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Blue Revolution: Unmaking America's Water Crisis Hardcover – September 20, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (September 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807003174
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807003176
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #984,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Barnett takes us back to the origins of our water in much the same way, with much the same vividness and compassion as Michael Pollan led us from our kitchens to potato fields and feed lots of modern agribusiness." --Los Angeles Times

"Eminently sensible ... Barnett does not come off as a Cassandra, shrieking about looming cataclysm and dumping figures over her readers' heads. In 'Blue Revolution' she is part journalist, part mom, part historian, and part optimist, and as a result her text comes off as anything but a polemic." --The Boston Globe


“Our future depends on the Blue Revolution that Cynthia Barnett advocates, for, as the ancients knew long before modern science did, 'Water is life.'”—New York Journal of Books

“Thorough and packed with data.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Barnett’s clarion call to her fellow citizens imagines an America where it’s ethically wrong to waste water. Using compelling stories from around the globe, she shows that America’s future depends upon our coming to value water – not only in the price we pay, but with profound appreciation for each drop.”—Robert Glennon, author of Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What to Do About It

“The roots of a new water ethic are found in the practices of millions of individuals, businesses, and other organizations around the world. Barnett shows how good water use practices can go viral, with massive benefits for society and nature. Blue Revolution offers affordable, practical, down-to-earth solutions for America’s water crisis.”—Stephen R. Carpenter, Director of the Center for Limnology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Winner of the 2011 Stockholm Water Prize
 
“The book provides an eye-opening overview of the complexity of our water-use problems and offers optimistic but practical solutions.”—Publishers Weekly  
 
“As Aldo Leopold is to the land ethic, Cynthia Barnett is to the water ethic. Her important and hopeful new book is rich with stories about innovative water projects around the world, demonstrating that we can choose thrift over waste, water gardens over cement ditches, local projects over mega-industries, smart over incredibly, stubbornly, self-destructively stupid. She calls us to a respectful water use that restores our spirits, even as it creates thriving biocultural communities. If you use water, you should read Blue Revolution.”—Kathleen Dean Moore, coeditor of Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril
 
“Aldo Leopold helped found twentieth-century American environmental thinking with his call for a land ethic. Barnett has done a great service by calling for a twenty-first-century water ethic. She tackles America’s illusion of water abundance in the way past thinkers attacked our old ideas about an endless western frontier. Of the new crop of books on water, this one may be the most important.”—Fred Pearce, author of When the Rivers Run Dry

About the Author

Cynthia Barnett is a long-time journalist whose awards include a national Sigma Delta Chi prize for investigative magazine reporting and eight Green Eyeshades, which recognize outstanding journalism in the Southeast. Her first book, Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S., won the gold medal for best nonfiction in the Florida Book Awards and was a “One Region/One Book” selection in thirty Florida counties. Barnett earned a master’s degree in environmental history and was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan, where she spent a year studying water. She lives with her family in Gainesville, Florida.

More About the Author

Cynthia Barnett is a long-time journalist who has reported on freshwater from the Suwannee River to Singapore. Her new book, "Rain: A Natural and Cultural History," is scheduled for release by Crown/Penguin Random House in April 2015. Ms. Barnett's first book, "Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S." won the gold medal for best nonfiction in the Florida Book Awards and was named by The Tampa Bay Times as one of the top 10 books that every Floridian should read. Her "Blue Revolution: Unmaking America's Water Crisis" was named by The Boston Globe as one of the top 10 science books of 2011.

The Globe describes Ms. Barnett's author persona as "part journalist, part mom, part historian, and part optimist." The Los Angeles Times writes that she "takes us back to the origins of our water in much the same way, with much the same vividness and compassion as Michael Pollan led us from our kitchens to potato fields and feed lots of modern agribusiness."

Ms. Barnett has worked for newspapers and magazines for 25 years. Her numerous journalism awards include a national Sigma Delta Chi prize for investigative magazine reporting and eight Green Eyeshades, which recognize outstanding journalism in 11 southeastern states. She earned her bachelor's degree in journalism and master's in environmental history, both from the University of Florida, and spent a year as a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan. She lives with her family in Gainesville, Florida.

For more information, please visit the author's website at www.cynthiabarnett.net.

