Dam Nation: Dispatches from the Water Underground
Available from 100 Fires.
"The politics of water - as this brilliant anthology makes clear - are the politics of human survival. Read this, and believe me, you'll never flush with the same equanimity again."
Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz and Dead Cities
Both radical history of water and DIY guide to sustainable technologies, Dam Nation: Dispatches from the Water Underground combines an analysis of water's history with the active fight for its future. Bringing together hundreds of national and international projects, organizations, and strategies, Dam Nation investigates political economy and environmental impact of water consumption. It also gives readers easy, cheap, and thought-provoking ways to join the 'water underground' themselves. The book illustrates:
- How corrupt water policy led to bloody battles during the settlement of the American West
- How a Michigan town being drained by the Nestle Corporation is fighting to block water privatization nationwide
- How to reuse household water to create lush gardens
- How to build a composting toilet and a pedal-powered washing machine
- How to cultivate a pond filled with edible plants and mosquito-eating fish
- How residents jump started municipal eco-projects in such diverse locales as Tijuana, Mexico City, Zimbabwe and Arcata, California
- How a 'protest village' in Thailand and a neighborhood association in Louisiana both beat back dam and canal expansion with grassroots organizing
- How a coalition of Native American tribes organized cross culturally, leading Scottish shareholders to stand up for tribal salmon rights
- And much more!
Some more words about Dam Nation:
A sweeping overview of water use issues. Dam Nation is an accessible and energizing resource for the next generation of activists and radical plumbers.
—Art Ludwig, author of Create an Oasis with Greywater
Covering such diverse topics as the environmental consequences of China's Three Gorges Dam and the how-tos of converting human feces into humanure (human manure)...[w]hat seems like a disconnected collection of anecdotes ultimately resonates.... Complete with glossary, annotated bibliography, and pictures illustrating the mechanics of at-home water conservation techniques, this book presents novice conservationists with the basics concerning our most precious natural resource….A nice addition for public as well as academic libraries.
Two centuries of what Lewis Mumford called megatechnics have so altered the earth's hydrologic cycle that all life on the only water planet we know has grown as endangered as the bellwether salmon. An ever-ramifying network of dams, conduits, and pumps coerces water from riverbeds and aquifers, turning it toward cities and the fields that feed them in order to grow the most lucrative crop of all — land value. Like the alienated inhabitants of imperial Rome and Babylon, few urbanites know of the toxic deserts that are the city's price, nor of their peril as safe water and food run out. Dam Nation takes you to front line water battles around the world as told by young and indigenous peoples fighting to reclaim the earth's arteries, lakes, and seas. More than merely witnesses to the multiple crises engulfing our world, these committed activists tell us how biotechnics can make the water we have killed live again. If you love your children and the world that sustains as it delights them, listen to these voices, then act.
—Gray Brechin, author of Farewell, Promised Land: Waking from the California Dream
As the world faces a water crisis, this collection of thoughtful essays, illuminating profiles, and personal narratives, is interwoven with constructive, practical suggestions that range from harvesting rainwater to installing composting toilets. Dam Nation is a call to action, a conservation manifesto to create a movement one person at time.
—Robert Glennon, author of Water Follies: Groundwater Pumping and the Fate of America's Fresh Waters
Water has joined oil as the key political liquids of our epoch, and this book will join Amita Baviskar's In the Belly of the River as a powerful weapon in the struggle of commoners everywhere against the neoliberal makeover of our world and its waters.
—Iain Boal, author of Resisting the Virtual Life
This essay anthology looks at water issues worldwide and throughout history, including science, history and investigative reporting, as well as personal stories and profiles. Among other concerns, writers collected here (mostly activists, but also sociologists, educators and reporters) address untreated sewage dumping and the disease outbreaks it causes; the destructive power of upstream dams; and the sediment-starved Mississippi Delta, its attendant erosion, and the horrific storm damage that's resulted. A short, frank multi-millennial history of urban sewage disposal illustrates well the dangers of water supplies contaminated by sewage—cholera, typhus, typhoid, etc.—and is equally forthright about the problems with current municipal sewage treatment practices. The authors maintain a tongue-in-cheek style that, for the most part, keeps tedium at bay; if readers find Part One too polemical, Parts Two and Three offer principles and proper construction techniques for practical, at-home solutions, including home watergardens, home-scale greywater systems and composting toilets.
Read about the editors of Dam Nation here.