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Science & Technology > Environment


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Joshua Kim

Joshua Kim Etna, NH, United States

mostly nonfiction listener

  • "Distilling 'The Big Thirst'"


    The big idea in Charles Fishman's excellent The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water is that water is both an essential and scarce resource, and that almost universally governments and individuals have failed to manage this resource.
    Our water failures are across the board.
    We have failed to:

    Put a realistic price on water consumption, allowing politics and sheer lunacy to determine who uses water and how much they use rather than the market and mechanisms of supply and demand.

    Maintain, much less improve, our existing century old water infrastructure (the pipes, pumping stations, waste treatment facilities, reservoirs, etc) - leading to enormous water wastage and risks of water delivery failure.

    Manage existing water supplies intelligently, including our failures to appropriately conserve and re-use water, and our continued insistence on sending high quality drinking water into our toilets and on to our yards and golf courses.
    Educate ourselves about water and the water supply.

    This last failure is, I think, particularly troubling across higher ed. Our students are not going to understand water locally, nationally or globally unless we teach them about water. Water can unify disciplines of economics, sociology, history, political science, chemistry, biology, environmental studies, and many more. We could use water as a lens to understand the interactions of science, history and politics. Water represents a teachable moment.

    Fishman tells the water story by going to places and talking with people who are grappling with the management and delivery of water and water systems. From Vegas to India, Atlanta to Dubai, water economics and water politics are dominating the thinking and planning efforts of many companies and governments. The ed tech folks amongst us will particularly enjoy the description of how water is utilized in the making of computer chips (and be amazed how much embedded water is in your iPad).

    Highly recommended. Smart, engaging, well-written, and disturbing.


    The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Charles Fishman
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The water coming out of your tap is four billion years old and might have been slurped by a Tyrannosaurus Rex. We will always have exactly as much water on Earth as we have ever had. Water cannot be destroyed, and it can always be made clean enough for drinking again. In fact, water can be made so clean that it actually becomes toxic. As Charles Fishman brings vibrantly to life in this delightful narrative excursion, water runs our world in a host of awe-inspiring ways, which is both the promise and the peril of our unexplored connections to it.

    Lynn says: "Informative Book"
  • "4 Reasons to Read "Four Fish""


    Reason 1: You loved Kurlansky's Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World, Standage's An Edible History of Humanity and everything by Michael Pollan.

    Reason 2: You are fascinated by the fact that the majority of the fish we eat is farmed, and that aquaculture is the fastest growing food production system on the planet.

    Reason 3: You are torn about eating seafood. You have heard that seafood populations are collapsing, and that many of the fish we enjoy today will not be available to our children due to overfishing. However, you also hear that we need to eat more seafood for our health, and you think it is a good idea to move away from corn fed beef and towards a more sustainable and health diet that contains more fish.

    Reason 4: You like learning about the economics of food, the sociology of food producers, and the psychology of food buyers. You have read Paul Greenberg in the NYTimes magazine and other places, and know that his writing is smart and funny.


    Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Paul Greenberg
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Our relationship with the ocean is undergoing a profound transformation. Just three decades ago nearly everything we ate from the sea was wild. Today rampant overfishing and an unprecedented biotech revolution have brought us to a point where wild and farmed fish occupy equal parts of a complex and confusing marketplace.

    Dan says: "Great listen"
  • "Green Reading"


    First the quibbles. Yes, Friedman needs an editor with the cojones to force the master be be more concise. Second, as with the World is Flat, this book would benefit from a longer view of economic history integrated into the central arguments. My only other complaint is with the "crowded" - as I think Friedman should have spent more time thinking about the impact of an aging population on rich economies.

    None of these complaints matter too much, as "Hot, Flat and Crowded" should represent the new middle ground of thinking about the relationship between the environment and economic development. Friedman's work should be the touchstone of reality for both policy makers and voters, that we can no longer pass the costs of our oil/coal economy to future generations. That our dependence on oil is dangerous and expensive geopolitically and militarily. That the argument that global warming is both man made and dangerous to our long term security and prosperity is a scientific fact and not an opinion. That creating a clean energy economy represents an amazing opportunity to regain a competitive edge, create millions of high-paying knowledge jobs, and reduce our dependency on the military to keep oil lanes flowing.

    Friedman gets it right that the government needs to set-up market mechanisms to achieve these changes. One way to do this is to use the tax system to insure the people pay the true costs for oil and coal consumption, such as setting a price floor for oil and gasoline and taxing coal (which makes most of our electricity) to account for the true environmental costs. To many readers, Friedman's points will seem obvious - nothing new. What we want is for Friedman's central thesis to become the conventional wisdom across the political spectrum.


    Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution - and How It Can Renew America

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs)
    • By Thomas L. Friedman
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman

    Friedman brings a fresh outlook to the crises of destabilizing climate change and rising competition for energy - both of which could poison our world if we do not act quickly and collectively. His argument speaks to all of us who are concerned about the state of America in the global future.

    Sean says: "Long, Flat, and Boring"
  1. The Big Thirst: The Secre...
  2. Four Fish: The Future of ...
  3. Hot, Flat, and Crowded: W...
  4. .

A Peek at carol's Bookshelf

United States 2 REVIEWS / 5 ratings Member Since 2013 0 Followers / Following 0
carol's greatest hits:
  • The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild

    "A beautiful story! Wonderful!"

    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. It was so inspiring to hear about this mans life and how he managed to make a difference in the world.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The elephants!! They were so intelligent, gentle and beautiful.

    Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?



Kathy Davis, CA, United States 05-01-13 Member Since 2008

Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy

  • "Phenomenal True Story"

    17 of 17 helpful votes

    I don't want to list all the superlatives that come to mind right now after just finishing this book. If you are interested in nature and wildlife, it is a must read. I don't know how you could listen to this book and not come away feeling deeply affected and changed. I don't know how you could listen to this book and not want to visit Thula Thula.

    Other reviews have already described the story. I just want to say that you need to download this book and set aside 11 hours as soon as possible, for you will be wanting to do little else than listen to it.


    The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Lawrence Anthony, Graham Spence
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    >When South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of "rogue" wild elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand, his common sense told him to refuse. But he was the herd's last chance of survival: they would be killed if he wouldn't take them. In order to save their lives, Anthony took them in. In the years that followed he became a part of their family. And as he battled to create a bond with the elephants, he came to realize that they had a great deal to teach him about life, loyalty, and freedom.

    Tango says: "Beautiful story, beautifully written"

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