Humans, animals, and plants all need water to survive, making water perhaps the most essential substance on our planet. From the very earliest civilisations, humans have attempted to capture and control water, and the development of societies since has run alongside the development of water infrastructure.
Today, despite all of our advances, humankind is arguably just as dependent on – and at the mercy of – water today as we have ever been. But with climate change threatening to disrupt the supply of and access to water, we need to deepen our understanding of the significance that water holds, and recognise how it has and will shape our institutions, our politics, and our lives.
Giulio Boccaletti is a trained physicist and climate expert, and his new book Water: A Biography journeys through time and across geographies to explore how water has shaped human civilisation. “The story of water,” he writes, “is really a story about us.”
Giulio will be in conversation with Bianca Shead, who is the Director of Global Strategic Communications at The Nature Conservancy.
With climate change already happening, Giulio and Bianca will prompt you to consider how businesses, institutions, and society at large should respond to changes in the distribution and availability of water. “Managing water entails far more than implementing a portfolio of solutions,” he says. “It is about the rules a society gives itself to live together in a moving landscape.”
If you’ve ever used water, this event might interest you.
Copies of Water: A Biography will be available for purchase before and after the event.
Please note that in-person attendance is reserved for Conduit Members and their guests. For more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Giulio Boccaletti is a globally recognised expert on natural resource security and environmental sustainability. He is an honorary research associate at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford.
Trained as a physicist and climate scientist, he holds a doctorate from Princeton University, where he was a NASA Earth Systems Science Fellow. He has been a research scientist at MIT and was a partner at McKinsey & Company, where he was one of the leaders of its Sustainability and Resource Productivity Practice, and the chief strategy officer and global ambassador for water at The Nature Conservancy, one of the world’s largest environmental organizations.
Boccaletti frequently writes on environmental issues for the news media, including Project Syndicate and The Guardian, and is an expert contributor to the World Economic Forum. His work on water has been featured in the PBS documentary series H2O: The Molecule That Made Us. He lives in London.
Bianca Shead is The Nature Conservancy’s Director of Global Strategic Communications, leading the development and implementation of TNC’s strategic communications and thought leadership with key global influencer audiences. Her team encompasses media relations, conservation communications, policy communications, crisis and reputation and audience engagement and promotion.
Bianca joined TNC in 2017 as Director of Communications for Global Water. Prior to joining TNC, she spent a decade at global brewer, SABMiller, in roles that included leading communications on sustainable development and SABMiller’s Africa strategy, a period as head of corporate affairs for the Europe region and, latterly, the role of global policy and advocacy for sustainable development. She also spent several years working as a broadcast journalist for regional radio stations.
Bianca has a bachelor’s degree in French from the University of Nottingham and has completed executive education studies at Cambridge Judge Business School & Oxford Saïd Business School. She lives in London with her husband and young son, and spends her free time boating on and paddling in the River Thames.