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World Water Crisis is Topic of Sept. 5 Lecture

August 29, 2007

SELINSGROVE, (Pa.) – From the Amazon to the Nile, the Congo to the Colorado, the world is running out of water. Freshwater aquifers are being tapped to extinction. Rivers are being dammed to depletion, and wetlands are being converted into deserts. In his acclaimed book When the Rivers Run Dry: Water – The Defining Crisis of the Twenty-First Century, former New Science news editor Fred Pearce presents the alarming ways in which this ecological emergency is affecting population centers, human health, food production, wildlife habitats and species viability.

On Wednesday, September 5, Pearce will bring this underreported story to Susquehanna University. His lecture, which begins at 8 p.m. in Weber Chapel Auditorium, will be based on When the Rivers Run Dry, the university's common reading selected to reflect the 2007-2008 University Theme, “Water.” The event is free and open to the public.

When the Rivers Run Dry portrays how Earth's most vital sources of fresh water — our rivers — are being depleted at an accelerating rate, and reveals how the erroneous belief that water is a renewable resource has contributed to its abuse and misuse by superpowers and Third World countries alike. Pearce's 15-year research into water issues has taken him around the globe exploring the complex origins of this growing crisis. His vivid storytelling illustrates the personal struggles behind failing rivers, barren fields, desertification, floods, water wars, and even the death of cultures.

In the book, Pearce advocates a new ethical perspective that emphasizes shared water use and wise management of water resources. To do so requires rethinking prevailing moral, political and economic judgments, changing our behavior, and reshaping policies and practices in the use of water locally, nationally and globally. In short, the book shows us just how essential it is for each of us to take responsibility for the water we use now - before all our rivers run dry.

Born and educated in the United Kingdom, Pearce studied geography at Cambridge University. He has reported on the environment, science and development issues from 54 countries. He is the author of 14 books published in the UK and the United States. His books have been translated into French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Norwegian and Portuguese. In addition, Pearce writes articles for such publications as the New Scientist, Boston Globe, Country Living and the Ecologist. He also has penned reports for the World Wildlife Federation, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Red Cross, UNESCO and the World Bank.

Pearce received the BEMA Environment Journalist of the Year Award in 2001 and has been short-listed for the same award three additional years. He also was the winner of the Peter Kent Conservation Book Award and the TES Junior Information Book Award.

Water as a university theme opens itself to critical thinking across a variety of disciplines and fields of study. It has been both character and setting in ancient and modern writings, and a near-universal symbol in the rites, myths and stories of the world's religions. Issues of pollution and potable water strike humanity on a global level. Other social and environmental considerations of water include issue of Riparian rights and water-related conflicts, natural disasters, and the effects of global warming on oceans, tides, currents and climates.

Susquehanna will explore issues such as these during its year-long focus on water issues in the events and activities being planned across campus. In addition to Pearce's common reading lecture, the theme will be explored in such events as a musical series titled Fluid: Music, Water and Motion, earth and environmental sciences seminars, student-directed one act plays, a panel discussion on The State of the Susquehanna River, and The Weather Makers, the 2007 Claritas Distinguished Lecture in the Sciences.

Contact: Victoria Kidd



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