In Living with Nature’s Extremes: The Life of Gilbert Fowler White
(2006. 336 pp. $26.50), author Robert E. Hinshaw tracks the fascinating life of the eminent, public-minded geographer Gilbert F. White and his legacy to both science and humanity.
Known as the “father of floodplain management” and the founder of the Natural Hazards Center, White spent his career studying nature’s extremes: the hazards they posed for humanity and the political, scientific, and philosophical issues surrounding their mitigation and effective societal response. White proposed that man work with nature, not against it, championing sound, comprehensive management of floodplains. He advocated adaptation to or accommodation of flood hazards, where feasible, rather than the structural solutions that dominated policy in the early twentieth century. He also made major contributions to the study of water systems in developing countries, the management and preservation of arid lands, global environmental change, international cooperation over water resources, and mitigation of a number of natural hazards.