tv Book Discussion on Water in Plain Sight CSPAN September 17, 2016 10:00am-10:50am EDT
>> and really you always want to have, if possible, a reputable company or group that's helping as the middle sort of person many your transactions -- in your transactions. slightly different from what you're talking about, but i think relates, is that we had a professor, and it was actually in a texas well where she decided when she was taking a group to egypt that she wanted to have arrangements made herself and do it herself. and you really never want to do that, because she took a group to egypt, which was fine. but while in egypt, decided that she wanted to -- and her name i put as coordinator pearl. coordinator pearl took this
group of students on horses through an arranged guide along the nile. it sounds very nice, very beautiful. and so this guide with horses and her students who are on horses, and he no longer met the agreement that you're to stay near the nile, we're going to ride near the nile, and he started to diverge from the path, and she got nervous and said, you know, it's not what we agreed on, and he demanded that the group get off the horses immediately, and he and his horses left, rode off into the sunset. and so here was this group in the middle of egypt, had no idea where they were, didn't know if their area was dangerous or not, and there is some friction sometimes with americans in egypt now. but she really felt she was in a vulnerable state and was fortunate that they were able to, after a couple miles, find their way to some familiar ground. but they knew they were open to real problems. so i guess that's a long answer to say that, yes, you want to
make sure that you have something contractually in place. never try to make arrangements on your own, and certainly not while you're abroad. you want to get that all shored up before you ever go overseas. yeah. >> thank everyone for coming. thank you so much, dr. malveaux, for this dynamic and very thorough information. >> it is my pleasure to be able to share this, and i hope i do some good. thank you so much. >> all right. so if everyone would like to grab a slice of pizza before you leave, you're welcome to do that. no one really did that, and and thank you very much. >> thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> and you're watching booktv on c-span2. it's television for serious readers. here's a look at our prime time lineup for tonight.
now, we'll kick off the evening at 6:45 p.m. eastern time with hal scott. his book is called "connectedness and contagion," and it's on the financial system of the united states. then at 8 p.m., newly-sworn-in librarian of congress carla hayden sits down with booktv to discuss her life and career. and at 8:45 p.m., supreme court justice ruth bader ginsburg reflects on her time on the high court and her life. she's interviewed by ted olson, former solicitor general in the george w. bush administration. our "after words" program begins at 10 p.m. this evening. ceo and president of "the new york times," mark thompson, sits down with arianna huffington to discuss his new book about political language. it's called "enough said." and we wrap up booktv in prime time at 11 p.m. pulitzer prize-winning historian alan taylor examines the american revolution. now, that all happens tonight on
booktv on c-span2. >> good evening, even. welcome to the northshire bookstore, and thanks for coming tonight. my name is tracy davies, and i'm director of events here at the northshire. i would like to ask, if you have not done so already, to please silence your cell phones and also to let you know that following our discussion this evening, there will be a book steining down -- signing downstairs at the signing table, and we do have plenty of books available at the register. our special guest author this evening is judith schwartz, a journalist whose recent book looks at soil as well as multiple social and economic challenges and solutions. she writes for numerous publications and speaks in venues around the world. her 2013 book was awarded a novelist book award silver prize for sustainability and is among book lists' top ten books on sustainability.
a graduate from columbus journalism school and brown university, she lives here in vermont. tonight judith will be speaking about her new book, "water in plain sight," which is a book about the greater population sphere of water scarcity, but at its core, the eye-opening reminder that fixing the future of our drying planet is completely possible and involves understanding what makes natural systems drive in order to succeed. please join me in welcoming judith schwartz. [applause] >> thank you, tracy. i'm going to begin by reading the introduction, which is fairly brief, then i'll give a broader context to the book, then i'll tell a few stories, was what is the fun of writing a book you're not telling stories? so we begin. introduction, "water in plain sight." ooh, i knew something was missing. [laughter] thanks for bearing with me.
