Path to Zero
Path to Zero
4.20 - Climate Change Water Resilience with Journalist Erica Gies

Path to Zero takes an in depth look at the Slow Water Movement with the journalist who coined the phrase, Erica Gies.

Over the past several years, we have seen headlines around the world about extreme flooding and severe drought.

Tucker talks to Gies about her book, Water Always Wins: Thriving in an age of drought and deluge. Slow Water solutions are place-specific and community oriented. They center on water’s relationships with rocks, microbes, plants, and animals, including humans. Practitioners aim to collaborate with water rather than try to control it.

Highlights from this episode:

  • An overview of the book, Water Always Wins, where Gies tells the story of people around the world innovating Slow Water approaches to adapt to climate change and heal our water bodies.
  • How traditional approaches to controlling water like building dams and levees interfere with water systems.
  • People usually respond to floods and other disasters by calling for higher levees, bigger drains and longer aqueducts. But such interventions are increasingly failing.
  • How dams and hydropower actually have a significant carbon footprint.
  • The importance of wetlands being carbon sinks.
  • Examples of nature-based water solutions from around the world.

“As I was reporting on water, I found that nature-based solutions, working with nature and working with water, we’re really considered kind of fringe, and being overlooked in some circles, particularly decision-makers,” Gies tells Tucker. “Whereas there’s a growing movement around the world, a growing body of science showing the efficacy of these projects.”

These stepped ponds are part of life in South India, where they supply water to temples and communities and recharge groundwater. Hampi, Karnataka. Photo by Erica Gies,

About Erica Gies

Erica Gies is an award-winning independent journalist who writes about water, climate change, plants and critters for Scientific American, The New York Times, Nature, The Atlantic, The Guardian, National Geographic, The Economist, Washington Post, bioGraphic, Wired, and more.

Her stories hail from North America, especially California and British Columbia, and the wider world. In a quest for commonalities that bind us and innovations that inspire, she has reported from many intriguing places: Iraq, Peru, Cambodia, India, Syria, Kenya, China, Qatar, Laos, the United Kingdom, Guyana, Vietnam and France.

Erica is a keynote speaker, a National Geographic Explorer, served as a staff editor at various publications, and cofounded and edited two environmental news startups, Climate Confidential and This Week in Earth. She studied journalism and holds a master’s degree in literature, with a focus in eco-criticism.