Dry: Life Without Water

Overview

Water is in the air we breathe and beneath the ground we walk on. The very substance of life, it makes up as much as 60 percent of the human body. And yet, for one billion people there is such a thing as life without water. These are the people we meet in Dry--those who live in the dry lands of Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas, eking out an existence at once remarkable and mundane between craggy mountains, near oases, or close to well-springs surrounded by cracked ...

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Overview

Water is in the air we breathe and beneath the ground we walk on. The very substance of life, it makes up as much as 60 percent of the human body. And yet, for one billion people there is such a thing as life without water. These are the people we meet in Dry--those who live in the dry lands of Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas, eking out an existence at once remarkable and mundane between craggy mountains, near oases, or close to well-springs surrounded by cracked earth or shifting sands.

From the ingenuity of the highland people of Chile's Atacama desert who use giant nets to capture water from clouds of fog, to the ancient wisdom that protects the grazing lands of Kenya's Masai, this beautifully illustrated book tells the diverse stories about people in very hot, very cold, or very high places, who spend their lives collecting, chasing, piping, and trapping the water that life requires--all the while taking great care that no form of life, plant or animal, benefits at the expense of another.

In a world of finite resources, where the struggle for shrinking sources of water intensifies daily, these stories--collected over three years by photographers, writers, and scientists from four continents--are a source of hope and wonder. This book contains a wealth of information and images designed to further awareness of the vast array of life that is carried on precariously yet proudly on the earth's dryest lands.

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Editorial Reviews

New Statesman - Ziauddin Sardar
When it comes to water conservation, ancient wisdom often turns out to be far superior to modern insight...This is an insightful, not to say stunningly beautiful, book...Some of the longest-lasting and most successful initiatives described in Dry are those that promote, revive or build on indigenous knowledge and research. So let us not be so smug about the presumed intrinsic superiority of our modernity. The goat-rearers of Brazil, the camel herders of Sudan and the Bedouin of Jordan have a great deal to teach us, if only we could learn to listen.
Santa Fe New Mexican - Phaedra Greenwood
Forty percent of the world's land surface and more than half the land surface of the developing world is arid. Sixteen stories from Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and the Middle East show how more than a billion people who live in these extreme hot, cold, or high places cope with the lack of water and other challenges to survival...Thoughtfully written with an impressive artistic layout and many poignant photographs, this is a book that deserves an international audience.
New Statesman

When it comes to water conservation, ancient wisdom often turns out to be far superior to modern insight...This is an insightful, not to say stunningly beautiful, book...Some of the longest-lasting and most successful initiatives described in Dry are those that promote, revive or build on indigenous knowledge and research. So let us not be so smug about the presumed intrinsic superiority of our modernity. The goat-rearers of Brazil, the camel herders of Sudan and the Bedouin of Jordan have a great deal to teach us, if only we could learn to listen.
— Ziauddin Sardar

Nature
Dry: Life Without Water tells 16 stories of dryland life, from fog catching above Chile's Atacama Desert to the forest nurseries helping to regenerate Burkina Faso's near-barren terrain. A distillation of work by the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World and the Third World Network of Scientific Organizations, these snapshots of sustainability are models of how science and traditional knowledge can profit from each other.
Santa Fe New Mexican

Forty percent of the world's land surface and more than half the land surface of the developing world is arid. Sixteen stories from Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and the Middle East show how more than a billion people who live in these extreme hot, cold, or high places cope with the lack of water and other challenges to survival...Thoughtfully written with an impressive artistic layout and many poignant photographs, this is a book that deserves an international audience.
— Phaedra Greenwood

Natural Hazards Observer
These stories, which were collected over three years by photographers, writers, and scientists from four continents, contain a wealth of information and images that convey life as it is carried on in the Earth's driest regions.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674022249
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2006
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Ehsan Masood is a London-based science journalist and consultant to the Science and Development Network.

Daniel Schaffer is the Public Information Officer for the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS).

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Table of Contents

Why dry? 12
Sudan's camel healers 16
Burkina Faso's forest nurseries 26
Innovation in Namibia 36
Wetland conservation the Maasai way 48
Green and dry in China 60
Drought-proofing with a difference in India 70
Pakistan's dams miracle 80
High and dry in Nepal 90
Chile's fog catchers 98
New life for Brazil's goat town 110
Moving mountains in Mexico 120
Going for gold in the Andes 130
Saving Egypt's songbird 142
Reclaiming Jordan's Badia 154
The wisdom of Morocco's women 166
Oman's rose gardens 176
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