The Price of Thirst: Global Water Inequality and the Coming Chaos


Karen Piper - 2014
    The CEO of Nestlé, purveyor of bottled water, heartily agrees. It is important to give water a market value, he says in a promotional video, so “we're all aware that it has a price.” But for those who have no access to clean water, a fifth of the world's population, the price is thirst. This is the frightening landscape that Karen Piper conducts us through in The Price of Thirst—one where thirst is political, drought is a business opportunity, and more and more of our most necessary natural resource is controlled by multinational corporations.In visits to the hot spots of water scarcity and the hotshots in water finance, Piper shows us what happens when global businesses with mafia-like powers buy up the water supply and turn off the taps of people who cannot pay: border disputes between Iraq and Turkey, a “revolution of the thirsty” in Egypt, street fights in Greece, an apartheid of water rights in South Africa. The Price of Thirst takes us to Chile, the first nation to privatize 100 percent of its water supplies, creating a crushing monopoly instead of a thriving free market in water; to New Delhi, where the sacred waters of the Ganges are being diverted to a private water treatment plant, fomenting unrest; and to Iraq, where the U.S.-mandated privatization of water resources destroyed by our military is further destabilizing the volatile region. And in our own backyard, where these same corporations are quietly buying up water supplies, Piper reveals how “water banking” is drying up California farms in favor of urban sprawl and private towns.The product of seven years of investigation across six continents and a dozen countries, and scores of interviews with CEOs, activists, environmentalists, and climate change specialists, The Price of Thirst paints a harrowing picture of a world out of balance, with the distance between the haves and have-nots of water inexorably widening and the coming crisis moving ever closer.

Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization


Lester R. Brown - 2008
    The world faces many environmental trends of disruption and decline, including rising temperatures and spreading water shortage. In addition to these looming threats, we face the peaking of oil, annual population growth of 70 million, a widening global economic divide, and a growing list of failing states. The scale and complexity of issues facing our fast-forward world have no precedentWith Plan A, business as usual, we have neglected these issues overly long. In Plan B 3.0, Lester R. Brown warns that the only effective response now is a World War II-type mobilization like that in the United States after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Geography of Risk: Epic Storms, Rising Seas, and the Cost of America's Coasts


Gilbert M. Gaul - 2019
    history--but who bears the brunt of these monster storms?Consider this: Five of the most expensive hurricanes in history have made landfall since 2005: Katrina ($160 billion), Ike ($40 billion), Sandy ($72 billion), Harvey ($125 billion), and Maria ($90 billion). With more property than ever in harm's way, and the planet and oceans warming dangerously, it won't be long before we see a $250 billion hurricane. Why? Because Americans have built $3 trillion worth of property in some of the riskiest places on earth: barrier islands and coastal floodplains. And they have been encouraged to do so by what Gilbert M. Gaul reveals in The Geography of Risk to be a confounding array of federal subsidies, tax breaks, low-interest loans, grants, and government flood insurance that shift the risk of life at the beach from private investors to public taxpayers, radically distorting common notions of risk.These federal incentives, Gaul argues, have resulted in one of the worst planning failures in American history, and the costs to taxpayers are reaching unsustainable levels. We have become responsible for a shocking array of coastal amenities: new roads, bridges, buildings, streetlights, tennis courts, marinas, gazebos, and even spoiled food after hurricanes. The Geography of Risk will forever change the way you think about the coasts, from the clash between economic interests and nature, to the heated politics of regulators and developers.

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


Fred Pearce - 2006
    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. Named as one of the Top 50 Sustainability Books by University of Cambridges Programme for Sustainability Leadership and Greenleaf Publishing.

Dead Pool: Lake Powell, Global Warming, and the Future of Water in the West


James Lawrence Powell - 2008
    At present, Lake Powell is less than half full. Bathtub rings ten stories tall encircle its blue water; boat ramps and marinas lie stranded and useless. To refill it would require surplus water—but there is no surplus: burgeoning populations and thirsty crops consume every drop of the Colorado River. Add to this picture the looming effects of global warming and drought, and the scenario becomes bleaker still. Dead Pool, featuring rarely seen historical photographs, explains why America built the dam that made Lake Powell and others like it and then allowed its citizens to become dependent on their benefits, which were always temporary. Writing for a wide audience, Powell shows us exactly why an urgent threat during the first half of the twenty-first century will come not from the rising of the seas but from the falling of the reservoirs.

The Big Thirst: The Marvels, Mysteries & Madness Shaping the New Era of Water


Charles Fishman - 2010
    We will always have exactly as much water on Earth as we have ever had. Water cannot be destroyed, and it can always be made clean enough for drinking again. In fact, water can be made so clean that it actually becomes toxic. As Charles Fishman brings vibrantly to life in this delightful narrative excursion, water runs our world in a host of awe-inspiring ways, which is both the promise and the peril of our unexplored connections to it. Taking listeners from the wet moons of Saturn to the water-obsessed hotels of Las Vegas, and from a rice farm in the Australian outback to a glimpse into giant vats of soup at Campbell's largest factory, he reveals that our relationship to water is conflicted and irrational, neglected and mismanaged. Whether we will face a water scarcity crisis has little to do with water and everything to do with how we think about water-how we use it, connect with it, and understand it.Portraying and explaining both the dangers-in 2008, Atlanta came just ninety days from running completely out of drinking water-and the opportunities, such as advances in rainwater harvesting and businesses that are making huge breakthroughs in water productivity, The Big Thirst will forever change the way we think about water, our crucial relationship to it, and the creativity we can bring to ensuring we always have plenty of it.

