cover image Downstream: Reimagining Water

Downstream: Reimagining Water

Edited by Dorothy Christian and Rita Wong. Wilfrid Laurier Univ. (IPS, U.S. dist.; UTP, Canadian dist.), $34.99 (283p) ISBN 978-1-77112-213-9

This rich collection brings together the work of artists, writers, scientists, scholars, environmentalists, and activists, all focusing on the looming global water crisis. Editors Christian, a First Nations academic, and Wong, a Chinese-Canadian poet (Undercurrent), emphasize the need for dialogue between indigenous and Euro-Western thought systems. The book promotes a “participatory water ethic” based on the realization that water connects all life on earth in an interdependent relationship—“the fluid flows that make up our homelands and our bodies.” The editors argue that indigenous perspectives on water, characterized by respect, relevance, reciprocity, and responsibility, deserve recognition as an alternative to the common Euro-Western view that water is merely an exploitable resource. The book is divided into four parts: how water nourishes human bodies, minds, and environment; indigenous testimonies detailing how water is the foundation of life on earth; ways that different artistic groups in Canada and the U.S. are using art and performance to express the importance of water; and lastly, ways that different cultures coexist and thrive in relation to water. Writing styles vary from piece to piece throughout the book—poetic, personal, journalistic, and academic—but the shifts between each are well worth navigating for any reader interested in human futures on Earth. (Apr.)