Isabelle Stengers’ new book available open access

Isabelle Stengers’ new book, In Catastrophic Times, is available for free as a .pdf download at this site. Here is a description of the book (which you can also buy in hard copy as well following the link above):

There has been an epochal shift: the possibility of a global climate crisis is now upon us. Pollution, the poison of pesticides, the exhaustion of natural resources, falling water tables, growing social inequalities – these are all problems that can no longer be treated separately. The effects of global warming have a cumulative impact, and it is not a matter of a crisis that will “pass” before everything goes back to “normal.”

Our governments are totally incapable of dealing with the situation. Economic warfare obliges them to stick to the goal of irresponsible, even criminal, economic growth, whatever the cost. It is no surprise that people were so struck by the catastrophe in New Orleans. The response of the authorities – to abandon the poor whilst the rich were able to take shelter – is a symbol of the coming barbarism.

Stengers Cover

America’s water cure towns

This is a very interesting piece from citylab, worth checking into if you find previous ways of thinking about human-water (and city!) relationships intriguing.

Water is the theme for 2016 “Under Western Skies” Conference

These conferences in Calgary, Alberta have been very good and the next one, taking place September 2016, is focused on water. The full conference website is here. And the call for papers is below.

Call for Papers

Under Western Skies (UWS) is a biennial, interdisciplinary conference series on the environment. The fourth conference organizers invite prospective researchers, authors, artists, and presenters to consider submitting proposals for oral and poster presentations as well as workshops and panels.

The conference theme, Water: Events, Trends, Analysis, will be threaded through four inter- and transdisciplinary conference tracks:

  1. Policy, programs, planning, and management: trends and emerging topics in this track include history of water, integrated water management, business risk, stakeholder engagement, governance, jurisdictions and law, instruments and tools, science and technology, informing decision makers, innovative interventions and practices, monitoring and assessment, education, urban planning and design, and lessons learned.
  2. Safety, reliability, and sustainability: trends and emerging topics in this track include human rights to water, borders and transnational issues, resilience and adaptation to climate change, catastrophes and disasters, alpine and glacial change, tensions in sustainability, invasive species, conservation, human health and wellbeing impacts.
  3. Environmental Humanities Issues and Interfaces: trends and emerging topics in this track include water representations in law and public policy; in history and environmental
    history; in world religions, global literature, film, and drama; in the cultures of science; and in collaborative projects involving the sciences and humanities.
  4. Agricultural and Industrial Use: trends and emerging topics in this track include water commodification, rural and Indigenous communities, water technologies and treatment, impact of scale, transportation, oil and gas development, mining, fisheries and oceans, and hydropower.

The UWS Committee look forward to receiving contributions from all environmental fields of inquiry and endeavor, including the humanities, natural and social sciences, public policy, business, and law. Non-academic proposals are also welcome. Please submit your panel or individual proposal at, by January 31st 2016.

Water roundup: new books & reports on groundwater and security

Over the weekend I mentioned a new (open access) book on Water, Society, and Technology.

There are a couple of other new resources to be had, both from (or related to) work by the OECD.

The first is the new report “Securing water, sustaining growth” from the Global Water Partnership and the OECD, led by World Bank economist Claudia Sadoff and coauthored with numerous folks at Oxford and the GWP. You can download the full report by visiting this webpage.

A second book, also open access, is on groundwater and agriculture: Dry wells, rising stakes. You can download the book in French or English here. Here’s the short blurb on it: “Groundwater has provided great benefits to agriculture irrigation in semi-arid OECD countries, but its intensive use beyond recharge in certain regions has depleted resources and generated significant negative environmental externalities. The report provides a characterisation of the diversity of groundwater systems, reviews policies in OECD countries, and proposes a package of recommendations to ensure that groundwater can sustain its services to agriculture and contribute to climate change adaptation.”

New open access book on Water, society, and technology opens with discussion of ethics

You can download the book here.

Appadurai: Humans , Materiality, and the Future of Shared Agency