The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World?


Joel Kovel - 2002
    Kovel also criticizes existing ecological politics for their evasion of capital, and advances a vision of ecological production as the successor to capitalist production.

Bring On The Apocalypse


George Monbiot - 2008
    George Monbiot is admired for his unquenchable thirst for truth and an assured nose for spin. In this series of essays on money, religion, war, power, culture and nature, he explains why we are heading into an uncertain future in which peace and sound politics are paramount to our survival. From his attack on the countries that deny the existence of global warming to his rally against the injustices of the Iraq war, Monbiot turns his gaze on the aspects of modernity that most endanger the prevailing world order. With characteristic precision, he offers unassailable proof that the desecration of the resources on which we all depend threatens the peace, equality - and very existence - of humanity. Bring on the Apocalypse is an urgent wake-up call that we cannot afford to ignore.

Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly


James McWilliams - 2009
    Should we eat locally? Is organic really better for the environment? Can genetically modified foods be good for you? JUST FOOD does for fresh food what Fast Food Nation (Houghton Mifflin, 2001) did for fast food, challenging conventional views, and cutting through layers of myth and misinformation. For instance, an imported tomato is more energy-efficient than a local greenhouse-grown tomato. And farm-raised freshwater fish may soon be the most sustainable source of protein. Informative and surprising, JUST FOOD tells us how to decide what to eat, and how our choices can help save the planet and feed the world.

Good News for a Change: How Everyday People are Helping the Planet


David Suzuki - 2001
    In this thoughtful look at what’s happening behind the grim headlines, authors David Suzuki and Holly Dressel show that thousands of individuals, groups, and businesses are already changing their ways. They highlight the growing number of profitable companies with a positive presence in their communities, activists and Third World villages practicing true participatory democracy, farmers and ranchers sharing their land with other species — even some governments, local and national, basing economic development on an eco-friendly model. The technologies needed to make a better world, say the authors, are already within reach — and being used. This practical, inspiring guide to saving the planet is based on the true stories of ordinary people who are doing it every day.

Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital


Jason W. Moore - 2015
    Climate. Food. Work. How are the crises of the twenty-first century connected? In Capitalism in the Web of Life, Jason W. Moore argues that the sources of today’s global turbulence have a common cause: capitalism as a way of organizing nature, including human nature. Drawing on environmentalist, feminist, and Marxist thought, Moore offers a groundbreaking new synthesis: capitalism as a “world-ecology” of wealth, power, and nature. Capitalism’s greatest strength—and the source of its problems—is its capacity to create Cheap Natures: labor, food, energy, and raw materials. That capacity is now in question. Rethinking capitalism through the pulsing and renewing dialectic of humanity-in-nature, Moore takes readers on a journey from the rise of capitalism to the modern mosaic of crisis. Capitalism in the Web of Life shows how the critique of capitalism-in-nature—rather than capitalism and nature—is key to understanding our predicament, and to pursuing the politics of liberation in the century ahead.

The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won't Tell You about Global Warming


Roger A. Pielke Jr. - 2010
    In The Climate Fix, Pielke offers a way to repair climate policy, shifting the debate away from meaningless targets and toward a revolution in how the world’s economy is powered, while de-fanging the venomous politics surrounding the crisis. The debate on global warming has lost none of its power to polarize and provoke in a haze of partisan vitriol. The Climate Fix will bring something new to the discussions: a commonsense perspective and practical actions better than any offered so far.

Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA


E.G. Vallianatos - 2014
    They may not be printed in the menu, but many are in your food.These are a few of the literally millions of pounds of approved synthetic substances dumped into the environment every day, not just in the US but around the world. They seep into our water supply, are carried thousands of miles by wind and rain from the site of application, remain potent long after they are deposited, and constitute, in the words of one scientist, “biologic death bombs with a delayed time fuse and which may prove to be, in the long run, as dangerous to the existence of mankind as the arsenal of atom bombs.” All of these poisons are sanctioned--or in some cases, ignored--by the EPA.For twenty-five years E.G. Vallianatos saw the EPA from the inside, with rising dismay over how pressure from politicians and threats from huge corporations were turning it from the public's watchdog into a "polluter's protection agency." Based on his own experience, the testimony of colleagues, and hundreds of documents Vallianatos collected inside the EPA, Poison Spring reveals how the agency has continually reinforced the chemical-industrial complex.Writing with acclaimed environmental journalist McKay Jenkins, E.G. Vallianatos provides a devastating exposé of how the agency created to protect Americans and our environment has betrayed its mission. Half a century after after Rachel Carson's Silent Spring awakened us to the dangers of pesticides, we are poisoning our lands and waters with more toxic chemicals than ever.

Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman: Conservation Heroes of the American Heartland


Miriam Horn - 2016
    What drives them is their deep love of the land: the iconic terrain where explorers and cowboys, pioneers and riverboat captains forged the American identity. They feel a moral responsibility to preserve this heritage and natural wealth, to ensure that their families and communities will continue to thrive.Unfolding as a journey down the Mississippi River, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman tells the stories of five representatives of this stewardship movement: a Montana rancher, a Kansas farmer, a Mississippi riverman, a Louisiana shrimper, and a Gulf fisherman. In exploring their work and family histories and the essential geographies they protect, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman challenges pervasive and powerful myths about American and environmental values.

A Spring without Bees: How Colony Collapse Disorder Has Endangered Our Food Supply


Michael Schacker - 2008
    In a riveting detective story that melds science and politics, Michael Schacker investigates the case of the missing bees, examining the many theories on the cause, including cell phones, mites, new pathogens, and bee management.