Wednesday, October 25, 2006

specter's water report

Emdashes, "best frightening thing", NYkette, "you'll never leave the water running while you brush your teeth again", and "could we run out?" Drunken Volcano noted a kind of personal urgency to Michael Specter's investigation in "The Last Drop" (Oct 23 issue). But I think what I really appreciated about this essay was how it didn't just keep pushing the CRISIS! CRISIS! button, but rather, explored all kinds of possible, but problematic solutions, and the specificity of their status as solutions, and the ways in which a CRISIS! and its solutions do and do not have political, geographical and historical boundaries.

I was surprised Specter didn't step a little further back and look at water use in terms of the history of industrialization. Or post-industrialization. Or agricultural practices as industrialization. He gestured. And maybe even, in the end, he accomplished this. But he wasn't that explicit about it as an argument. Those stats about US water use, for instance, seemed a little historically unhinged. Pittsburgh, for one, probably uses a lot less water than it used to. What with the less people and the less work. It took Specter awhile to get back around to the US outsourcing of water needs . . .

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