How water rules the world

Why should I care about water when I can get as much as I want from my kitchen sink? That question might sound very different if you lived in Flint, Michigan or in a region of the world experiencing severe drought.

Water is everything. Actually, water is shockingly bizarre in its properties and of unsurpassed importance throughout human history, yet so mundane as to often be invisible in our daily lives. Water shaped civilization. People are increasingly aware of the intimate role that water plays in our quality of life and our relationship with society and the environment. Water Is… The Indispensability of Water in Society and Lifeexplores the ways-big and small-that water rules the world. It provides a holistic perspective on water, capturing the full breadth of the science, technology, policy, history, and future outlook for the most important substance on earth, written at a level accessible to non-experts in each of these areas.

In the book’s foreword, New York Times bestselling author Seth Siegel (yes, a third Seth), distills what is so special about this volume. Siegel expresses a “wish that Water Is had been written when my interest in water began and morphed into infatuation and then into my life’s work. I’d have saved so much time running around and would have compactly learned so much, so quickly–and with the right emphasis.”

In Water Is…, the two Seths (Darling and Snyder) walk the reader through diverse perspectives on water. The journey begins with an exploration of the mysteries of water’s properties on the molecular level, zooming out through its central role at biological and geological scales. Next, the Seths travel through the history of human civilization, highlighting the fundamental part water has played throughout, including the complexities of water policy, privatization, and pricing in today’s world. Attention then turns to technology and innovation, emphasizing the daunting challenges dictated by increasing water stress and a changing climate as well as the enticing opportunities to achieve a secure global water future.

How do two scientists who work at an energy laboratory and live a stone’s throw from one of the most water-secure places in the world develop a passion for water? We hope Water Is…tells that story.


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