insight into what the next step is in securing our right to water.