*All summaries from Amazon.com unless otherwise stated.
The Big Thirst by Charles Fishman
The water coming out of your kitchen tap is four billion years old and might well have been sipped by a Tyrannosaurus rex. Rather than only three states of water—liquid, ice, and vapor—there is a fourth, “molecular water,” fused into rock 400 miles deep in the Earth, and that’s where most of the planet’s water is found. Unlike most precious resources, water cannot be used up; it can always be made clean enough again to drink—indeed, water can be made so clean that it’s toxic. Water is the most vital substance in our lives but also more amazing and mysterious than we appreciate. As Charles Fishman brings vibrantly to life in this surprising and mind-changing narrative, water runs our world in a host of awe-inspiring ways, yet we take it completely for granted. But the era of easy water is over.
Outgrowing the Earth by Lester R. Brown
Ever since 9/11, many have considered al Queda to be the leading threat to global security, but falling water tables in countries that contain more than half the world's people and rising temperatures worldwide pose a far more serious threat. Spreading water shortages and crop-withering heat waves are shrinking grain harvests in more and more countries, making it difficult for the world's farmers to feed 70 million more people each year. The risk is that tightening food supplies could drive up food prices, destabilizing governments in low-income grain-importing countries and disrupting global economic progress. Future security, Brown says, now depends on raising water productivity, stabilizing climate by moving beyond fossil fuels, and stabilizing population by filling the family planning gap and educating young people everywhere.
The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson
It's the summer of 1854, and London is just emerging as one of the first modern cities in the world. But lacking the infrastructure-garbage removal, clean water, sewers-necessary to support its rapidly expanding population, the city has become the perfect breeding ground for a terrifying disease no one knows how to cure. As the cholera outbreak takes hold, a physician and a local curate are spurred to action-and ultimately solve the most pressing medical riddle of their time.
Washed Up by Skye Moody
The ocean gives up many prizes, just setting them on our beaches for us to find. From rubber ducks that started out somewhere in Indonesia to land Venice Beach, to an intact refrigerator makes it way to the Jersey Shore. Chunks of beeswax found on the Oregon coast are the packing remnants of 18th century Spanish gold. Author Skye Moody walks the coast, dons her wet suit, and heads out to sea to understand the excellent debris that accrues along the tide line. There she finds advanced military technology applied to locating buried Rolexes, hardcore competitive beach combing conventions, and isolated beach communities whose residents are like flotsam congregated at the slightest obstacle on the coastline. This book confirms that the world is a mysterious place and that treasure is out there to be found.
Greenpeace International "Trash Vortex" Animation
Click the link and scroll down the page to see an animation of the Pacific Ocean Trash Vortex. The graphic illustrates how trash from the Pacific coast drifts and is trapped in currents. "As a consequence, in these areas, the surface water contains six times more plastic than plankton biomass (dry weight)." Trash Vortex
Strand by Bonnie Henderson
In Strand, travel writer and amateur naturalist Bonnie Henderson traces the stories of wrack washed up on the mile-long stretch of Oregon beach she has walked regularly for more than a decade. Henderson’s writing conveys both a keen attention to the specifics of place and an expansive field of vision. The burned hull of a long-abandoned fishing boat, a glass fishing float, the egg case of a skate, a beached minke whale, an unusual number of dead murres, and an athletic shoe are the starting points for essays that reach across the globe. Henderson takes readers from Coos Bay, Oregon, to Vancouver, B.C.; from the currents circulating through the North Pacific to the “Eastern Garbage Patch” between Hawaii and California; from China’s Shenzhen Special Economic Zone to fishing villages on the coast of Hokkaido, Japan.As Henderson uncovers these odysseys, she meditates on current issues, events, and phenomena—oil spills, the proliferation of ocean debris, international trade, the evolution of sharks, and the survival prospects of whales. The characters that emerge range from the world’s leading minke whale researchers to the crew of a Coast Guard airbase to a small-town salvager of wrecked fishing boats, glued to the radio and praying for disaster. Strand offers a thoughtful look at the surprisingly far-ranging journeys of what washes up on our Pacific shores.