In drought-stricken Mali, women
are often forced to travel ten miles
or more to collect water.
kind of environmentalism no
one can quite pin down.
But the two least known characters pro>led in Everything’s
Cool are the ones most likely to
convince the skeptics. Rick Piltz
was hired by the Bush administration to research and write
global warming reports for
each region of the United States.
His boss, Philip Cooney, later
changed the wording in his
reports and eventually ordered
them buried and ignored. When
Piltz leaked this information to
the press, America was >nally
alerted to our government’s
speci>c disinformation campaign
on this critical issue.
I showed this >lm to my students at an engineering school,
where some of the smartest kids
remain skeptical of the importance of
climate change. When they witnessed the
plight of Bish Neuhouser, a snow groomer
at a Park City ski resort who tries to
convert all his equipment to run on
biodiesel, they >nally became interested.
This regular guy’s homespun techie
e=orts and the outrageousness of the
Bush administration’s carefully plotted
lies got to them. Everything’s Cool has the
goods to convert the staunchest skeptics,
and that’s the highest compliment that a
global warming >lm can get.
by dieter telemans
Exhibitions International/BAI, 2007.
$55, 192 pages.
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and ?ood-ravaged places: in sand-drowned
villages in the Horn of Africa, ?ooded
Bangladeshi cities, forsaken refugee camps
in Chad. His photographs are the basis of a
traveling exhibition, a school curriculum,
and now a large-format, full-color book.
The photographs are gorgeous, even
as they are excruciating. Telemans >nds
a swirl of scarlet cloth
around the face of a
starving baby, and bright
colors in the broken
shoes of children waiting
for a Red Cross truck.
Of course, the risk of a
book of photographs so
artful is to make the
water tragedy just one more charismatic
crisis, as if human su=ering could be
redeemed by beauty, and to reduce the
people to faces without names or stories.
But Telemans makes sure that no
reader escapes the enormity of the crisis.
At every chapter break, statistics roll like a
mu<ed drum, page after page in faded
IF ONLY PEOPLE COULD SEE with
their own eyes the grieving harbor master
standing on the hulk of a ship aground in
the toxic desert that once
was the Aral Sea, or the redeyed children crowding
into line for water from a
truck, or the sa=ron-skirted
girls walking seven miles
a day with gallons of water
on their heads. Then, no
one would continue to allow the worldwide assault on the Earth’s
fresh water or discount the human costs
of desperately scarce and degraded drinking water. This is the premise of Dieter
Telemans’ stunning new book of photographs, Troubled Waters.
Telemans traveled around the world to
document the lives of people in drought-