all right. yeah, i used to have perfect eyesight. it's unseasonably warm for december in paris, and the ice is melting. the ice, harvested as icebergs from a fjord in greenland, is an installation set up at a historic place dere eurozone. blocks are arranged in a circle to form a a clock. in winter dusk in paris is a leisurely affair, sprawling across the hours like lunch in a side street brassily. it's nearly dark when i reach the square, but the ice chunks -- some taller than the people wandering among them -- have their own glow, a kind of glinting charisma. people pose by the blocks, snapping photos. children holding onto their parents' hands touch the ice and
giggle at its smooth coldness. some young children in snow suits and wool hats are in strollers. i wonder what their parents are saying when they bend down to explain that each drop of dissolving water ticks off another moment toward the potential destruction of earth's climate as we know it. water was a presence at cop 21, the international conference on climate change in which 195 countries a agreed to place limits on greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to curb global warming. water was central to the emergence of the high ambition coalition as island and other low-lying nations pressed for more stringent emissions limits. leaders from states such as the marshall islands in the pacific and st. lucia in the caribbean noted that if expected warming
trends continue, their very existence was under threat. water was a theme at the international rights of nature tribunal held at the -- [inaudible] formerly a steelworkers' union hall and now a cultural venue in the 11th -- [speaking in native tongue] among the cases wrought before the judges in the packed hall was the commercialization of nature in which the provisions of nature such as clean water become products to be bought and sold. other hearings condemned the building of megadams that would displace indigenous communities and oil and mineral extraction that damages rivers and other water sources. water was on the agenda at the people's climate summit in a suburb with a picturesque old world square at paris' eastern edge where more than 100 citizen-driven workshops and discussions took place.
along with two friends from spain and mexico respectively, i headed up a steep hill to a vast, fortress-like school for a panel on water and climate. we were joined by an orderly stream of students and activists including members of the grandparents climate campaign from norway, some very tall men and women in red hats and pennies enroute to various events. jean claude oliva, director of the organization -- [inaudible] [speaking in native tongue] opened the water and climate forum by saying water tends to be seen as related to the consequences of climate but not as an inherent part of climate change. and yet human activities have been affecting the water cycle in a way that is affecting climate change. this shows we can actually act on climate change through our water practices.
and water was part of numerous, random conversations. i was in paris in december 2015 during cop 21 with a group called regeneration international, a global network of activists, scientists and communicators. i was bunking in an eight-bed room in a backpackers' hostel the that houses a lively -- housed a lively nightclub downstairs. one morning i ran into a person who had joined our room sometime during the night, having just arrived from indonesia. she told me that in the village where she works in east java, the spring water is among the finest in the world. now that the water is being privately bottled by aqua, a subsidiary of danon, the local people are struggling to get clean water. they have to walk several kilometers to get water, she said. it's hard work. it's a mountainous area, so they're climbing up and down.
water connects us all. it connects highlands and lowlands and communities upstream to cities at coast. bodies of water transcend national boundaries and so create incentives for groups to cooperate and trade. waterways offered a means of travel long before anyone dreamed of riding on wheels. and, of course, water connects us socially. the universal gesture of peace and hospitality is to offer another person something to drink. water is a point of connection for many of our global challenges as well as for solutions. protecting water resources such as maintaining moisture in soil can help mitigate against climate change. water cycle interacts with all basic biophysical cycles -- the carbon cycle, the energy cycle and the nutrient cycle. the better we understand this
and the better we appreciate how water processes relate to alleviating poverty and hunger, reversing decertification and rebuilding by diversity, the more equipped we will be to take on the difficulties of our time. in this book i hope to put water in context, to explore how water works and highlight water's roles in -- and other timely concerns. to do so, i'll share stories of water innovators from around the world who are finding new routes to water security, strategies and insights with important implications for food justice, economic resilience and climate change. these stories will take us from mexico to africa to australia, from deserts to mountains to rain forests. we begin in zimbabwe, a country in southern africa, that falls
