Glimpses of books
The Gardens of their Dreams:
Desertification and Culture in World History
Zed Books Ltd, UK, 2001, pp 368
This book paints a detailed picture of our ancestors experiences in destroying
and healing the ecology. Brian Griffith explores the complex socio-cultural aspects of
desertification while weaving in fascinating information from different regions.
The 15 chapters of this volume revolve around three basic issues viz,
1. how the expanding wastelands have shaped peoples images of
nature, women, politics and religion;
2. how waves of refugees from the arid lands, including the historic
migrations of Aryans, Huns and Mongols, have influenced local communities in the green
border lands from China to Europe; and,
3. how locals have responded to threats of invasion and environ-mental
The connection between violence and domination on the one hand, and environmental
degradation and desertification on the other is highlighted. Womens place in the
desert is an interesting chapter. It shows how they fight for the rights as the
environment becomes unproductive. The book ends with two stories of hope. The first
focuses on natures power of self renewal in southwest America. While the other takes
us to Kenya, showing traditional farmers as a force that can transform.
The book inspires hope. Turning people back towards the path of regaining the lost
gardens of their dreams. Griffith stories have a direct implication for our times and the
choices we must make for a better future. Worth reading.
This is a special website recently launched by
UNESCO to celebrate the International Year of Freshwater, 2003. It provides a platform for
individuals, institutions and countries the world over to share ideas, initiatives and
events. A vast array of facts on water use, health, droughts, floods and ecosystems can be
easily accessed in French and Spanish as well. Surf it to keep a track of any major
happenings in the water world this year. Water talk section allows you to be creatively
express water through poems, pictures etc. So, as the site says, Jump in!
Get your feet wet! Make a splash! Lets make a difference.
Plumbing the Rights
This 30 minutes documentary is a part of Changing
Currents, a series exploring water, globally. It is produced by TVE and screened by
BBCWorld as a run up to the Third World Water Forum, 2003. These films are also available
shot in India and South Africa, Plumbing the Rights, portrays the struggles of
a common person for a share of water to breathe. This tussle against the state is becoming
deaf and violent everyday. The film skillfully captures the complexities of the problems
and the solutions devised by the people of Gujarat and Rajasthan, India and the Chatsworth
Township of Durban. In Durban, people are forced to steal water, inspite of the new water
act ensuring 6,000 litres of free daily supply. Watch it.
(Ashwini at email@example.com)