I started in on a book about a month ago titled Heart of Dryness, which discusses how the bushmen of the Kalahari can teach us what we need to know about how to live in dry climates, something we're all increasingly finding ourselves in as we drill ourselves further into a global water crisis. However, due to political turmoil, the bushmen - the very people with all the knowledge and tools that can help billions of people cope with a growing lack of water - are a culture of people vanishing from the face of the planet. While frightening, it's a fascinating read, so I was excited to see a video interview with the book's author, James G. Workman, who discusses more about the book, the water crisis, and the quiet knowledge of the bushmen.
The global water crisis is not as much a result of climate change, though that of course factors in, but more our incredible misuse of water across the planet, and especially in developed countries like the US where our agricultural and manufacturing techniques are anything but sustainable.
We have a lot to learn in the way of reasonable use of water as a precious resource, and that knowledge will become more valuable as supplies grow increasingly scarce. It's not a future goal - it's a current necessity. And there are people on the planet from whom we can learn.
As Workman states in an interview posted on Circle of Blue, "I won't glamorize Bushmen, or urge us to imitate them. But their code of conduct works so well, as ours falters, that I question who is really 'backward.' Our so-called "more developed societies" still irrigate deserts, collapse atop depleted aquifers, amputate currents, blend urine and feces with tap water, kill salmon runs with dams, and evaporate more water than we consume. Because of such profligate waste--according to World Economic Forum or Goldman Sachs--we're now hitting a wall, a limit to growth; well, Bushmen have lived with that wall for 30,000 years. Their proven strategies point us toward a softer, alternative approach, and they do so with laughter and dance."
While I'm only about half way through Heart of Dryness so far, I am already recommending it to friends. It goes far, far beyond just what water gathering techniques the bushmen practice and into the politics and human psychology that keeps us from changing our patterns at first glimpse of a problem.
More on the Global Water Crisis
What the Water Crisis Really Means for You and the Planet
5 Documentaries You Must See to Understand the Water Crisis
Why is Water Such a Big Issue? Global Water Challenge Pres. Paul Faeth Sets Us Straight (Part 1)