Did you know “Every year, more people die from unsafe water than from all forms of violence, including war”? With statistics like that, spreading the knowledge behind National Water Quality Month is a necessity. Most communities affected by unsafe water were never cared for from the beginning, so it’s important that those who have the means fight for those who don’t. We’ve created the below recommended reading list to help share the knowledge on how unsafe water impacts us all. Visit NationalWaterQualityMonth.org to learn more about water quality and what you can do to protect your water.
BY KATRINELL M. DAVIS
After a cascade of failures left residents of Flint, Michigan, without a reliable and affordable supply of safe drinking water, citizens spent years demanding action from their city and state officials. Complaints from the city’s predominantly African American residents were ignored until independent researchers confirmed dangerously elevated blood lead levels among Flint children and in the city’s tap water. Despite a 2017 federal court ruling in favor of Flint residents who had demanded mitigation, those efforts have been incomplete at best.
BY CHRISTOPHER J. MANGANIELLO
Why has the American South–a place with abundant rainfall–become embroiled in intrastate wars over water? Why did unpredictable flooding come to characterize southern waterways, and how did a region that seemed so rich in this all-important resource become derailed by drought and the regional squabbling that has tormented the arid American West? To answer these questions, policy expert and historian Christopher Manganiello moves beyond the well-known accounts of flooding in the Mississippi Valley and irrigation in the West to reveal the contested history of southern water. From the New South to the Sun Belt eras, private corporations, public utilities, and political actors made a region-defining trade-off: The South would have cheap energy, but it would be accompanied by persistent water insecurity. Manganiello’s compelling environmental history recounts stories of the people and institutions that shaped this exchange and reveals how the use of water and power in the South has been challenged by competition, customers, constituents, and above all, nature itself.
BY JESSICA B. TEISCH
Engineering Nature explores how controlling the vagaries of nature abroad required more than the export of blueprints for dams, canals, or mines; it also entailed the problematic transfer of the new technology’s sociopolitical context. Water engineers confronted unforeseen variables in each region as they worked to implement their visions of agrarian settlement and industrial growth, including the role of the market, government institutions, property rights, indigenous peoples, labor, and, not last, the environment. Teisch argues that by examining the successes and failures of various projects as American influence spread, we can see the complex role of globalization at work, often with incredibly disproportionate results.
BY THOMAS R. HUFFMAN
Since the beginning of the twentieth century, Wisconsin citizens have promoted innovative environmental programs. During the 1960s Wisconsin was again at the forefront of the movement advancing mainstream political environmentalism. Thomas Huffman traces the rise of environmentalism in the Badger State during these key years, when the people of Wisconsin instituted policies in such areas as outdoor recreation and resource planning, water pollution control, the preservation of wild rivers, and centralized environmental management. Huffman focuses especially on the influence of Senator Gaylord Nelson, a Democrat and founder of Earth Day, and Governor Warren Knowles, a Republican. He shows that their efforts–and the efforts of their followers in citizen groups, the business and university communities, and the state government–clearly indicate that the origins of environmentalism cannot be placed along a left-right political spectrum. Rather, the movement evolved from an interweaving of liberal and conservative ideologies and from important traditions and precedents within the state’s environmental culture. What happened in Wisconsin is particularly significant, Huffman points out, because of the effect of that state’s example on other states and the federal government.
BY WESLEY C. HOGAN
As Wesley C. Hogan sees it, the future of democracy belongs to young people. While today’s generation of leaders confronts a daunting array of existential challenges, increasingly it is young people in the United States and around the world who are finding new ways of belonging, collaboration, and survival. That reality forms the backbone of this book, as Hogan documents and assesses young people’s interventions in the American fight for democracy and its ideals.