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Charles Fishman

Charles Fishman is now blogging for National Geographic. , about Ireland beginning to charge for water. His latest book, The Big Thirst, is the bestselling book on water in America in the past quarter century and has just been released in paperback.

Fishman is one of America's most celebrated investigative journalists, specializing in business innovation and social responsibility. Currently an award-winning senior writer at Fast Company, he has reported, with striking authority, on everything from Wal-Mart to the new water economy.

Fishman's latest book, The Big Thirst, examines how water resources will come to define this century. The Washington Post praised Fishman's skillful writing and research saying, "investigative journalism is rarely as entertaining as it is informative, but Fishman manages both feats." Fishman's message will redefine how you look at water, our most essential but in many ways misunderstood resource. You'll see it as more than just what we drink, appreciate its vital role in the business sector, understand constraints in the developing world, and leave with a hopeful vision of how current wasteful ways can be curbed through ingenuity and conscientious stewardship.

In his previous book, -- a bestseller, a catch phrase, and an Economist Book of the Year -- Fishman gives us the definitive look at how Wal-Mart has become, without precedent, the most powerful and influential company in the history of the world. The stats are staggering, Fishman's writing is balanced and crisp, and the lessons for other companies are enormous. With one goal -- to save its customers money -- Wal-Mart, Fishman tells us, has changed the practices of its suppliers, the economic life of cities, the economies of the countries from which it buys its goods, and the buying habits of consumers -- excellent take-home information for anyone in the business world.

Peter Thum


Peter Thum is CEO and co-founder of Fonderie47, a social venture addressing assault rifle proliferation in Africa. He is also founder of the brand Ethos Water and the nonprofit Giving Water.

In 2001, while in South Africa, Thum observed the effect of that country's water crisis on everyday people. He saw that those lacking access to clean water were exposed to direct health problems like water-borne illness and other related health risks. Gathering, carrying, and purifying water took an enormous amount of people's daily time and acted as a serious impediment to economic development, especially in rural areas.

Water, Thum realized, was at the core of so many problems in the developing world at large. He wrote down his original idea on a napkin: launch a company that would provide water and raise money for clean water programs in the developing world. In 2002, he set to implementing that vision. He left his job at McKinsey & Company and founded Ethos, becoming President of Ethos Brands, LLC.

Over the next six years, Thum led Ethos to become a national brand in the US and to raise more than $6 million in humanitarian water grants and help over 420,000 people worldwide. Ethos was acquired by Starbucks in 2005 and Thum stayed on through to 2008, managing Ethos and serving as a Director of the Starbucks Foundation.

In 2008, Thum founded to extend his work toward solving the world water crisis. The organization is now serving over 1,000 schoolchildren at schools in Kenya. While visiting water programs in Kenya, he was struck by the insecurity created by the presence of assault rifles, which spurred him to start his current venture, Fonderie47.

Thum also serves on the boards for several companies and organizations focused on service, including: The Global Fund for Human Rights; The Center for Human Rights Leadership at Claremont McKenna College; The Dean's Council of the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service; and Impossible to Possible Ultra-Athletic Adventures.

Thum holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BA in government from Claremont McKenna College.

Maude Barlow

Maude Barlow is the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and chairs the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch. She is also an executive member of the San Francisco–based International Forum on Globalization and a Councillor with the Hamburg-based World Future Council. Maude is the recipient of ten honorary doctorates as well as many awards, including the 2005 Right Livelihood Award (known as the “Alternative Nobel”), the Citation of Lifetime Achievement at the 2008 Canadian Environment Award, and the 2009 Earth Day Canada Outstanding Environmental Achievement Award. In 2008/2009, she served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly. She is also the bestselling author or co-author of 16 books, including the interna-tional bestseller Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and The Coming Battle for the Right to Water.