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Green Elk Rapids Author Speaking Event: Cynthia Barnett

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July 6, 2017
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
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Green Elk Rapids




Edward C. Grace Memorial Harbor
Elk Rapids, MI United States + Google Map

WHAT: Green Elk Rapids Author Speaking Event

WHEN:Thursday, July 6, 5;30 p.m.

WHERE: Marina Pavilion, Edward C. Grace Memorial Harbor, 118 Bridge Street, Elk Rapids

Free admission—donations are welcome.

Rain: A history for Stormy Times — Cynthia Barnett, award-winning environmental journalist and author, takes us on a natural and cultural tour of RAIN, from the torrents that filled the oceans four billion years ago to the modern story of climate change. Join us for a look at rain through the ages, from the weather watchers to the rainmakers, from too much to not enough. Moderator will be Jeff Smith, editor, Traverse Magazine.


RAIN: A History for Stormy Times: A natural and cultural tour of RAIN, from the torrents that filled the oceans four billion years ago to the modern story of climate change. A wellspring of life, rain also has a place in our souls. In an ancient perfume region in northern India, villagers bottle the scent of rain from the monsoon-drenched earth, while in Manchester, England, and America’s Seattle, leaden skies helped inspire Morrissey and Kurt Cobain’s grunge. The scents and songs capture rain in small ways. Humans have long been convinced we could control the atmosphere with ideas much bigger, from the Roman rain god Jupiter Pluvius to the 2,203 miles of levees that attempt to straightjacket the Mississippi River.

Now, after thousands of years spent praying for rain or worshiping it; burning witches at the stake to stop rain or sacrificing small children to bring it; even trying to blast rain out of the sky with mortars meant for war, humanity has finally managed to change the rain. Only not in ways we intended. Changing rainfall patterns are some of the earliest tremors of our warming globe. Armed with computer models looking forward, there is also much to learn from looking back. Too much and not enough, rain is an experience we share. Its history has much to tell us about coming together to live more ethically with water – and adapt to the stormy times ahead.

BLUE REVOLUTION: A Water Ethic for America: Epic drought followed by floods in the American West, toxic algae blooms that have shuttered drinking-water plants in the East, new water wars in the American South. For the first time since the nation passed the Clean Water Act and created EPA and other environmental safeguards in the early 1970s, today’s children have not inherited waters as clean and abundant as when they were born. In her inspirational program Blue Revolution: A Water Ethic for America, journalist Cynthia Barnett shows audiences how one of the most water-rich nations in the world has come to face water scarcity and quality woes – and how it doesn’t have to be this way. From Perth, Australia, to San Antonio, Texas, Barnett takes audiences around the world and around the United States to show how communities and entire nations have come together to use less, pollute less, and live in ways that make them more resilient to the water impacts of climate change. With a shared ethic for water, Americans live well with water today, in ways that don’t jeopardize fresh, clean water for our children, ecosystems, and businesses tomorrow.

About the speaker: Cynthia Barnett is an award-winning journalist who has reported on water and climate worldwide, from the Suwannee River to Singapore. She is the author of three books on water, including Rain: A Natural and Cultural History, longlisted for the National Book Award, a finalist for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Award for Literary Science Writing, and named among the best nonfiction books of 2015 by NPR’s Science Friday, the Boston Globe, Kirkus Reviews and others. Ms. Barnett has written for National Geographic, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Salon, Politico, Discover, and many other publications. Her other books are Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S. (2007) and Blue Revolution, which calls for a new water ethic for the nation.