Award-winning journalist and author Cynthia Barnett has reported on water and climate worldwide, from emerging water strife in the eastern U.S. to epic drought in California and the rainiest place on Earth in Cherrapunji, India.
Ms. Barnett has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Salon, Discover, Orion, Ensia, and many other publications. She is the author of three books on water, including her newest, Rain: A Natural and Cultural History, and a popular speaker from commencements to keynotes and university lecture series.
Her latest topic is an engaging natural and cultural tour of RAIN, from its key roles in civilization, religion, and art; to the peculiar history of the world’s first raincoat; to the rain obsessions of our “Founding Forecaster,” Thomas Jefferson – all building to the uncharted rains of climate change. Too much and not enough, rain is a shared experience, and one of the ways climate change can become a conversation rather than a confrontation.
Rain—where it is and where it isn’t—in one of the most critical issues of our time.
Ms. Barnett’s first book, Mirage, won the gold medal for best nonfiction in the Florida Book Awards and was named by The St. Petersburg Times as one of the top 10 books that every Floridian should read.
Her second book, Blue Revolution, which calls for a water ethic for America, was named by The Boston Globe as one of the top 10 science books of 2011. The Globe describes Ms. Barnett’s author persona as “part journalist, part mom, part historian, and part optimist.”
The Los Angeles Times writes that she “takes us back to the origins of our water in much the same way, with much the same vividness and compassion as Michael Pollan led us from our kitchens to potato fields and feed lots of modern agribusiness.”
Ms. Barnett lives in Gainesville, Florida, with her husband and their children, and teaches environmental journalism at the University of Florida. Her numerous journalism awards include a national Sigma Delta Chi prize for investigative magazine reporting and eight Green Eyeshades, which recognize outstanding journalism in 11 southeastern states.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s in American history with a specialization in environmental history, both from the University of Florida, and spent a year studying freshwater as a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan.