A River Runs Again: India's Natural World in Crisis, from the Barren Cliffs of Rajasthan to the Farmlands of Karnataka
Crowded, hot, subject to violent swings in climate, with a government unable or unwilling to face the most vital challenges, the rich and poor increasingly living in worlds apart; for most of the world, this picture is of a possible future. For India, it is the very real present. In this lyrical exploration of life, loss, and survival, Meera Subramanian travels in search of the ordinary people and microenterprises determined to revive India's ravaged natural world: an engineer-turned-farmer brings organic food to Indian plates; villagers resuscitate a river run dry; cook stove designers persist on the quest for a smokeless fire; biologists bring vultures back from the brink of extinction; and in Bihar, one of India's most impoverished states, a bold young woman teaches adolescents the fundamentals of sexual health. While investigating these five environmental challenges, Subramanian discovers the stories that renew hope for a nation with the potential to lead India and the planet into a sustainable and prosperous future.
An elegiac account of India's struggles to cope with, or even reverse, the devastating effects of too many people living on too little land in a country where the poor still far outnumber the rich The problems are overwhelming and intransigent, but the human spirit shines through in attempts to set right the ways of heedless modernization. This is a book filled with small acts of bravery, and Subramanian wishes us to believe that they may, in the aggregate, turn the tide of decades of false promises of sustainability and growth.” Sheila Jasanoff, Current History
Exemplary...Subramanian's writing is thoughtful and often lyrical as she balances current science with narrative journalism from her travels, switching modes to great effect. While reporting on environmental issues can sometimes overwhelm or burden the reader with guilt, Subramanian thwarts this risk by providing refreshing glimpses of individuals and organizations working against the problems India faces. Her work is engaging, informative, and eminently readable.” Publishers Weekly, starred review
This is a necessary book. And Meera Subramanian is the perfect person to be writing it.” Suketu Mehta, author of Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found A River Runs Again is at once sweeping and intimatea smart, informative, richly reported book full of memorable characters.” Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History Meera Subramanian has written an eye-opening and even inspiring book about a country that is so often terribly misunderstood by the West. Her serious but never morose storytelling introduces us to an India that is neither basket case nor Shangri-La, but a diverse land full of ordinary people questing for an extraordinary goal: a happier, greener future for 1.2 billion of their fellow citizens, and for the rest of us, too. We should all be rooting them on.” Dan Fagin, Pulitzer Prizewinning author of Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation
[Meera Subramanian's] style (she has one) is cool, precise, understated and almost lyrical, in the tradition of the best literary / scientific journalists.” Richard Doughty, editor of Saudi Aramco World This is investigative journalism as story: fact-filled but optimistic, rueful and inviting. The author writes with warm intelligence, and she challenges readers. In each chapter, as well, Subramanian offers specific antidotes as anecdotes, narrating in a measured, conversational, welcoming voice Each of the stories is comprehensive while nimble, as well as provocative. Promising prescriptions to five of India's baneful environmental casesright thinking and accusatory in all the right places.” Kirkus Reviews The result of her immersion in the efforts of so many dedicated individuals is a hopeful narrative about good people doing hard work to improve the lives of others. Subramanian's strong journalist ethic shines