Water, essential to the emergence and endurance of life on Earth, has both spurred technological advances and driven many types of conflict. For the first time in humanity's long history with water, we are starting to suffer the consequences of widespread unsustainable water use, and we soon will face a crucial collective choice about what future generations' interactions with water will look like.
Hydroclimatologist Peter Gleick has studied the issues at the intersection of water, climate change, security, and conflict for decades; he recently wrote The Three Ages of Water to bring together much of his life's work on how water has shaped the course of human history and why acting now is so vital for fostering a sustainable hydrologic future. David Priess hosted him for a conversation covering his early interest in hydrology, the importance of interdisciplinary studies for water issues, early civilizations' relationship with water, ancient epic flood stories, early legal codes' attention to water conflict, the scientific revolution's water impacts, water poverty, the difference between so-called water wars and conflicts involving water, Hollywood's portrayals of water conflicts, NASA's GRACE satellites, the peak water debate, the path to a more sustainable future, and more.
Among the works mentioned in this episode:
The book The Three Ages of Water by Peter Gleick
The article "Water and Conflict: Fresh Water Resources and International Security," International Security (1993) by Peter Gleick
The article "Environment and Security: The Clear Connections," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (2015) by Peter Gleick
The book Bottled and Sold by Peter Gleick
The Water Conflict Chronology project at the Pacific Institute
The Water at the Movies compilation by Peter Gleick
The movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
The movie Mad Max: Fury Road
The movie Waterworld
The movie Quantum of Solace
The movie V is for Vendetta
The movie Dune (1984)
The book Dune by Frank Herbert
Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited by Cara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad.
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