Synopses & Reviews
In this earnest but uneven volume environmental writer Schwartz (Cows Save the Planet) places water in a wide human and ecological context focusing on “innovators from around the world who are finding new routes to water security.” She looks for example at the work of Allan Savory who calls for a holistic approach to land stewardship and restoration. Schwartz describes how improperly managed water and soil lead to “poverty crop failure social breakdown unrest and repression” and she travels to Zimbabwe “to see holistic planned grazing in action.” In California Schwartz addresses the ongoing drought. She notes that large percentages of the state’s water supply go to agriculture and wonders whether it is smart to grow “thirsty crops like rice cotton and alfalfa in a mostly dry often hot landscape.” When farmers in the Imperial Valley ship alfalfa to China to feed cows there they are essentially “exporting water—which the region can ill afford to spare.” Other chapters cover the relationship between water and Rio de Janeiro’s Tijuca Forest as well as the water crises in São Paulo Brazil and Kimberley Australia. Some sections prove less engaging than others but Schwartz does well to highlight this timely important topic. Agent: Laura Gross Laura Gross Literary. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
Water scarcity is on everyone's mind. Long taken for granted, water availability has entered the realm of economics, politics, and people's food and lifestyle choices. But as anxiety mounts - even as a swath of California farmland has been left fallow and extremist groups worldwide exploit the desperation of people losing livelihoods to desertification - many are finding new routes to water security with key implications for food access, economic resilience, and climate change.
Water does not perish, nor require millions of years to form as do fossil fuels. However, water is always on the move. In this timely, important book, Judith D. Schwartz presents a refreshing perspective on water that transcends zero-sum thinking. By allying with the water cycle, we can revive lush, productive landscapes. Like the river in rural Zimbabwe that, thanks to restorative grazing, now flows miles further than in living memory. Or the food forest of oranges, pomegranates, and native fruit-bearing plants in Tucson, grown through harvesting urban wastewater. Or the mini-oasis in West Texas nourished by dew.
Animated by stories from around the globe, Water In Plain Sight is an inspiring reminder that fixing the future of our drying planet involves understanding what makes natural systems thrive.