Foreign Relations & International Law

Chatter: Water, Security, and Conflict with Peter Gleick

David Priess, Peter Gleick
Thursday, June 15, 2023, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

Water, essential to the emergence and endurance of life on Earth, has both spurred technological advances and driven many types of conflict. For the first time in humanity's long history with water, we are starting to suffer the consequences of widespread unsustainable water use, and we soon will face a crucial collective choice about what future generations' interactions with water will look like.
Hydroclimatologist Peter Gleick has studied the issues at the intersection of water, climate change, security, and conflict for decades; he recently wrote The Three Ages of Water to bring together much of his life's work on how water has shaped the course of human history and why acting now is so vital for fostering a sustainable hydrologic future. David Priess hosted him for a conversation covering his early interest in hydrology, the importance of interdisciplinary studies for water issues, early civilizations' relationship with water, ancient epic flood stories, early legal codes' attention to water conflict, the scientific revolution's water impacts, water poverty, the difference between so-called water wars and conflicts involving water, Hollywood's portrayals of water conflicts, NASA's GRACE satellites, the peak water debate, the path to a more sustainable future, and more.
Among the works mentioned in this episode:
The book The Three Ages of Water by Peter Gleick
The book Bottled and Sold by Peter Gleick
The Water Conflict Chronology project at the Pacific Institute
The Water at the Movies compilation by Peter Gleick
The movie Waterworld
The movie Dune (1984)

The book Dune by Frank Herbert

Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited by Cara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad.
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David Priess is Director of Intelligence at Bedrock Learning, Inc. and a Senior Fellow at the Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy, and International Security. He served during the Clinton and Bush 43 administrations as a CIA officer and has written two books: “The President’s Book of Secrets,” about the top-secret President’s Daily Brief, and "How To Get Rid of a President," describing the ways American presidents have left office.
Peter Gleick is a hydroclimatologist and co-founder of Pacific Insititute.

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