natural resources | July 10, 2011

Charles Fishman: We Don't Have a Language for Talking About Water

You'd think humans couldn't screw up water, being a renewable resource and all, but as we learn from a recent Washington Post piece, “we squander it and defile it. Until, as we are increasingly finding, it is not there when we want it.” The article looks at three must-read books acting as viaducts for important water news, and one is The Big Thirst, by Lavin's own Charles Fishman.

Fishman is tapped for some interesting points, including the fact that water is very much limited to where it is found because of economic and weight restrictions. As Fishman highlights in his book, “if all Americans were to swear off bottled water, not one person in the world who desperately needed water would get it,” meaning local solutions need to be explored. Later, he points out that water is tough to grab hold of, and its definition is murky: “we don’t have a good language for talking about water, we don’t have a politics of water, or an economics of water.”

What we do have is Charles Fishman's knowledge of this precious resource. His speeches show audiences how to treat water as more than just what we drink. They help us appreciate water's vital role in the business sector, understand constraints in the developing world, and, ultimately, they leave us with a hopeful vision of how current wasteful ways can be curbed through ingenuity and conscientious stewardship.

Read more about water speaker Charles Fishman

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