at the end of the alphabet and ranks near last on every social and economic indicator. here among the wild elephants and antelope and dusty landscape, we'll find revived rivers and pastures and hope for a thirsty world. so we will come back to zimbabwe. but i'll put this in, i'll put this in context. so this book is clearly a book about water, but as you've sensed, it's also a book about climate change and about biodiversity and about peace and conflict and food security. so what i do in the book is i explore how water connects with all those different facets of our challenges and also explore how water literacy, understanding how water works, how water moves across the landscape and through the atmosphere can help us better
address these concerns. because it's no news to any of you that we do have a lot of really, really difficult challenges before us, but we are not going to resolve those challenges with a visual graph. you know, i'm thinking of the keeling curve. we're not going to really get at these problems by -- we're not going to get there from, from scientific research, you know, from peer-reviewed studies in part because of the politicization of agricultural science and also because most research is not out in the real world. it's done in labs so that you don't see how a whole system
operates. and the same way we're really not going to get at our challenges by looking at each one separately. in other words, we can't over here say, okay, we're going to deal with biodiversity loss and be competing with other institutions that are dealing with climate change and floods and droughts and all those other things. no. the way that we're going to really, really address these challenges is by looking at the whole system, asking questions like how does nature work and how -- what might we learn from that. and by looking at systems as a whole in the context of our social and economic circumstances. so i have been so lucky in this process because i have been
hanging out with the most hopeful, the most interesting, the most quirky -- i can say -- people who are looking at things sideways, who are saying, okay, well, i know that the agricultural science divisions say that i should do that, but i think that as i've observed in nature, this is what i see, and i think working to bolster biodiversity on my land is a better way to go. so so it's also really exciting to be part of what is becoming a growing movement, a growing international movement around regenerative agriculture. and it's really interesting, you know, i have -- yeah, so i'm admitting it, i'm having a good time with all of this. and what's interesting is when i wrote the book on soil that came out three years ago, when i was
writing that, there was in bennington, vermont, in my little office, you know, sitting at my little desk, and it felt like i was in this alone, you know, that i was putting ideas together. i had my sources, but my sources weren't necessarily talking to each other. so i would just sit there and say, oh, my gosh, i really hadn't understood the potential of working with water to address climate change. and, you know, sometimes i would be there and feel like my head was going to explode be, because i had no one really to talk to about this. but in the last few years, so many organizations have arisen that deal with soil, that deal with regenerative agriculture, that, i moon, it's really -- i mean, it's really quite mind-blowing. as we speak, in california right now there is the soil, not oil conference going on. and i'll just rattle off a couple of the names of the organizations that i've been interacting with. okay.
so there's soil for climate, there's biodiversity for a livable climate, there's the center for food safetyies, cool foods, the food and climate initiative, there's regeneration international in california, in los angeles. there's kiss the ground. there's the soil carbon coalition. there's project drawdown. there's the carbon underground. okay, so you're getting a sense that this is something that's -- people are really starting to make these connections, and it's, you know, it's been exciting to be a part of that. so i learned from observing and sharing the insights of the people that i had a chance to visit with, so i'm going to just leap in and tell some of those stories, and then i invite you to ask questions, and i'm happy to share more with you. okay. so i left you dangling there
with zimbabwe, you know? i would guess that that's probably not first on the travel list, you know, wish list for many people. but it was really, really quite extraordinary. so what brought me to zimbabwe was this person -- well, it's the africa center for holistic management, and that evolved through the work of someone named alan savory. and i'm just curious if anyone has heard of alan savior. >> [inaudible] >> -- alan savory. >> [inaudible] >> yes, okay. i'll do a cameo intro of alan. alan is what was rhodesia, now zimbabwe, and he's 80 years old now. and as a child, he loved wildlife more than anything in the world. and so, of course, he wanted to be a park ranger. actually, that's kind of a similar story to my husband who's sitting right here who grew up in south africa and
wanted to be a game ranger when he grew up. so alan started to work with the park service when -- this was in the 1950s when they were just establishing the national parks. and he grew aware that the wild, the land, the savannah, it wasn't as vibrant, that there weren't as many animals as there were when he was a child. and this was of great concern. and among the i crew, they -- among the crew, they decided, okay, maybe there's too many animals for the landscape, and why don't we fence it off and give the land a chance to rebound? so they did that, and what happened was the land deteriorated further. so this made no sense. the problem was that there were too many animals and then you remove the animals and the land gets worse, something wasn't adding up.
