Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership's Reviews > When the Rivers Run Dry: Water--The Defining Crisis of the Twenty-first Century

When the Rivers Run Dry by Fred Pearce
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's review
Jan 10, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: the-top-50-sustainability-books
Read in January, 2009

One of Cambridge Sustainability's Top 50 Books for Sustainability, as voted for by our alumni network of over 3,000 senior leaders from around the world. To find out more, click here.

When the Rivers Run Dry sets out a case for water being as large and urgent an environmental challenge as climate change. Today, the world grows twice as much food as it did a generation ago, but it uses three times as much water. As a result, many of the waterways, lakes and rivers that we used to take for granted are under severe threat or already disappearing. Examples include the Aral Sea, the Colorado River, the Rio Grande or even the Yellow River.

Pearce calls for a second agricultural revolution. We've had the 'green revolution' which increased harvests to feed a growing world population but at the expense of water supplies. Now we need a 'blue revolution' before the gains of the past generations are wiped out. This will require 'a new ethos for water: an ethos based not on technical fixes, but on managing the water cycle for maximum social benefit rather than narrow self-interest'.

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