The American West at Risk

The American West at Risk : Science, Myths, and Politics of Land Abuse and Recovery

4.37 (8 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

The American West at Risk summarizes the dominant human-generated environmental challenges in the 11 contiguous arid western United StatesAmerica's legendary, even mythical, frontier. When discovered by European explorers and later settlers, the west boasted rich soils, bountiful fisheries, immense, dense forests, sparkling streams, untapped ore deposits, and oil bonanzas. It now faces depletion of many of these resources, and potentially serious threats to its few "renewable" resources. The importance of this story is that preserving lands has a central role for protecting air and water quality, and water supplies-and all support a healthy living environment. The idea that all life on earth is connected in a great chain of being, and that all life is connected to the physical earth in many obvious and subtle ways, is not some new-age fad, it is scientifically demonstrable. An understanding of earth processes, and the significance of their biological connections, is critical in shaping societal values so that national land use policies will conserve the earth and avoid the worst impacts of natural processes.
These connections inevitably lead science into the murkier realms of political controversy and bureaucratic stasis. Most of the chapters in The American West at Risk focus on a human land use or activity that depletes resources and degrades environmental integrity of this resource-rich, but tender and slow-to-heal, western U.S. The activities include forest clearing for many purposes; farming and grazing; mining for aggregate, metals, and other materials; energy extraction and use; military training and weapons manufacturing and testing; road and utility transmission corridors; recreation; urbanization; and disposing of the wastes generated by everything that we do. We focus on how our land-degrading activities are connected to natural earth processes, which act to accelerate and spread the damages we inflict on the land.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 640 pages
  • 157.48 x 236.22 x 33.02mm | 997.9g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 38 halftones, 70 line illustrations
  • 0195142055
  • 9780195142051

Review quote

The book will be used as a text book for multidisciplinary undergraduate environmental-studies classes, but professional scientists will find much that is new and of keen interest here. I learned a great deal from it * Warren Hamilton, Geoscientist *
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About Howard G. Wilshire

Wilshire: 35 year career with U.S. Geological Survey as field and research geologist, performing mapping of many geologic terrains of all geologic ages on earth, plus mapping of geologic formations on the moon from telescope and photographs. Participated in astronaut training program for Apollo 14 through 17 missions, and on live-time Apollo lunar mission back-up teams, and performed initial and follow-up studies of lunar samples. Wide-ranging research on human
impacts on western U.S. arid lands. Board Chairman, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

Nielson: 25 year career with U.S. Geological Survey as a field and research geologist, specializing in many aspects of Mojave Desert geology. Pre-USGS, taught geology, petrology courses at Northern Arizona University and geology, petrology, geochemistry, and environmental geology courses at California State University, Hayward, California. Also taught all these courses post-retirement at Pomona College, Claremont, California. Co-founder of the Sebastopol Water Information Group and board of
directors member of O.W.L. Foundation, conducting research and disseminating information to the public on water development and land conservation issues.

Hazlett: Career work includes appointments with the National Park Service at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and the U.S. Geological Survey, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Branch of Western Regional Geology. Has had full time appointments teaching at the University of Hawaii, Hilo, and at Occidental and Pomona colleges in California, with an Honorary staff appointment at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Has also organized and led courses for the School for Field Studies at Vesuvius in
Italy. Growing interest in issues related to agriculture, including grazing, and forest stewardship in the American West.
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Table of contents

INTRODUCTION. OBEYING NATURE ; 1. Once and Future Trees ; 2. Harvesting the Future ; 3. Raiding the Range ; 4. Digging to China ; 5. Routes of Ruin ; 6. Legacies of War ; 7. Creating the Nuclear Wasteland ; 8. No Habitat But Our Own ; 9. The Last Drops ; 10. Garbage of the Golden West ; 11. Tragedy of the Playground ; 12. Driving to the End of America's Birthright ; 13. Nature's Way ; CONCLUSIONS. THE NEEDS OF OUR POSTERITY ; APPENDIX 1. CONSERVING U.S. PUBLIC LANDS-A CHRONOLOGY ; APPENDIX 2. BEST INTENTIONS-FEDERAL WASTE DISPOSAL LAWS ; APPENDIX 3. EVERYTHING COMES FROM THE EARTH ; APPENDIX 4. BIO-CHEMICAL WAR AND YOU ; APPENDIX 5. DESTROYER OF THE WORLDS ; APPENDIX 6. PLUTONIUM FIELDS FOREVER ; APPENDIX 7. BOMBS FOR PEACE ; APPENDIX 8. THE BUNKER BUSTER FANTASY ; APPENDIX 9. US AND THEM-THE UNITED STATES AND WORLD OIL RESERVES ; APPENDIX 10. "DEMOCRATIZING" ENERGY-HYDROGEN FUEL CELLS ; GLOSSARY ; NOTES ; INDEX
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Rating details

8 ratings
4.37 out of 5 stars
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4 12% (1)
3 25% (2)
2 0% (0)
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