so alan took it upon himself, i mean, through years of study, through getting up in the middle of the night and looking at rain and looking to see where the water flowed and all these different things, looking at animals, he came to understand that grasslands like the african savannah and grazing animals co-evolved so that the animals -- that the land needs the animals in the same way that the animals need the land. and came to understand many of the dynamics and how the actions of animals on the land, what they call animal impact, really did kick start a number of biological processes that led to a thriving ecosystem. so the animals' waste added fertilizer, they would trample down decaying plant matter so that that plant matter would be, you know, be in contact with
microorganisms so the microorganisms could break it down and, you know, build it into the soil as opposed to just having that plant matter oxidize and release co2 and block the sunlight from other seeds. so with all these different, different dynamics. and what was happening is that the predator population was declining, so the animals weren't kept on move in the same way. so he developed holistic management which is the decision-making framework for this, and then holistic plan grazing in which the animals -- animals are managed in a way that mimics those natural processes. and over decades he refined this, and he bought land and then gave the land back to the government and started this nonprofit, the africa center for holistic management, which was -- which is the demonstration site.
so i had been hearing about people who said that their land has rebounded and, you know, rather than going into debt because their ranch went into decline, they were able to to keep going, and people all across the world. but i hadn't been there. so when i embarked on this new book, i realized, you know what? i've got to go. i know it's a long trip and maybe costs a bit, but i better get over there. so i'm thrilled that i did, because it was really exciting but also really to see this, to' it like -- to see it like right there. just some of the changes that were pointed out to us. so there's the main river in that area is called the -- [inaudible] it means where the grass grows high. and indeed, it's a perfect name because it is growing high again. the river now flows through the year.
that started in about 2014, and also it runs farther up into the landscape about a kilometer and a half further than in living memory. and what we saw were not only was there water, there was all the wildlife that comes with the, that comes with water in the landscape with, you know, a thriving river. and we saw reeds, and we saw sedges, and we saw plants that virtually define wetlands. so this was becoming a wetland. this happened over a period of about 15 years. and in the past there had only been one pool where all the elephants came to water, and elephants like to water, and they like to wallow, and they play and they spray each other with their trunks and the like. and it was good for people because when there was only one pool, then you always knew where to find the elephants. but now there are many pools for the elephants to water, so it's good for the elephants.
maybe not so good for game watching. but another thing that struck us was seeing healthy herds of sable antelope because we know that in many south african parks numbers of sable are declining, and these are beautiful, beautiful, stately creatures with, you know, like, straight antlers or horns. anyway, they're very beautiful. but the fact that we were seeing so many of them meant that there was a diversity of grasses, and there was healthy grasses because that's what these particular antelopes need. and then in terms of people, we went to some villages where the africa center had been working with these people, you know, with these rural communities. i mean, this is poverty like we just can't even imagine, and it was so deeply humbling to meet with these people because, you
know, like we might, i might have had an extra bag, you know, that i was just carrying around. i mean, how many bags do we have in our hands from day-to-day? people were very anxious, you know, may i have that, because that was something they could use. so in these villages, these two villages that we went to, people have been able to get off food aid because the animal impact by pooling their cattle and moving them from crop field to crop field, they were able to enhance the fertility, enhance the land's ability to hold water so that they could have maybe six or seven months of growing their crops instead of just two. so these people were really happy because you look at something like that, and, you know, the implications go all the way down the line; getting off food aid meant that they had a sense of pride because it's no
joy to be dependent on others. they were allowed to bring, they could bring their children to school because when the children were hungry, they didn't dare send their children to school because, you know, it was taxing for the children to walk back and forth. so that was really, really something. so i said something, and i want to mention that because i don't think i've made it clear and i think it's so important, because one of the things i do talk about in this book a lot is the notion that we can't really talk about our water problems whether droughts or floods without also talking about the land. so, and often when we talk about water problems, it's just about how much is coming from the sky. not enough and we have a drought can. too much and we have floods. but that's the way that we're often kind of trained to think about it. but land is -- how we treat the
