Nov. 28: Taps Leak Energy, Cars Burn Water

Where: Olin 130

When: Wednesday, November 28, 7:30 PM


You’ve heard it before: turn off the tap when you brush your teeth, or shave, or lather up in the shower. And you obey. And that’s good. But not for the reason you think. Meanwhile, supposedly ‘clean’ biofuel, geothermal and hydropower may trigger environmental catastrophe. Welcome to the nexus. A fifth of U.S. energy is consumed by water, and the biggest use of water today is for production of energy. And that’s an efficient country. Global energy supply is constrained by scarce water supplies, and vice-versa. Demand for one resource chokes access to the other. Education and democracy don’t help: natural resource depletion comes at the behest of our free, rational and informed electorate. We confront threats not from some corrupt regulator, incompetent bureaucrat or nefarious multinational corporation, but from the enemy in the mirror: ourselves. But there’s a painless way out of our predicament…


Jamie Workman graduated cum laude in history from Yale and Oxford in 1990. As a prize-winning investigative journalist in Washington, D.C., Workman was recruited as special assistant to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, where Workman pioneered river restoration through national dam removals. Moving overseas as senior adviser to the World Commission on Dams under Nelson Mandela, Workman advised corporations, governments and international NGOs on natural resource policy, valuation, mitigation and adaptation. He has published dozens of articles and several books on how to unlock the true value of water, including the award-winning dramatic non-fiction narrative, Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought.

Sponsored by the O'Donnell Visiting Educator Series. This event is part of a series of lectures by Professor Workman called "Three Things Your Parents Didn't Tell You About Water Conservation."