The human story is inextricably linked to water. Without air, we cannot exist. But how we exist, how we sustain ourselves, where we build our societies, how we support our industry, and ultimately what we poison and spoil is the story of people and water.
In The Three Ages of Water, expert on water resources and climate change Peter Gleick guides us through the long, fraught history of our most valuable resource. Spread over a ten-thousand-year human history,  it begins with the fundamental evolutionary role water had in shaping early civilizations and empires, crests to the scientific and social revolutions that created modern society, and spills into the global water crisis of depleted groundwater reserves and ubiquitous pollution. Agriculture thrived only after irrigation; cities were possible only with clean water supplied from aqueducts and wastewater safely removed; the industrial revolution was initially dependent on steam. Many of the world’s great cities – London, Rio, Buenos Aires, New York, Rome, Athens, Venice – are water cities, where ships made possible seafaring, explorations, commerce and exchange. Even the most landlocked cities of the world owe their existence to water – in the form of lakes and rivers.
Fresh water is never more valuable than when it is missing:  wildfires in California, British Columbia and Siberia thrived because of desiccation. Flint, MI,  was slowly poisoned by a decayed source of safe drinking water.  The Cuyahoga River caught fire in 1968, the Meiyu River, China, in 2014, the Bellandur Lake, India, in 2015; they all looked apocalyptic. We now face a fight to preserve clean water globally, a fight we cannot afford to lose.  

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“The honest name for our lovely blue planet probably should have been Water, since it covers most of the globe. And as Peter Gleick makes clear in this sweeping, unprecedented, and positively necessary new book, our chances for a workable future depend on how seriously we take the oceans, lakes, rivers, and aquifers that surround us—indeed, that fill our own cells. This book will change your outlook in deep and motivating ways.”—Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature
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Meet The Author: Peter Gleick

Peter Gleick is perhaps the world’s most widely known and widely cited water expert. Educated at Yale and Berkeley, he went on to co-found the Pacific Institute, the leading independent research group devoted to finding solutions to the world’s most pressing water problems. He is a scientist by training, winner of a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” award, and an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. In 2018 he was awarded the Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization. He lives in Berkeley, California. 

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