One thing reading Christianist textbooks does is teaches you to be cynical. No claim, no matter how innocuous, no matter how heart-warming, can be taken for granted. Observe:
Earth Science Fourth Edition’s chapter on groundwater begins with a charming little story about PlayPumps, which are merry-go-rounds attached to water pumps. It sounds like a difference-making idea: African village kids get some nice playtime, women don’t have to work so hard to get water, and advertisements on the water towers help pay for the pumps. It’s a great idea! Except, they don’t work too great. You need a good source of clean groundwater to begin with, kids would have to “play” three hours more per day than the standard 24 available, and the ads actually don’t make enough money to pay for the upkeep.
All of these problems were manifest two years before this book was published, by the way. Yet not a single problem is mentioned in the text. [Read more…]