Our Nation's Water Resources, Policies and Politics: Lectures Given at the University of Chicago, April and May 1956

Our Nation's Water Resources, Policies and Politics: Lectures Given at the University of Chicago, April and May 1956

Our Nation's Water Resources, Policies and Politics: Lectures Given at the University of Chicago, April and May 1956

Our Nation's Water Resources, Policies and Politics: Lectures Given at the University of Chicago, April and May 1956

Excerpt

The first name in the history of Greek philosophy is Thales, who lived in the city of Miletus six hundred years before Christ. Like most philosophers from that day to this he believed that some kind of unity lay behind the apparent diversity of the world as it appears to the senses. Thales looked for an ultimate substance as the origin of all things, and he concluded that this substance is water. However absurd this conclusion may be scientifically and philosophically, it is interesting that such profound significance should be attached to water so early in man's intellectual history.

Modern studies of the relation of water to all life underscore its importance and our utter dependence on it. "It remains," concludes Lawrence Henderson in his remarkable book The Fitness of the Environment, "the most familiar and the most important of all things." A report in "The Scientific American" for January, 1956, says that "men have gone without food for well over thirty days . . . but a man in a hot desert without water may be brought within the grasp of death in a few hours."

Just as dependent as is the individual on water are the civilizations man has developed; neither can outlast the exhaustion of the water supply. I will cite just one in-

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