276-The Water Crisis in the Face of Climate Change, with Charles Fishman-Encore Presentation

| Care, Podcast

Much of the United States is experiencing drought as of this writing and millions of Americans are facing water shortages right now or in the near future. I thought this week would be the perfect time to revisit my conversation with Charles Fishman, author of The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water.” 

Charles lives in Washington, D.C., and is an award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author who has written about a wide variety of topics, including a recent book on the 1960s race to the Moon. In “The Big Thirst,” first published in 2011, he encourages us to be conscious of the water we use and how it is managed and distributed. He believes that many of our modern-day water issues are due to our collective lack of thinking about it. We take for granted that this vital resource will flow when we turn on the tap, so much so that water infrastructure is practically invisible to us — until there is a crisis.


Charles Fishman

I was captivated by Charles Fishman’s book “The Big Thirst” immediately. It offers important lessons that I hope will spur more people and communities to implement change. (photo: Courtesy Charles Fishman)


If you are not experiencing a drought at this time, you may be living in a part of the country that has the opposite problem — severe flooding — such as Kentucky, West Virginia, and just last week, Dallas. You are all on my mind right now. This episode will help all of us think more deeply about water crises and the impact of climate change and population increases.

As gardeners, we are among the largest consumers of water, but we’re also environmental stewards and potentially the best conservers of water. Immersing yourself in my conversation with Charles or reading his book will at the very least make you more water aware, and that is the goal of this podcast episode.

Many of you already know and love “The Big Thirst.” It’s an eye-opening read that’s hard to put down. It’s all about water, its past, present and future, and opened my eyes to think about water in new ways. For more about this book and a recap of my conversation with Charles, check out the show notes from the original airing. You can also listen to Episode 129 for Part Two.


Charles Fishman in Delhi

Charles experienced firsthand the effort that other cultures must put in to get access to water. He joined “water walks” near Delhi, India, and appreciated water much more after hauling it on his head for 3 kilometers. After an hour, he had carried only enough water to flush an American toilet once. There’s no other infrastructure in place in this area for transporting water. (photo: Courtesy Charles Fishman)


While you’re here, I’m excited to share with you that my new book comes out this month, and it’s available for pre-order now. The title is The Vegetable Gardening Book: Your complete guide to growing an edible organic garden from seed to harvest.” It’s full of insider tips and new-to-you information that will help you step up your gardening game and tackle challenges. 

If you pre-order “The Vegetable Gardening Book” by the deadline of September 5, the day before the book officially comes out, I will send you a signed bookplate as a token of my thanks. Just go to after you place your order and before September 15 to claim your free bookplate.

And on tap for 2023 is my new Online Gardening Academy™ premium course, Organic Vegetable Gardening. Sign up for the waitlist here.

I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Charles Fishman. If you haven’t listened yet, you can do so now by scrolling to the top of the page and clicking the Play icon in the green bar under the page title. 

What steps do you take to conserve water? Let us know in the comments below.

Links & Resources

Some product links in this guide are affiliate links. See full disclosure below.

Episode 110: Why Mulch Matters in Every Garden: What You Need to Know

Episode 112: Efficient Watering in the Garden and Landscape and Why it Matters

Episode 128: Conserving Water’s Finite Supply in a Very Thirsty World

Episode 129: Reshaping How We Think About Water: Why Paying More Might Not Be So Bad

joegardener Blog: How to Water Your Garden and Landscape: Pro Tips – Part 1 of 5

joegardener Blog: How to Water Your New & Established Plants: Pro Tips – Part 2 of 5

joegardener Blog: How to Water and What to Use: Pro Tips – Part 3 of 5

joegardener Blog: Watering Your Garden: How Much Is Enough and Sources: Pro Tips – Pt. 4 of 5

joegardener Blog: How to Create a Drought Tolerant Landscape: Pro Tips – Pt. 5 of 5

joegardener Online Gardening Academy™: Popular courses on gardening fundamentals; managing pests, diseases & weeds; seed starting and more.

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Organic Vegetable Gardening: My new premium online course membership opens in 2023. Sign up for the waitlist here.

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Beginning Gardener Fundamentals: Essential principles to know to create a thriving garden.

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Master Seed Starting: Everything you need to know to start your own plants from seed — indoors and out. 

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Growing Epic Tomatoes: Learn how to grow epic tomatoes with Joe Lamp’l and Craig LeHoullier. 

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Master Pests, Diseases & Weeds: Learn the proactive steps to take to manage pests, diseases and weeds for a more successful garden with a lot less frustration. Just $47 for lifetime access!

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Perfect Soil Recipe Master Class: Learn how to create the perfect soil environment for thriving plants.

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Growing a Greener World®     


U.S. Drought Monitor

The Big Thirst – The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water,” by Charles Fishman

One Giant Leap – The Impossible Mission That Flew Us to the Moon,” by Charles Fishman

The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World’s Most Powerful Company Really Works–and How It’s Transforming the American Economy,” by Charles Fishman

Aerogarden – Our podcast episode sponsor and Brand Partner of

Earth’s Ally – Our podcast episode sponsor and Brand Partner of

National Wildlife Federation – Our podcast episode sponsor and Brand Partner of

Disclosure: Some product links in this guide are affiliate links, which means we get a commission if you purchase. However, none of the prices of these resources have been increased to compensate us, and compensation is not an influencing factor on their inclusion here. The selection of all items featured in this post and podcast were based solely on merit and in no way influenced by any affiliate or financial incentive, or contractual relationship. At the time of this writing, Joe Lamp’l has professional relationships with the following companies who may have products included in this post and podcast: Rain Bird, Corona Tools, AeroGarden, Milorganite, Soil3, Greenhouse Megastore, PittMoss, Territorial Seed Company, Earth’s Ally, National Wildlife Federation  and TerraThrive. These companies are either Brand Partners of and/or advertise on our website. However, we receive no additional compensation from the sales or promotion of their product through this guide. The inclusion of any products mentioned within this post is entirely independent and exclusive of any relationship.

About Joe Lamp'l

Joe Lamp’l is the creator and “joe” behind joe gardener®. His lifetime passion and devotion to all things horticulture has led him to a long-time career as one of the country’s most recognized and trusted personalities in organic gardening and sustainability. That is most evident in his role as host and creator of Emmy Award-winning Growing a Greener World®, a national green-living lifestyle series on PBS currently broadcasting in its tenth season. When he’s not working in his large, raised bed vegetable garden, he’s likely planting or digging something up, or spending time with his family on their organic farm just north of Atlanta, GA.

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