“A Water Ethic: Cure for the Coming Crisis” is the title of author
Kirpatrick Sale’s June 2nd lecture for the Great Barrington Land
Conservancy. Mr. Sale will speak about how for centuries humans have
attempted to have control and dominance over the forces of nature, most
especially of water, but in the 21st century we have come to the point where
our control and use of water has reached a crisis. We depend upon water even
more than we do oil, but what isn’t being polluted and defiled is being used
up, in this country and around the world, at a disastrous rate. It is no
exaggeration to say that the wars of the coming century will most likely
about water, and when they are over there still won’t be enough to go
“The only way we can escape from the coming crisis is by developing a ‘water
ethic,’ similar to Aldo Leopold’s land ethic, but about this precious and
Mr. Sale’s talk is part of a weekend of festivities dedicating the William
Stanley Overlook on the Great Barrington River Walk (www.gbriverwalk.org).
The Observation Platform for the Overlook is directly across the Housatonic
River from the site of the historic Horace Day rubberwear factory. It was
here in 1886 that Stanley successfully transmitted high voltage alternating
current electricity. Interpretative signage tells the story of Stanley’s
experiments and his role in Great Barrington’s industrial history.
Great Barrington is proud of its River Walk, which also features the W. E.
B. Du Bois River Garden, honoring Great Barrington’s native son. The River
Walk is demonstrating the potential for developing riverfront access along
trashed and abused areas, so that more pristine riparian areas may remain
forever wild. River Walk has shown how public access need not compromise
river ecology and water quality, by creating vegetative buffers of native
species, mitigating non-point source pollution with drop inlets, installing
a rain garden and permeable trail surfaces, and addressing degraded soils
with “compost tea”. Most important, the process of building the River Walk
trail (now counting over two thousand volunteers) continues to strengthen
Great Barrington’s own “river ethic”. It is appropriate that Mr. Sale’s
Water Ethic address will be made in our town!
Kirkpatrick Sale is a contributing editor for the “Nation” and the author of
nine previous books, including “Human Scale,” “Dwellers in the Land: The
Bioregional Vision,” “Conquest of Paradise: Christopher Columbus and
Columbian Conquest,” “Rebels against the Future: The Luddites and Their War
on the Industrial Revolution,” and “The Fire of His Genius: Robert Fulton
and American Dream.” He was named by “Utne Reader” as one of the 100 Living
Visionaries. He makes his home in Cold Spring, New York.
In 1980 Mr. Sale was appointed a founding board member of the E. F.
Schumacher Society. He was responsible for suggesting the creation of the
Schumacher Library with its stellar collection of books on local economics.
Mr. Sale’s essay “Economics of Scale vs. the Scale of Economics” is printed
below for your information. It was first published in the February 2006
“Re-inventing Economics” issue of “Vermont Commons,” guest edited by Susan
Witt. Additional essays by Mr. Sale may be read online at the publications
section of the E. F. Schumacher Society’s web site
Staff of the E. F. Schumacher Society
140 Jug End Road
Great Barrington, MA 01230