land is crucial. so the factor here i want to bring up is carbon, all right? so car won in the soil -- carbon in the soil is a real, it's really, really important. so carbon is the main ingredient in soil organic matter, not to get kind of, you know, techie or science-y about it, but -- so organic matter, that's the good stuff. that's what you want in your soil to grow, you know, to have your garden, you know, really look great and be great. so a 1% increase in soil organic matter means an extra 20,000 gallons of water per acre that that land can hold. and what that means is that if you have rich soil that has, that's, you know, really -- you worked the soil and there's a
lot of carbon in it, i mean, as our lands used to be, i mean, our prairies, you know, like our native grasslands, they were -- they had such rich soil which is why everybody couldn't, you know, wait to plow it up and put crops in there. so, but what that means is that if you have a really, really strong, heavy rainfall, your land can hold that rain. so i've heard -- i know of lots of cases where someone who's been working to restore their soil and build their soil, they're fine after, like, a 13-inch rainfall. that's a real, intense rainfall. whereas their neighbors are losing, you know, like -- you know, there's erosion, their tractors are slipping and, you know, they're having all kinds of problems. so that's one thing. and then also you can, when you hold water in the soil, you can
go a lot further between rainfalls. so that as has implications for irrigation, how much water you need and just keeping the plants growing through, you know, continually. so there we are. you know, i'm going to open it up to questions because i can go in so many different directions, and i could talk about my reporting trips happily all day, but, you know, i just, you know, put out a few themes there, that the importance of soil, the trip to zimbabwe which showed that working with animals, that managing animals in a particular way -- and it's not just cattle. in this case it was cattle, but it's goats, it's sheep. in this -- at the africa center they are working on a project with chickens and pigs. apparently, they work in synergy, and the pigs' rooting
behavior creates holes for water to the to linger and filter -- to linger and filter, and the pigs and chickens, apparently, like even each other. the pig lets get up in the morning, and they want to play with the chickens. i left you with a couple of thoughts, but i'm happy to hear your questions and respond. >> the area of zimbabwe about which you're speaking -- [laughter] was it getting adequate rainfall prior to this regeneration of soil? and it just wasn't being held in the soil? >> the rainfall there, they'd been kind of lackluster rainfall years, but they weren't getting no rainfall. so it was, so that brings up what alan savory always talks about which is it's not how much
rain you get, it's making that rainfall effective. so that was the shift. they weren't great rainfall years, but what they got they were able to make effective. so another example that we were able to see is that he took us to a point where two rivers meet. one side was parkland, national parkland, and the other was their land. and the park parkland had flooded, and you could see the debris that was kind of stuck on, like, the trees about three meters high. and the debris was only up to about here at the -- the africa center's land. and as alan said, if we had been over there, this vehicle would have been underwater. >> [inaudible] zimbabwe is coming out of or is still in a -- [inaudible] i believe there's still water in the river, but everywhere else
it's a national crisis, and it's part of the reason the whole country is actually up in arms at the moment. two years of no rain, virtually no rain. finish. >> yes. >> we happened to be in botswana on a safari, and it was fascinating. but one of the things that we learned about was that the water that comes down through the delta actually comes from north africa. and it's not necessarily rain that happens right where you are. and the concern of international politics of china -- [inaudible] and building dams and in north africa how that's going to affect south africa. i don't know if you have any -- >> yeah, yeah. i don't, you know, i guess in zimbabwe and south africa we had been talking about the water that they receive, but botswana's a little further north. that is such an important point about the land grabs because that's going on all over world
and hugely in south america and in africa. and many of these, these purchases of, you know, huge tracts of land, they're land grabs, but they're really water grabs. and and, yeah, the implications are really, really huge because you might -- a project that's being worked on like a development project may take, may stop the water that would normally flow into another area. yeah, no, that's really, really of huge concern. so thank you for mentioning that. >> but that's what happens here in the united states out west, and that's been a long problem where we have, you know, three or four major rivers, and there are dams and electric plants x they're using up the water that then can't get down river, you know? and so this is, you know, you
