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A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest 1st Edition
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"This is on the short list of key books for anyone who lives in or loves the American southwest--with scientific precision and understated emotional power, it explains what your future holds. If you live elsewhere: it's a deep glimpse into one place on our fast-changing planet, and you'll be able to do many extrapolations. Remarkable work!" - Bill McKibben, author Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
"DeBuys delivers thoughtful portraits of efforts to ameliorate conditions . . . readers will appreciate this intelligent account of water politics, forest ecology and urban planning in a region seriously stressed even before global warming arrived to make matters worse."
"With wide-eyed wonder and the clearest of prose, deBuys explains why we should care about these places, the people he portrays, and the conundrums over land and water he illuminates. No longer are aridity and climate change in the Southwest only of regional interest; deBuys is writing for America and we should all listen to what he has to say." --Booklist (starred review)
"Drawing on the work of climatologists and other scientists, deBuys's analysis of the eco-crisis - rising temperatures, wildfires, water shortages, disappearing wildlife - is a reasoned warning to heavily populated arid regions round the world." - Nature
"A Great Aridness is his most disturbing book, a jeremiad that ought to be required reading for politicians, economists, real-estate developers and anyone thinking about migrating to the Sunbelt." --American Scientist
"Non-experts who want a concrete sense of climate change's impact - and a lyrical reading experience - should turn to A Great Aridness." - Washington Post
"DeBuys's research takes place in the field, one of the real strengths of this book. In lyrical prose rich in place and politics, his stories take us from the Navajo reservation to research labs.... A Great Aridness is both fascinating and frightening." --Orion
"Across the board global warming in the Southwest will challenge us morally, artistically, economically, politically, and socially. DeBuy's triumpth is to summarize, in clear and elegant prose, those challenges as they appear today." --Western American Literature 49:3
"William deBuys, one of our finest environmental historians, offers a narrative that follows the trajectory of Keeling's awesome arc. ... The story deBuys tells is informative, thought provoking, and elegantly written." --Western Historical QUarterly
About the Author
William deBuys is the author of seven books, including River of Traps: A New Mexico Mountain Life, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in general non-fiction in 1991; Enchantment and Exploitation: The Life and Hard Times of a New Mexico Mountain Range; The Walk (an excerpt of which won a Pushcart Prize in 2008), and Salt Dreams: Land and Water in Low-Down California. An active conservationist, deBuys has helped protect more than 150,000 acres in New Mexico, Arizona, and North Carolina. He lives and writes on a small farm in northern New Mexico.
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Top Customer Reviews
In the history section, using archaeological records and other sources, deBuys explores the failed civilizations of the American southwest. He shows how they succumbed to the mega droughts of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The drier world of the time led to the civilization of the time facing economic and demographic collapse. Some turned to violence. Others gave up on their homes and moved. When writing about these failed civilizations, there is a certain sadness to the author's voice that is quite touching. These were technologically advanced civilizations for the time period. And yet they could not do anything in the face of a warming world.
In the sections on the present, the author is at his best. The author systematically constructs the modern world that we live in, showing how policy, demographics, agriculture, immigration, and economics all interact to create a society that is using more water than is sustainable. And what an eye opener it is. No society can survive for long when it uses more water than is replaced. And yet according to the author, the American Southwest continues to add new people. But no new water is being added. Just the opposite. And that is just a demographic timebomb waiting to happen.
The author shows how present society's 'hydraulic cornucopia' is just a mirage in the desert. Eventually reality will set in. And then how will the society of the American Southwest deal with it? The author offers no solutions.Read more ›
If you want to know factors causing the increase in forest fires, read this book.
If you want to find the connections of these facts to global warming/climate change read this book.
You will also will also learn, in almost poetical fashion, how all the above affects the Indian tribes of Arizona & New Mexico and many other people of the Southern Colorado Plateau/southwestern U.S. desert
I can't describe how much I have learned and how much I have been fascinated with this book.
John P. Jones
The best parts of the book are where he intertwines archaeology and policy with a travelogue. He takes the reader to some interesting spots and describes the many I know well . The book begins with a visit to the Colorado Plateau and the collapse of the Anasazi civilization. The theme of the book is that modern Arizona is headed for the same level of collapse. That's a wonderfully romantic notion that will appeal to fashionable gloomsters, but it requires decades of total policy idiocy. (Even Congress and the Arizona legislature won't be that stupid for that long.)
The first chapters are a good exposition of the extreme version of climate change. The book chugs along until we hit the first wall: climate change in the Southwest probably means less winter snow but more summer rain. He spends many pages on the less snow problem, but then stops with a few paragraphs on the likely growth of more summer rain.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is supposed to be about climate change and its impact on the Southwest. Mostly it's about the authors pet peeves -- the trouble Mexicans have crossing the border, the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by The Traveling Monk
Should be required reading for every Arizona high school junior. Free copies should be passed out at the polls. Other than that I have nothing to add.Published 3 months ago by Marjorie J. Jones
Nice read, but if you are really interested head out into the southwestern desert and have a look as well as reading this book. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Justified
It's pretty amazing what our politicians do in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence; if the close their eyes to the problem, maybe it'll go away. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Frank Van Breedam
Super fascinating story of the ecology and history of the southwest. Great book.Published 15 months ago by John W
Though the writing and style is formulaic in places, I love the issues this book highlights. If you love the great southwest and have an interest in environmental and... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Michele Mattix
Seems to be a well written thoughtful account of potential climate change impacts on the southwestern US. Read morePublished 22 months ago by SWID
3.0 out of 5 stars Read, but beware the booby traps. Feb. 27 2012
By Richard Carlson
First of... Read more