We all need water to survive, yet how many of us take it for granted as a natural and always-replenished resource? How many of us just assume it will always be there, for our usage, whenever we want it? Those assumptions are being challenged every day by greedy corporations and corrupt governments who desire to privatize water, and in entrepreneur and activist Anita Roddick’s disturbing and enlightening book Troubled Water, we find out why.
Filled with facts, statistics and essays by some of the environmental movement’s leading voices, including Greenpeace, Oxfam and Robert Kennedy, Jr., Troubled Water documents the global water crisis with eye-opening information accompanied by photographs from all over the world that truly bring home the coming crisis. We learn all about why the wars of the next century will be fought over water, according to current World Bank Vice President Ismail Serageldin, and we find out which major governments and corporations are working to privatize water as fresh water supplies hit low levels, signaling a crisis that could rival global warming. In fact, the two crises seem to go hand in hand, as the Pentagon recently reported that by 2020, several major American cities could be underwater because of climate warming. Other nations will see severe droughts that will lead to civil wars, violence, and extreme poverty due to major water shortages.
This colorful and boldly photographed book covers everything from where water comes from, how damming works and how it ruins rivers, how poisons and pollution are draining our fresh water resources, what goes into bottled water, just how many millions (1.4 billion, actually) of people lack access to clean water, how recycling is and isn’t working, and every other subject possibly related to water use and abuse. The statistics are numbing and frightening, especially when we are warned that water consumption will increase over forty percent by 2020 - and we have no idea where it will come from, and who will control it.
We also learn all of the myths our governments and corporations, working in tandem, are telling us about why privatization of water will be so wonderful (kinda like what Bush is saying about privatizing Social Security), but this book presents the truth behind those lies and the picture is one of greed, greed and more greed. Privatizing water will make it a commodity available only to those who can afford its high open market prices.
But Troubled Water isn’t just a book about the bad news. It presents facts to empower us all to get out and work to change the way we use, and abuse, water, and to keep our governments and corporations in check so that water remains a right to all people, not a market product only for the rich and powerful. And this book, part of the "Take It Personally" series, also provides ideas and resources for activism so concerned citizens can make their voices known in the political arena and in the media, armed with all the knowledge they will need to bring about effective change.
Anita Roddick and her team of essayists who put this outstanding book together must be congratulated, for they are at the forefront of a problem that is just beginning to make the news. Water, and our ability to get hold of it, is the oil of the next generation – and if we don’t take heed of the information this book presents, we will all lose…except for the powerful, the greedy and the corrupt. Think about that the next time you take a ten-minute shower for granted.