Friday, December 28, 2012

On-going stories from the up coming book!

With our book TRAVELING THE 38TH PARALLEL, A WATER LINE AROUND THE WORLD coming out this winter, many stories we encountered and described in the book continue to unfold.  Here is the link to a story about the Las Vegas aqueduct and approval by the Bureau of Land Management for the route across federal land, in the 12/27/12 issue of the Las Vegas Review Journal: BLM Approves Las Vegas Water Pipeline Project
Many issues surrounding this decision are detailed in our book, as our travels along the 38th Parallel took us to Pioche, Nevada.  We blogged about that experience at:  Water Grab in Eastern Nevada

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Book jacket "blurbs" for 38th Parallel book

"Regardless of our differences, all humans share an utter dependency on water. We will run out of oil eventually, but if we allow reason to prevail, we need not run out of water. This beautiful book both reveals the threat to our water resources and gives us hope. Read it for your sake and your children’s sake." -James Lawrence Powell, author of Dead Pool

“David and Janet Carle's journey along the 38th parallel turned into
something quite different- an exploration of diverse global environments,
of exploitation and heroic efforts at renewal with long-term planning for 
recovery. This is a treasure of a book that provides both hope and food 
for thought. Everyone who cares about the future of our environment 
should read this remarkable volume.” -Brian Fagan, author of Elixir: A History of Humans and Water 
and Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbar

"The 38th Parallel is a compelling read with wonderful tension between 
the environmental problems- the true reason for their journey- and the 
extraordinary sights they encounter following the 38th parallel. Pushed 
off the typical tourist path, David and Janet Carle's striking account of 
their journey addresses larger issues of deforestation, pollution and 
degradation of the land."
-Dean MacCannell, author of The Tourist and The Ethics of Sightseeing

"David and Janet Carle's journey along the 38th parallel provides a unique approach to exploring the world's struggle to maintain water resources. Their exploration of diverse cultures and landscapes combines wonderfully with their well-considered examination of water issues." -Robin Grossinger, Senior Scientist at the San Francisco Estuary Institute

Publication is expected April 1, 2013. Pre-orders can now be purchased at UC Press with shipping February 11

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Description of new book

Here's the book jacket/UC Press catalog description for our 38th Parallel water book, which is to be published by UC Press in February/March):

Traveling the 38th Parallel
A Water Line Around the World

by David Carle and Janet Carle

Between extremes of climate farther north and south, the 38th North parallel line marks a temperate, middle latitude where human societies have thrived since the beginning of civilization. It divides North and

South Korea, passes through Athens and San Francisco, and bisects Mono Lake in the eastern Sierra Nevada, where authors David and Janet Carle make their home. Former park rangers, the authors set out on an around-the-world journey in search of water-related environmental and cultural intersections along the 38th parallel. This book is a chronicle of their adventures as they meet people confronting challenges in water supply, pollution, wetlands loss, and habitat protection. At the heart of the narrative are the riveting stories of the passionate individuals—scientists, educators, and local activists—who are struggling to preserve some of the world's most amazing, yet threatened, landscapes.

Traveling largely outside of cities, away from well-beaten tourist tracks, the authors cross Japan, Korea, China, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Greece, Sicily, Spain, Portugal, the Azores Islands, and the United States—from Chesapeake Bay to San Francisco Bay. The stories they gather provide stark contrasts as well as reaffirming similarities across diverse cultures. Illustrated with photos from the authors’ travels, Traveling the 38th Parallel documents devastating environmental losses but also inspiring gains made through the efforts of dedicated individuals working against the odds to protect these fragile places.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Progress toward publication!

Progress on production of our 38th Parallel book at UC Press: looks like the cover will have a Rick Kattelmann aerial photo of the Mono Lake basin; looks like the title will be Traveling the 38th Parallel: a water line around the world; a copy editor is working on the text during the coming weeks; flyers for the book (which will be out in February/March) may even be available soon!  On an opening page, this epigraph will appear, quoting David Gaines from a Mono Lake Committee newsletter in 1986:  "If nature can heal an injured land, it can heal our...souls as well.  That's why saving Mono Lake is a matter of saving, and healing, ourselves.  Let's not change the planet.  Let the planet change us."