talk about wyoming and colorado and nevada and utah. and so we even have the northern states -- well, the southern states arguing and upset with our northern states, you know? and we don't feel that here, you know? we just don't feel that in the northeast. there's water -- [inaudible] we've traveled out west quite a bit, and water has been the primary -- well, forget the drought. it was just water usage for the crops and the dams and -- [inaudible] >> right. >> [inaudible] >> right. there are so many in that, you know, we could tease out that concern, you know, like in so many different ways, and you're absolutely right. it makes no sense that we're growing, like, 50% of our nation's produce in this dry area. but i will say one thing, that that's -- it's not only those -- that there's also other ways to look at it too, and that's to rehydrate those areas of the west, and there are ways to do
that working with nature such as bringing back beaver, prairie dogs and rebuilding those landscapes that they're healthier and able to hold more water. yes. >> as i mentioned earlier, i've spent a lot of time living in california, and i'm here in vermont on occasion, and so i'm familiar with the water issues in california. but i'm wondering what the, what the problems and opportunities are in this region of the country, in southern vermont, around water. >> yeah. we have very different challenges that we've had industrial, the legacy of our local industry which has had, has meant that there's pollution in many of our water sources. i mean, that's a huge, huge topic in and of itself. but in terms of the, you know, what i've been looking at which
is how water moves across the landscape, okay. we don't have the problems that we have out west. although we're not doing so hot in some ways. i mean, we had hurricane irene which was a big crisis for vermont, and so many parts of the tate flooded -- of the state flooded. people lost homes and a few people lost their lives, and it, you know, it left a lot of wreckage. had our agricultural soils been healthier, maybe we could have reduced that impact. i haven't really studied that. and then, of course, we have a lot of agricultural waste going into lake champlain, so there's a lot that we can do. but it is different because out
west you have water providing, like, providing -- going towards energy, you know? the energy system. and then a huge, huge use of energy that's going towards moving water all around. so it is, it is different. but in talking about the west, it's interesting you mentioned nevada. nevada is the driest state in the country. there are -- so a group of people in nevada that have been working with ranchers, okay. so you have a really dry area. there's a woman, a scientist with one of the national divisions of -- i forget it's usda or forestry, but, okay. so she's a biologist, a scientist. and her specialty is fish. and with the land drying up and, you know, the streams drying up, her work wasn't very exciting. so she wanted to bring back more fish. is so what happened was she worked with some ranchers who
used holistic plant grazing to build the land, to build the banks of streams and stop erosion and all of that, and then what happened as land became restored, beavers returned. and as the beavers returned, the water really, like, it just accelerated that process. and so what they're able to do is as they have the melt of snow from the sierras coming down, they're able to hold that water, and the fish have returned. so it's really an extraordinary story. so, yeah. so, yes, we have a certain set of problems here. i mean, but, yeah, we -- i guess also another factor is that all of us because of climate change,
and i want to, you know, i want to -- i'll come back to how i look at climate change, because i think it gives us more agency. because of changes in our climate, everyone's rain is erratic. so we all need to think more about how we use water and how we keep water in the landscape through agricultural and other practices. so that's important. okay. so -- >> [inaudible] snow again this year. >> right. >> a sign of what's going on in the larger picture. >> yeah. so farmers all over are talking about different patterns. but, again, everything is connected. so the way i like to think about climate change, as i said, because i think it gives us -- it opens up more opportunities is as a symptom of, or the manifestation of disrupted
carbon, water and energy cycles. and once we think of it that way, then we can start to roll up our sleeves and say, okay, how can we begin to restore those cycles? because in restoring, in working with carbon, you're also working with the water cycle. you're also working with the energy cycle. because when you have carbon-rich soil, you're holding water. then plants grow. and when plants are growing, you have transpiration which is a cooling process. and when you have plant cover, when the sun's energy strikes the surface, rather than getting sensible heat -- which is heat you can feel which is what you get on bare soil, which is what you get on asphalt, our driveways, roofs, parking lots -- instead of that you have the sun is coming down on plants
