A Conversation with Charles Fishman, Author of "The Big Thirst"

August 18, 2011

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We love water, but we don’t always appreciate or respect it. We will pay a thousand times the price of tap water to drink our preferred brand of the bottled version, but we balk at paying a few cents extra on monthly bills to fix failing pipes. We delight in watching waves roll in from the lake, but we cannot seem to stop polluting the water.

In The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water, New York Times bestselling author Charles Fishman vividly shows that we’ve left behind a century-long golden age when water was thoughtlessly abundant, free, and safe and entered a new era of high-stakes and increasingly costly water. But as dramatic as the challenges are, Fishman argues that there is no good reason for us to be overtaken by a global water crisis. We have more than enough water. We just don’t think about it or use it wisely. Fishman presents a host of advances underway, from the simplicity of harvesting rainwater to the work of such water-intensive corporations as IBM, GE, and Royal Caribbean.

The Metropolitan Planning Council, Openlands, and the Union League Club Authors Group present a conversation with Charles Fishman. Fishman was a metro and national reporter for the Washington Post and was a reporter and editor at the Orlando Sentinel and the News & Observer in Raleigh, NC. Since 1996, he has worked for the innovative business magazine Fast Company. Fishman has won numerous awards, including UCLA’s Gerald Loeb Award, the most prestigious award in business journalism, three times.

Recorded Thursday, August 18, 2011 at the Union League Club of Chicago.