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Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Droughtby James G. Workman
Synopses & Reviews
The dramatic story of the Bushmen of the Kalahari is a cautionary tale about water in the twenty-first century and offers unexpected solutions for our time.
We don't govern water. Water governs us, writes James G. Workman. I n Heart of Dryness, he chronicles the memorable saga of the famed Bushmen of the Kalahari remnants of one of the world's most successful civilizations, today at the exact epicenter of Africa's drought in their widely publicized recent battle with the government of Botswana, in the process of exploring the larger story of what many feel has become the primary resource battleground of the twenty-first century: the supply of water.
The Bushmen's story could well prefigure our own. In the United States, even the most upbeat optimists concede we now face an unprecedented water crisis. Reservoirs behind large dams on the Colorado River, which serve thirty million in many states, will be dry in thirteen years. Southeastern drought recently cut Tennessee Valley Authority hydropower in half, exposed Lake Okeechobee's floor, dried up thousands of acres of Georgia's crops, and left Atlanta with sixty days of water. Cities east and west are drying up. As reservoirs and aquifers fail, officials ration water, neighbors snitch on one another, corporations move in, and states fight states to control shared rivers.
Each year, around the world, inadequate water kills more humans than AIDS, malaria, and all wars combined. Global leaders pray for rain. Bushmen tap more pragmatic solutions. James G . Workman illuminates the present and coming tensions we will all face over water and shows how, from the remoteness of the Kalahari, an ancient and resilient people is showing the world a viable path through the encroaching Dry Age.
About the Author
James G. Workman began his career as a journalist in Washington, D.C., for the New Republic, Washington Monthly, Utne Reader, Orion, and other publications. H e was a speechwriter in the Clinton administration, working closely with Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, and steering the “dambuster” campaign to tear down river-killing dams. He helped edit and launch the report of the World Commission on Dams, and spent two years filing monthly dispatches on water scarcity in Africa, work which formed the basis of a National Public Radio show and documentary. He is now a water consultant to politicians, businesses, aid agencies, development institutions, and conservation organizations on four continents. He lives with his wife and children in San Francisco.
Table of Contents
Kalahari rivals — Crossing the threshold — Intransigent eve — The desiccation of Eden — Besieged and besieger — The rule of water — Dispersal — Forage or farm? — Quest for meat — Survival of the driest — Water for elephants only — The paradox of bling — Oriented against the sun — Cradling every drop — The reckoning — Haggling over the source of all life — Human rights, water wrongs — Primal instincts and the realpolitik of water — Intimations of genocide — Escalation of terrorist activity — An open heart — Release — The verdict — The end of the beginning — What would Bushmen do?.
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History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology