Water gauge

We know that a warming planet will bring both more (slow) droughts and more (fast) floods. But we likely don’t fully grasp what it can be like to be caught inside such events.

'We've got no water, no special places to go, no animals to hunt. Our totem animals are dead, their bones are everywhere.' Click To Tweet

These two vivid articles help us understand, imagine, and empathize with those who find themselves surrounded by too little or too much water. They continue the exercise in imagination and empathy we explored recently with wildfire experiences. And they show some effects we might not think to expect as severe weather increases.

  • For Centuries the Rivers Sustained Aboriginal Culture. Now they are Dry, Elders Despair,” by Lorena Allam and Carly Earl, The Guardian, January 2019. If you look for this article on the internet, you will see that it has been shared often, and no wonder. When an indigenous culture’s identity is tightly linked to the water on its land, the disappearance of that water wreaks havoc on both cultural and individual dimensions. Similar disruptions are occurring around the world, and this piece is a good reminder that water is life in more than one sense.
  • Lost in the Storm,” by Sheri Fink, The New York Times, August 2018. On the other side of the world and with the opposite problem – way too much water – this searing story tells what happens when a city’s emergency services are overwhelmed – in this case, Houston’s during the floods caused by Hurricane Harvey. In short, people die in the confusion. This piece and its accompanying podcast (part 1 and part 2) clearly deserved the Sigma Delta Chi awards given them by the Society of Professional Journalists.

This series is curated and written by retired Colorado State University English professor and close climate change watcher SueEllen Campbell of Colorado. To flag works you think warrant attention, send an e-mail to her any time. Let us hear from you.

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