Archives For Water

 

Thinking Theologically about Water

A Feature Review of

Just Water: Theology, Ethics, and the Global Water Crisis

Christiana Peppard

Paperback: Orbis Books, 2014
Buy now:   [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Myes Werntz
 
As I read Christiana Peppard’s timely and thoughtful Just Water: Theology, Ethics, and the Global Water Crisis, Texas is currently turning toward its long, brutal summer. Last year, despite ample rainfall, a number of growing regions throughout the state made the news because of what, to many, had seemed to be an impossible question—that drinking water from the aquifers beneath the cities was running short. As Peppard points out, fresh water—an unsubstitutable feature of every ecosystem —remains less than 2.5% of all available water in the world, and yet, it is treated as an endless commodity. But just the same, fresh water—one of the invisible, most taken-for-granted aspects of creation—is taken for granted, harvested at unsustainable rates worldwide. It is how to think and act about this global necessity that Peppard proposes to unpack in her volume.
 
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The Challenges of Water Management

A Review of

Thirst: Water and Power in the Ancient World

Steven Mithen

Hardback: Harvard UP, 2012
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Reviewed by Mary Bowling

 

Water is the stuff of life. No one, anywhere, ever, can live without it. For many of us it is simply there at the turn of a knob or push of a button without a second thought.  But for many more, and especially in the past few years, there have been serious issues relating to severe water shortages or devastating floods around the United States and the globe.  As Steven Mithen relates in Thirst, humans have been managing their water supply for millennia with varying degrees of success, but even with the relative sophistication of some of the early systems and the amazing strides that humans have made during recent history in controlling nearly every aspect of our built environment, sometimes water will still just do what it wants with us. Are there lessons we can learn from early societies about effective and sustainable water management, or are we doomed- as they all eventually were- to abandon our cities, disperse, and regroup in new forms to try it all over again?

 

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Today is the birthday of philosopher and social critic, Ivan Illich (1926-2002)

Below is a two-part video of a 1984 talk that he gave based on his book

H2O and the Waters of Forgetfulness.

Ivan Illich

Paperback: Marion Boyars, 2000.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Other Illich resources on the ERB Site:







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“An Ocean Epic for a Plastic Age

A review of
Moby-Duck:
The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea…

by Donovan Hohn
.

Review by Brent Aldrich.


MOBY DUCK - Donovan HohnMoby-Duck: The True Story
of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and
of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers,
Environmentalists, and Fools,
Including the Author,
Who Went in Search of Them.
Donovan Hohn.
Hardback: Viking Books, 2011.
Buy now:
[ Amazon – Hardback ]
[ Amazon – Kindle ]

If I had to, I could probably count the number of times I’ve seen the ocean on one hand… Four. Throw in the Gulf of Mexico and I might need to use two hands. The ocean doesn’t have a pressing daily reality for me, despite it occupying the majority of the earth’s surface, and with water increasingly becoming a contested resource. And even for folks who might dwell daily beside it, it seems difficult to image the scale of the ocean, or of the complicated web of causes and effects – economic, political, environmental – that make water a pressing issue. And so the question: how to make something as large and complex as the ocean fathomable? Even more, how to make it a thing for which we can feel affection?

Art, I think, can do such a thing. By drawing upon as many layers of complexity and detail and signification as possible, and crystallizing these into a single image, art can make particulars stand in for and relate to the whole. Although I tend to think most often in terms of visual arts, literature, of course, does this as well. Donovan Hohn’s Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them, reads as such a work. Although a long journalistic essay at heart, Moby-Duck’s elaborate and beautiful narrative, well-developed characters, and attention to the details that make any particular place what it is, turn this book into a delightful read.

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“The Constant Presence of Water

A review of
In Earshot of Water:
Notes from the Columbia Plateau
.
By Paul Lindholdt.

Reviewed by Sam Edgin.

[ Read an excerpt of this book… ]

IN EARSHOT OF WATER - Paul LindholdtIn Earshot of Water:
Notes from the Columbia Plateau
.
Paul Lindholdt.
Paperback: U. of Iowa Press, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

I sit here and I type away with my thoughts shifting every now and then towards the steady flow of Indiana’s White River, not four blocks east of my window. I fault Paul Lindholdt. His new book, In Earshot of Water: Notes From the Columbia Plateau revels in a constant presence of water, be it fresh, contaminated, frozen, still or flowing. Yet the book is not really about water. It is about conservation, about the last strongholds of American wilderness in the Pacific Northwest clinging dearly to the land they have held for centuries in the wake of industry, development,and technology. Sometimes it is even about the way they win. Lindholdt dances softly through his essays, often mirroring his considerations of the natural with events in his own life which bring him close to it. It is a subtly beautiful exploration into the relationship of humanity with ecology, all told in deeply personal prose, as if the reader were sitting beside Lindholdt’s sons for the campfire story times he mentions throughout the book.

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An excerpt from the lovely new book

In Earshot of Water:
Notes from the Columbia Plateau
.
Paul Lindholdt.
Paperback: U. of Iowa Press, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

[ Read our review above… ]