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LOGO FL HUM CNCLCYNTHIA BARNETT TO SPEAK
 AT CKHS COFFEE
January 1, 2018

The following is an excerpt from Cynthia Barnett on her topic for the first in a series of lectures which will be hosted by the Cedar Key Historical Society in conjunction with the Florida Humanities Council. The date is Thursday,  January 18th and the location is the Cedar Key Community Center, 809 6th Street in Cedar Key at 10 a.m.   Cedar Key Historical Society

RAIN: A History for Stormy Times: A natural and cultural tour of RAIN, from the torrents that filled the oceans four billion years ago to the modern story of climate change. A wellspring of life, rain also has a place in our souls. In an ancient perfume region in northern India, villagers bottle the scent of rain from the monsoon-drenched earth, while in Manchester, England, and America’s Seattle, leaden skies helped inspire Morrissey and Kurt Cobain’s grunge. The scents and songs capture rain in small ways. Humans have long been convinced we could control the atmosphere with ideas much bigger, from the Roman rain god Jupiter Pluvius to the 2,203 miles of levees that attempt to straightjacket the Mississippi River.

Now, after thousands of years spent praying for rain or worshiping it; burning witches at the stake to stop rain or sacrificing small children to bring it; even trying to blast rain out of the sky with mortars meant for war, humanity has finally managed to change the rain. Only not in ways we intended. Changing rainfall patterns are some of the earliest tremors of our warming globe. Armed with computer models looking forward, there is also much to learn from looking back. Too much and not enough, rain is an experience we share. Its history has much to tell us about coming together to live more ethically with water – and adapt to the stormy times ahead.

Cynthia Barnett is a long-time journalist who has covered freshwater issues from the Suwannee River to Singapore. She is the author of three books on water. Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S., won the gold medal for best nonfiction in the Florida Book Awards and was named by The St. Petersburg Times as one of the top 10 books that every Floridian should read. Blue Revolution: Unmaking America’s Water Crisis, was named one of the top 10 science books of 2011 by The Boston Globe.

The Globe calls Barnett “part journalist, part mom, part historian, and part optimist.” The Los Angeles Times writes that she “takes us back to the origins of our water in much the same way, with much the same vividness and compassion as Michael Pollan led us from our kitchens to potato fields and feed lots of modern agribusiness.” Barnett’s latest book, Rain, came out in spring 2015.

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