which means it is helping the plants to grow, you know, it is bestowing its energy on plants and also through transpiration it is changing heat energy to latent energy. and there are all these dynamics that are so interesting once you look at transpiration and condensation. you have heat being transformed, you have water moving in the form of water vapor all the way around. and just the people that i've talked to just, the understanding of the role of forests in drawing in moisture and in cooling and all of these different fascinating dynamics, there's so much that we can do. and another thing, i mentioned condensation. just one other little visit in the book that we went in the middle of high her, we went to -- high summer, we went to
the texas desert, tar west texas. and the reason -- far west texas. and the reason we went there was i had met somebody at a conference, and she told me how they were capturing condensation for their rain, for all their water needs because of the way they designed their roof. i mean, this is -- so there was a point, it was three or four months after the last rain, and their water tank overflowed by working with condensation. and also i've talked to people who say that you can think of dew as the most important water in the landscape because it's the most predictable. so they actually grow their crops -- now, they're not big on crops, but they have some -- they've determined where to grow their crops on when, where the sun hits and when the sup hits so that -- the sun hits so that
they can keep that moisture in the soil and on the plants, available to the plants as long as they can. so all these things, it's all, it's all opened up, it's all possible. and so that's what's exciting. and, you know, just i alluded to this, but -- and then the person from france that i mentioned at back in paris, that we can work with the water cycle to cool. so this fellow named walter yenna from australia, he's a soil microbiologist, and he's absolutely brilliant, he works with an organization called healthy soils australia, and he has what i would call, you know, just from what i've seen the most come prehencive and hopeful -- comprehensive and hopeful approach to actually grappling with climate change. it's called regenerate australia.
using various water processes to cool in order to bide time to draw down atmospheric carbon. it's very, very powerful. and it's, you know, anyway, i don't want to try to remember his ten point because i'm not going to get them correctly. but as he points out, our climate is like 90% determined by hydrological processes, and that makes sense. anyone who feels the change in the weather, you know, like the moisture, it's just that water vapor which is the most, the dominant greenhouse gas is conveying heat, moving it constantly. so i just think it, we can start to really heed that and understand, well, okay, i'll leave you with this one thought. i have no idea -- oh, we'll have
another question. i'll take your question and then leave you with this thought. >> [inaudible] >> sure. >> there's a -- [inaudible] going on in california. >> yes. >> is that when the fires and all the drought out there are going on? are they going to be involved with that to help it? >> i don't know. >> i mean, what is the conference? >> the conference is just north of san francisco -- >> [inaudible] >> yeah. yeah. >> okay. i didn't know whether something was going on at this point there. >> i don't know. i mean, life goes on, you know? what can you say? yes. >> [inaudible] because i can get despairing about, you know, this is my, like, the issue that breaks my heart and causes me to, you know, worry about my children and my grandchildren. and it feels like we've gotten to that tipping point. and so i love that you're looking at solutions, and you're involved in regenerative practices, and there's so many people doing it. i just wonder about the time factor. and i wonder about the rapidity
of the icecaps melting. and i know there are people that far studied the greenland ice -- i don't know if it's called the cap or whatever it's called and major climate scientists who are there -- >> yes. >> -- because they're saying it's going so much more quickly than they ever could have projected. >> yes, okay. >> i am just wondering where -- [inaudible] >> okay. yes, it is a race. we have got to get on it, which is why i am so committed to doing everything that i can, and i'm so grateful for all these groups that are getting on it, and there's also a number of people that are working on scaling up regenerative kind of, camps of ecological restoration, camp, co-ops. all this is happening. to be honest, our country's a little bit lagging but, you know, this is happening. what -- yes, i do get concerned about that.
but i, there's no time to be concerned because we've got to act. >> right. >> and also one needs to have hope. and then as -- i guess what does keep me hopeful is that natural processes want to be healthy. and so many examples that i have found of places where the environment rebounded and was restored quicker than anyone could have imagined. and as one of my sources, someone who runs, like, has a little operation called the soil carbon coalition, and he's been -- peter donovan. he's been going around north america on a bus. he lives in this bus measuring soil carbon levels in the soil at different farms. what he, he talks about that at