Photographer Photo Credit Name: Gregg Matthews, 2012.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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This book is well researched and well written.
KC
I love Barnett's statement near the end of this chapter, "The blue revolution does not turn away from agriculture; it is a water ethic for agriculture."
Just Me
In this book Barnett demonstrates the positive consequences and necessity of such actions.
Charles Ashbacher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Valerie I. Nelson, Water Alliance on September 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Cynthia Barnett has written a compelling and engaging book. When Barnett called me last fall, I was impressed with her call for a new water ethic grounded in the work of Aldo Leopold. Now that I've read her new book, I can see why she's won awards as a Florida-based investigative reporter. One in-depth case study after another -- the Everglades, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the Netherlands, Australia, and even the new water cluster in Milwaukee -- offer a solid political-economy diagnosis of how we've created a water crisis through big engineering projects and profligate use. Her prescriptions are resonant with our Baltimore Charter for Sustainable Water Systems ([...]) -- a strong water ethic, efficient use and recycling, local management and natural systems, and multi-stakeholder and public collaboration. Perhaps the most eye-opening chapter for me was called "The Water-Industrial Complex," where Barnett describes how water and wastewater engineering has increasingly been consolidated by global conglomerates, and she tracks how these firms influence government policy and spending to maximize their profits just like other big business in America, through campaign contributions. The problem is they think they will make the most money for large, disruptive water supply and wastewater systems. Perhaps we should take more time in "following the money trail." This book is a must read!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Gaetan Lion on October 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In summary, this book is well researched and informative. However, Cynthia Barnett excludes from her investigation the national positive trend in water conservation. And, her recommendations are too vague. It is also boring, especially in comparison with Marc Reisner Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water, Revised Edition that is twice as long.

Cynthia Barnett indicates that the largest user of water is electric utilities. Within our information world, technology = rising electricity consumption = water constraints. Thus, our civilization relying on information bits ultimately runs on water.

Barnett, just like Reisner did 25 years ago, confirms agriculture is the most wasteful sector with the greatest potential for water conservation. American irrigation benefits from wasteful $4.4 billion subsidies. A good deal of those are applied to rice; half of which is exported. Wasting water on exporting rice is incoherent. California is the largest agricultural state. Yet, agriculture accounts for only 4% of the State GDP and even far less of its employment.

Barnett indicates the Green Revolution is not Blue. Many alternative energies are huge water guzzlers. It takes 10 times as much water to generate power for a plug-in electric vehicle as to produce gasoline for a regular car. Ethanol consumes 20 times as much water for every mile traveled than regular gasoline. Large scale concentrating solar power (CSP) plants are very water intensive.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brian M. Ranzoni VINE VOICE on November 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Note: This review is based on a Beacon Press Uncorrected Proof, and is subject to change.

I'm a big fan of Frank Herbert's seminal novel *Dune*. A book reveling in central ironies--a desert planet that is the source of the greatest riches in the known universe, yet utterly poor in water. Such is the detail of the story that housekeepers sell droppings to beggars from wrung rags, while local water merchants have great power over the spice barons who ostensibly grow fat from the rest of the universe. The parallel, of course, is to the oil-rich and water-poor Middle East.

Here in the West, journalist Cynthia Barnett perceives that we don't have a water ethic to go with our energy ethic. Much ink has been spilled and tax dollars spent over alternatives and enhancements to hydrocarbons. Yet hydrology is getting a short shrift, even as we try to power our yard fountains and swimming pools through deep summer droughts. While Frank Herbert planted a seed of an ethic, it lay dormant until I took a chance on another book.

Barnett's *Blue Revolution* is an accessible, jam-packed and somewhat disorganized look at an underrated companion to Green thinking. It isn't a hard science book of water engineering, but an investigative journalism of dozens of problems around the world. It emphasizes a change in American attitudes as the gateway to the solutions in our own country.

At the industrial heart of the book, water and energy problems are linked. Electricity requires water circulation requires electricity--all of it in large doses. Energy of any kind must also compete with agriculture for the biggest pieces of the aqua pie. Power plants return much of their water at elevated temperatures. Agriculture hardly returns water at all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Veronica Wright on August 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very informative book. The info here has helped me to understand issues with our water and be more mindful of my water use.
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