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What’s More Important Than Water?

Dolores River runs through Rio Mesa Center, an important aquatic ecosystem of the Colorado Plateau.

That is, indeed, a potent question, especially when one lives in an arid state like Utah.

And that is how Dan McCool responded when asked by a reporter why he spent 10 years researching and writing a book about America’s rivers. McCool, who is professor of political science and director of the environmental studies program at the U, has just published that book, which he describes in the preface as “a journey into hope. At a time when there is a tsunami of bad news about the environment, America’s rivers are a beacon of brighter days ahead.”

The interview continues:

“[Water] is the one thing we can’t live without. It shapes our lives and society. … Water raises all kinds of issues including fairness, social justice, how we treat other people and who we deprive of water. … In the largest sense, water to a great extent determines our quality of life.”

Unlike many environmental books, McCool’s River Republic: The Fall and Rise of America’s Rivers examines some success stories. …

Read the rest of the interview with Tom Wharton in the Salt Lake Tribune.

You can also hear from McCool at two upcoming events. He will read from the book at The King’s English Bookshop on October 18 at 7:00 p.m. and give a lecture at the Marriott Library Gould Auditorium on the U campus November 14 at noon. If you can’t get to the events, there is a Q&A with McCool on the Columbia University Press blog.