Friday, July 6, 2012

Will Hasankeyf's Heritage be Lost to a Tigris River Dam?

Sunday, May 23, 2010 

(note, the original post was removed for awhile; we are reposting this blog on an important topic that has still not been resolved in July 2012)

Hasankeyf (37°42'N; 41°24'E) is an ancient city carved into the rocky bluffs along the Tigris River. The site has been continuously occupied for more than 10,000 years, and its setting among rolling hills and sheer cliffs along the river is breathtakingly beautiful. The town is threatened by plans to build the Ilisu Dam on the Tigris River, creating a massive reservoir that would drown all but the highest sections of Hasankeyf, along with 200 other villages, displacing at least 80,000 people.
Hasankeyf could be submerged to the height of the Mosque tower
It was sunny and warm the day of our visit with guide Ipek Tasli, the local coordinator for the Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive, part of a a coalition of 72 groups which includes municipalities, environmental organizations, and “chambers of commerce” ( She took that position two years ago, though the group formed in 1997 (the idea for a dam on the Tigris River has been around for decades.)
Hasankeyf may be one of the oldest continuously inhabited places on Earth. An article in Smithsonian magazine in March 2009, noted Hasankeyf's role as a commercial center along the Silk Road trade route from China during the early Middle Ages: Marco Polo likely passed over its once-majestic stone, brick and wooden bridge, built around 1116 (only two massive stone piers and one arch remain).” From the newer bridge, we hiked uphill to where thousands of caves had been cut into limestone cliffs and used as residences and churches. A hilltop fortress included a secret stairway cut inside the cliff to maintain access to the river water during a siege. 
Returning to the riverside for a meal of barbecued fish, we watched as people played in the river shallows and young adults danced and sang in the street. There was a national holiday that day. We ate our Tigris River fish, seated around a low table on divans built right against the river edge, where we could watch fish down in the current nibbling at our crumbs.
International attention and resistance to the Ilisu dam project has grown because the reservoir will flood such extremely important historical and archaeological sites. Swiss, German, and Austrian underwriters within the European Union had funded initial work on the dam, but pulled out in December 2008 after so many issues emerged. A list of 150 World Bank conditions dealing with the environment, protection of heritage sites, relocation of residents, and impacts on Iraq, downstream, would have to be addressed if they were to provide funding. Turkey, however, is moving ahead with projected completion in 2017. The government vows it will fund the construction on its own. Ipek's coalition wonders what outside money is making that possible and the local Kurdish population is wary that this is part of on-going pressure against the region's Kurdish communities and culture.

The Tigris River here creates a unique canyon/riparian ecosystem. Fishing has been a major part of the human economy and also farming. With a dam, the fish populations will change and the river ecosystem will be gone. A local soft-shelled turtle (Rafetus euphraticus) has become a symbol of the environmental impacts for the Turkish environmental group, Doga Dernegi, which maintains an information booth within the town of Hasankeyf ( The turtle used to be found along the Euphrates also, but is nearly gone there now because so many dams have been completed. The effects of Ilisu could bring the species to the brink of extinction. But Turkey has no Endangered Species Act, nor, apparently, a public trust doctrine on which to rely for legal protection. Perhaps it would help if Turkey was accepted into the European Union, which has more progressive environmental laws. 

Ipek, though only 25 years old, is very eloquent and knowledgeable. We asked her what she hopes to see happen, and she answered that they will do their best to lobby internationally to, hopefully, bring pressure on the Turkish government. She said, “Hasankeyf does not belong to Turkey, it belongs to humankind. We will ask the people of the world to save Hasankeyf.” 
Should an ancient city that is part of the history of humankind be sacrificed for more electricity and water reservoirs? The eyes of the world need to turn toward Hasankeyf.