Taking both a scientific and philosophical approach to water in its myriad forms, this collection covers everything from resource management and protection to the profound mysteries of life's liquid. Writing on Water is part of the Terra Nova series of books, which is devoted to showing "that environmental issues are cultural and artistic as well as practical and political." True to that aim, the essays, stories, poems, and photographs in this enlightened and entertaining compendium cover a wide range of waterborne topics. In his essay "The Rarest Element," physicist Sidney Perkowitz explains that despite thousands of years of scientific advancement, our understanding of water "fails just as the questions get truly interesting.... [M]any of the most basic and familiar properties of water remain tantalizingly, and frustratingly, unexplained." In an excellent piece on the endlessly complicated world of water rights, Peter Warshall, editor of Whole Earth magazine, notes that for effective watershed governance, "you need the discipline of working rules and a good sense of humor. Admire humans and their leaky canteen-like bodies, and gently, firmly cover their greedy mouths before an insatiable thirst destroys the town." In "Rain," poet Joseph Bruchac celebrates water as the alpha and omega of life on earth: "Long before we / who walk, swim or fly / arrived / this pond was singing."
This impressive collection also features the writings of Bob Braine, Anne Collet, Robert Grudin, David Morse, Eva Salzman, and Octavio Paz, as well as the photographs of Adam David Clayman, Helen M. Ellis, Sally Gall, Margaret McCarthy, and Jerry Uelsmann, among others. Rich in scope and consistently rewarding, this book will be of interest both to those studying water issues and to those content to sit and watch the river flow. --Shawn Carkonen
Water links all aspects of our existence. From the politics of watersheds to the romance of turtles climbing up from the sea to the beaches, from Leonardo da Vinci to Octavio Paz, from death at a hot spring to the practicalities of liquidation, the writings in this collection reflect on many aspects of the human encounter with water.
The book contains some science, a few plans for managing and protecting water, and plenty of stories, poems, essays, and artwork. The writers include Bob Braine Robert Grudin, Wilson Harris, George Keithley, David Morse, Octavio Paz, physicist Sidney Perkowitz, Eva Salzman, Ted Steinberg, and Peter Warshall, editor of Whole Earth magazine. Photographers include Cyril Christo, Adam David Clayman, Monique Crépault, Helen M. Ellis, Sally Gall, Margaret McCarthy, Kristin Ordahl, Jerry Uelsmann, and Marie Wilkinson.
This is the second in a series of Terra Nova books from MIT Press, which aim to show that environmental issues are cultural and artistic as well as practical and political.
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