Water is essential for life; without water there can be no life. Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution & Profit by Vandana Shiva is a book that addresses the global water crisis that we are all a part of. Vandana Shiva, if you have never heard of her, is a wonderful Indian activist that is knowledgeable in so many aspects of the environment and politics, and so I always appreciate anything she has to say.
This book was published in 2002, so it is not exactly up-to-the-moment on all of the current water crises/happenings across the globe. However, all of the issues that she addresses are still issues today, and so I feel like this book is still an informative read even eight years later.
Water Wars addresses water rights and how different cultures have traditionally and currently dealt with owning the rights to water. It discusses water privatization, which is happening more and more in developing countries and how privatization takes away water from those who need it most. Water is a common resource, something that belongs to everyone and something that everyone needs. Allowing corporations to decide who gets water, and at what cost, is the demise of globalization.
Water Wars also addresses how climate change will affect water distribution and how greenhouse gasses released by developed countries will likely change water supplies for those in developing countries who have not contributed to global warming. Shiva talks about how dams disrupt water flow, ecosystems, and human life. Installation of large dams displaces a huge number of people; usually these people are poor and often indigenous, and they lose their lands and their livelihoods so that the already-rich and the large corporations can benefit through "progress". Shiva also addresses how water is so closely tied in with agriculture. During the green revolution, high yielding strains of crops were distributed throughout the world. These crops do yield more, but also depend heavily on fertilizer inputs (which are poisoning water, land and communities) and high water inputs. Traditional crops use much less water, and this shift towards these high yielding crops is essentially depleting water supplies across the globe, drying up wells and destroying lives.
This is a quick read that touches on many aspects of the world's water problems. Although I didn't come away from this book feeling quite as moved as after watching the movie FLOW, I still found it to be informative and packed full of good facts.
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