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A major environmental sustainability issue involves the world’s fresh water supply. Water expert Peter Gleick explains how and why the world is in a water crisis that is leading to a disconnect between supply and demand. He also explains the concept of “peak water,” and why it applies globally and in California. Finally, he offers some solutions to the nation’s water problems. Peter Gleick talked at the annual Conradin von Gugelberg memorial lecture on the environment honoring the memory of Conradin von Gugelberg, a 1987 Stanford Graduate School of Business alum who died shortly after graduation and was particularly visionary about environmental protection, particularly conservation and recycling.

Peter H. Gleick is cofounder and president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security in Oakland, California. His research and writing address the critical connections between water and human health, the hydrologic impacts of climate change, sustainable water use, privatization and globalization, and international conflicts over water resources. Gleick is an internationally recognized water expert and was named a MacArthur Fellow in October 2003 for his work. In 2001, he was dubbed a “visionary on the environment” by the British Broadcasting Corporation. He received a bachelor of science from Yale University and a master’s and doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley. He serves on the boards of numerous journals and organizations, and is the author of many scientific papers and six books, including the biennial water report, The World’s Water, published by Island Press (Washington, D.C.).

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