Podcast explores ‘What Does Water Mean for Us Humans?’

Water is essential for life – our bodies are 60 percent water – and is also rich with symbolism and meaning. Water underlies many of our discussions about climate change and weaves its way into poetry and song.

What does recent research have to say about humans and water?

The new season of the “What Makes Us Human” podcast and essay series, from the College of Arts and Sciences in collaboration with Cornell Broadcast Studios, is titled “What Does Water Mean for Us Humans?” It will showcase the newest thinking by Cornell faculty across academic disciplines about the relationship between humans and water, in 3- to 5-minute audio essays. A new episode will be released each Tuesday through the semester, beginning March 19.

“It’s exciting to see that the research of so many of Cornell’s faculty throws light on the importance of water for human life and experience,” said podcast producer Caroline Levine, the David and Kathleen Ryan Professor of Humanities and Picket Family Chair of the Department of English.

The new season kicks off with Catherine Kling, Tisch University Professor in the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management in the College of Business and Faculty Director at the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.

“In the United States, most of us don’t give much thought to our ready access to safe drinking water, and we probably take for granted the many nice rivers and streams we use for recreation,” says Kling in her podcast. “How should we make choices about costly water quality treatment?”

Kling’s research interests focus on environmental, energy and resource economics and policy; she specializes in the economic valuation of ecosystem services and integrated assessment modeling for water quality modeling.

“What Does Water Mean for Us Humans?” podcasts are available for download on iTunes and SoundCloudstreaming and text versions of the essays are also posted.

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 A stream of water coming out of a faucet