Photo: Sandra Postel

Photograph by Virginia Smith

Name: Sandra L. Postel
Place of Birth:
New York
Current City:
Los Lunas, New Mexico
Occupation: Environmental Researcher, Writer, Lecturer

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Exactly what I'm doing now.

How did you get started in your field of work?
After I finished graduate school at Duke, I landed a job with a small natural resources consulting company in California. My first assignment was to help write a handbook for communities across the country to use in designing water conservation programs. I worked with a civil engineer who knew all about urban water and wastewater systems. It was perfect. Three years later, I joined the Worldwatch Institute, where I happily occupied the global water niche. It all unfolded from there.

What inspires you to dedicate your life to freshwater?
I love nature—and water is the source of it all. I care about the mussels and fish and frogs that depend on water. The extinction of life pains me. I just want to do my part to be sure we humans conserve water and share it with all of life.

What’s a normal day like for you?
Hours of reading, thinking, writing. Quite often a plane ride to give a talk somewhere. Exercise—a walk or run, maybe some tennis. Depending on the season, some work in the vegetable garden or carrying in wood. Then back to reading, thinking, and writing.

Do you have a hero?
Marjorie Spock. She's not well known. She took the federal government to court in 1958 to stop the aerial spraying of DDT across Long Island. She became a good friend of Rachel Carson's. I met Marjorie when I was researching that spraying. She was 101 and sharp as a tack. She was still holding weekly philosophy discussion groups at her home in Maine. She had a rare blend of wisdom and humility. I corresponded with her occasionally until she died in 2008 at 103. Marjorie Spock is but a footnote of history but she helped change the world.

If you could have people do one thing to help save freshwater, what would it be?
Landscape with native plants, grasses and shrubs, and avoid planting thirsty lawns in dry places.

Learn more about Sandra.

Read about other freshwater heroes.

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    Written in Water: Honest Hope

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Help Save the Colorado River

You can help restore freshwater ecosystems by pledging to cut your water footprint. For every pledge, Change the Course will restore 1,000 gallons back to the Colorado River.


Freshwater Advocates

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    Sandra Postel

    Sandra is a leading authority on international freshwater issues and is spearheading our global freshwater efforts.

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    Jonathan Waterman

    He's paddled the Colorado River from its headwaters to the delta, in an effort to bring awareness to this mighty river at risk.

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    Osvel Hinojosa Huerta

    For more than 15 years, Osvel Hinojosa Huerta has been resurrecting Mexico's Colorado River Delta wetlands.

For More Inspiration »

Change the Course Infographic

 

Check out this infographic and learn how you can conserve water and save the Colorado River, as well as other freshwater ecosystems.


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Water Currents, by Sandra Postel and Others

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