|About Blue Revolution
(Beacon Press, September 2011)
In Blue Revolution, award-winning journalist Cynthia Barnett reports on the many ways one of the most water-rich nations on the planet has squandered its way to scarcity, and argues the best solution is also the simplest and least expensive: a water ethic for America.
From backyard waterfalls and grottoes in California to sinkholes swallowing chunks of Florida, Blue Revolution exposes how the nation’s green craze largely missed water – the No. 1 environmental concern of most Americans. But the book is big on inspiration, too. Blue Revolution combines investigative reporting with solutions from around the nation and the globe. From San Antonio to Singapore, Barnett shows how local communities and entire nations have come together in a shared ethic to dramatically reduce consumption and live within their water means.
The first book to call for a national water ethic, Blue Revolution is also a powerful meditation on water and community in America.
(University of Michigan Press, April 2007)
Florida’s parched swamps and sprawling subdivisions set the stage for a look at water crisis throughout the American East, from water-diversion threats in the Great Lakes to tapped-out freshwater aquifers along the Atlantic seaboard.
Part investigative journalism, part environmental history, Mirage shows how the eastern half of the nation – historically so wet that early settlers predicted it would never even need irrigation – has squandered so much of its abundant fresh water that it now faces shortages and conflicts once unique to the arid West.
Told through a colorful cast of characters including Walt Disney, Jeb Bush and Texas oilman Boone Pickens, Mirage ferries the reader through the key water-supply issues facing America and the globe: water wars, the politics of development, inequities in the price of water, the bottled-water industry, privatization, and new-water-supply schemes.
In the twentieth century, all Americans footed the bill for enormous dams and reservoirs that subsidized development in the bone-dry west. Barnett shows how in the twenty-first, U.S. taxpayers, whether they know it or not, are funding huge new waterworks such as desalination plants to quench the population shift underway to the nation’s Sunbelt.
From its calamitous opening scene of a sinkhole swallowing a house in Florida to its concluding meditation on the relationship between water and the American character, Mirage is a compelling and timely portrait of the use and abuse of freshwater in an era of rapidly vanishing natural resources.