My latest book review for The Ecologist is now online, and it deals with Virtual Water:
Water is becoming an increasingly precious resource and as the global population grows, so will demand. Add to this a future dictated by the brutal effects of climate change, throw intensive farming into the mix; and the result is that water consumption and conservation will prove to be one of the defining issues of our time. With that in mind, Virtual Water takes a very different, and somewhat revolutionary, look at water usage. Its aim is simple: to shock and to force a re-evaluation of the way we use water.
To do this, Allan introduces the titular concept, Virtual Water, by way of an illuminating example. How much water do we think goes into a cup of coffee? Is it what we pour from the kettle? Allan claims that 140 litres of water goes into making a single cup of coffee, and then explains how it is the hidden ‘virtual water’ that is at the root of the problem. Virtual water includes ‘the amount of water used in growing, producing, packaging and shipping the beans that make the coffee.’
I have to say, I really am enjoying reviewing non-fiction. It’s a different art to writing about fiction, admittedly, which, for me anyway, encourages a reading that can seem a bit solipsistic at times. At least with the non-fiction, I’m generally looking for where it fits in in the broader sphere of environmental issues.
I also enjoy the fact that it tends to firm the text in question in my mind, that I remember it more clearly, and the whole reading process is a thoroughly active one. I’m not sure I’d enjoy reviewing fiction quite as much at the moment.