Water: Protect Freshwater to Save Life on Earth

Water: Protect Freshwater to Save Life on Earth
Catherine Barr and Christiane Engel
Otter-Barry Books

I was surprised to learn from this absorbing book that despite 70% of the Earth’s surface being covered by water only 3% of all of that is freshwater, most of it existing in polar ice sheets. These because of global warming, are starting to melt at an alarming rate.

Having given readers that information and more in the opening pages of this book, author Catherine Barr presents eleven further spreads, illustrated with lots of detail by Christiane Engel. These look at a variety of topics including the water cycle, freshwater habitats (some of the Earth’s most endangered environments); water power (the pros and cons); the impact of climate change on farming; the importance of careful usage of freshwater (there’s mention of the impact of large companies using more than their fair share of this precious resource).

It’s alarming to read the way in which polluted water – 80% of Earth’s wastewater – is adversely affecting freshwater habitats, killing wildlife and poisoning drinking water.

Of the final three topics: one explains that despite many women and girls still having to walk considerable distances from their village homes to access water, the provision of pumps and taps close to where they live is enabling girls living in some sub-Saharan African villages to go to school regularly and giving their mothers time to work.

Another calls on humanity to act now to protect vital freshwater; and this is followed by a look at some of the ways readers can use water judiciously: Take action to shrink your water footprint! urges the author. If those of us fortunate enough to have ready supplies of water at the turn of a tap followed the suggestions perhaps we can still make that all important difference in what is the UN’s Water Action Decade (2018-2028).

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