The world's water is under siege. A combination of corporate greed and the elite pursuit of political power is accelerating a broad range of environmental and political crises. Potentially catastrophic climate change, driven primarily by the unyielding consumption of oil and gas, threatens water in a variety of ways, including producing unprecedented patterns of heavy weather and superstorms in some places and droughts in others. Meanwhile, rapidly melting global ice is producing too much water – elevating sea levels – while overconsumption of fresh water supplies is leading to parched landscapes elsewhere. This increasing consumption of both energy and water is today creating a crisis.
In Running Dry, historian Toby C. Jones explores the various ways that modern society's unquenchable thirst for carbon-based energy is endangering water, particularly in the Western United States where there has been a rapid push to extract newfound energy resources alongside the accelerating loss or pollution of critical water resources. This concise book examines the history of the "energy-water nexus," the ways in which oil and gas extraction poison and dry up water resources, the role of corporate "science" in deflecting attention away from the emerging crises, and the ways in which the rush to capture more energy is also challenging America's democratic order.
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Toby C. Jones is an associate professor of history and the director of the Global and Comparative History master's degree program at Rutgers University. He is also the author of Desert Kingdom: How Oil and Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia.