I have just returned from a visit to my hometown of Rockhampton, Australia situated on the Tropic of Capricorn. The last time I was there, it was beautiful and green after the rains, but alas, this time, it was dry and desolate. A bushfire raged on the outskirts of town threatening to cross the summit of Mount Archer into the hillside area where my brother and family live.
Water is still a valuable commodity and none is wasted greening footpaths that are now brown masses of dried grass crisp enough to ignite a blazing fire. It is not how I remember my hometown. When we were kids, it would rain heavily during the school holidays. The creeks would flood and we would float down Moores Creek on tyre tubes, or swing from ropes hung in trees. I haven't seen flowing water in Moores Creek for a decade or more.
Water scarcity is a major issue affecting countries, communities and families all over the world, and it is not a problem limited to developing nations. Traditional rainfall patterns have changed, altering water-shaping ecosystems and magnifying the effects of pollution. In 60% of European cities with populations greater than 100,000, groundwater is being used faster than it can be replenished. By 2025, two-thirds of the world's population could be living under water-stressed conditions. This is a frightening statistic, and the basis of the environmental theme in The Glass Table, which promotes the conservation of our freshwater lakes and river.
In The Glass Table, twelve children are cast into a spell to live in the river Kai as spirits. The children learn that what humans do above, beside and near the river, affects their living conditions. I hope it is an interesting and fun way to convey the message, and all done in a fantasy setting to make it much less of a lecture and more of a suggestion which may influence later thoughts and attitudes.