“It’s common knowledge that you can survive for weeks without food. But how long can you survive without water? A few days, at most. Human beings are mostly water and our planet is mostly water — indeed Earth is often called the ‘water planet,’ its blue seas and white cloudy mists forming the dominant features we see from space.
Yet in many ways water is scarce. Ninety-seven percent of the planet’s water is undrinkable seawater, and most of the rest is locked up in glaciers and ice caps, or falls in romote places. Even so, we’d have enough water if we hadn’t invented a staggering list of ways to pollute and squander our birthright.” Bill McKibben, in Water Matters.
Several organizations, including the Rocky Mountain Land Library, have joined together to celebrate our most precious natural resource. We’re still in the planning stages, but Water 2012 will be a year-long collaborative effort to promote awareness of the history, use, protection, and stewardship of Colorado’s water. Over the next few months, the Land Library will determine the best way we can contribute to this needed effort. (If you have ideas, please let us know!).
As of now, here’s three contributions we hope to make for Water 2012:
— The Land Library’s Rocky Mountain Land Series (in partnership with the Tattered Cover Book Store) will pay special attention to new books on water issues — we’re all ready seeing some excellent titles on the horizon!
— We have also created a new Water category for our blog-archives, and we’ll be doing many more posts on water in the West, its impact across the globe, and in our lives.
— Lastly, for now, we hope to add even more water titles to what is already one of the largest subject categories in the Land Library’s 25,000 volume collection.
Throughout the next many months, the Land Library hopes to learn much, much more about this critical issue. Stay tuned for more on Water 2012 and beyond!
Meanwhile, here are just a few of the books we’re already pulled from our shelves. Water Matters: Why We Need to Act Now to Save Our Most Critical Resource, edited by Tara Lohan (and pictured above) is an excellent place to begin. This collection gathers together essays by writers such as Maude Barlow, Barbara Kingsolver, Jacques Leslie, Bill McKibben, Sandra Postel, Elizabeth Royte, and more. A partial list of the essays included hints at the range of this thoughtful anthology: Why We Need a Water Ethic, Water in Myth & Religion, Acequias: Water Democracy in the U.S., A Short History of Dams, and Making Water a Human Right — all themes that we’ll return to in the year ahead.
And here’s a few more indispensable titles from the Land Library’s shelves:
Water: The Epic Struggle for Water, Power, and Civilization by Steven Solomon, Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What To Do About it by Robert Glennon, Dry Spring: The Coming Water Crisis of North America by Chris Wood
Ogallala Blue: Water and Life on the High Plains by William Ashworth, Water Consciousness: How We All Have to Change to Protect Our Most Critical Resource, edited by Tara Lohan, Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water by Maude Barlow.
“Anything else you’re interested in is not going to happen if you can’t breathe the air and drink the water. Don’t sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet.” — Carl Sagan, quoted in Water Matters.