Join Us for the Second Seminar in the Fall 2016 Baruch Climate Change Series
This Free program is Open To The Public, and is sponsored by the Provost's Faculty Research Seminar
About the Program
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.
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, long listed 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.
The Boston Globe describes Ms. Barnett as “part journalist, part mom, part historian, and part optimist.” The Los Angeles Times writes that she “takes us back to the origins of our water in much the same way, with much the same vividness and compassion as Michael Pollan led us from our kitchens to potato fields and feed lots of modern agribusiness.”
Ms. Barnett has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s in environmental history, and spent a year as a Knight-Wallace Fellow studying freshwater at the University of Michigan. She lives in Gainesville, Florida, where she is also Environmental Journalist in Residence at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications.
RSVP to Matthew.Lepere@baruch.cuny.edu or call (646)312-3231