A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest

( 2 )

Overview


With its soaring azure sky and stark landscapes, the American Southwest is one of the most hauntingly beautiful regions on earth. Yet staggering population growth, combined with the intensifying effects of climate change, is driving the oasis-based society close to the brink of a Dust-Bowl-scale catastrophe.

In A Great Aridness, William deBuys paints a compelling picture of what the Southwest might look like when the heat turns up and the water runs out. This semi-arid land, ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$12.67
BN.com price
(Save 36%)$19.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (9) from $11.96   
  • New (6) from $11.96   
  • Used (3) from $12.66   
A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99
BN.com price
(Save 15%)$12.99 List Price

Overview


With its soaring azure sky and stark landscapes, the American Southwest is one of the most hauntingly beautiful regions on earth. Yet staggering population growth, combined with the intensifying effects of climate change, is driving the oasis-based society close to the brink of a Dust-Bowl-scale catastrophe.

In A Great Aridness, William deBuys paints a compelling picture of what the Southwest might look like when the heat turns up and the water runs out. This semi-arid land, vulnerable to water shortages, rising temperatures, wildfires, and a host of other environmental challenges, is poised to bear the heaviest consequences of global environmental change in the United States. Examining interrelated factors such as vanishing wildlife, forest die backs, and the over-allocation of the already stressed Colorado River--upon which nearly 30 million people depend--the author narrates the landscape's history--and future. He tells the inspiring stories of the climatologists and others who are helping untangle the complex, interlocking causes and effects of global warming. And while the fate of this region may seem at first blush to be of merely local interest, what happens in the Southwest, deBuys suggests, will provide a glimpse of what other mid-latitude arid lands worldwide--the Mediterranean Basin, southern Africa, and the Middle East--will experience in the coming years.

Written with an elegance that recalls the prose of John McPhee and Wallace Stegner, A Great Aridness offers an unflinching look at the dramatic effects of climate change occurring right now in our own backyard.

Praise for River of Traps:

"Brims with gifts of language and vision."
--Barbara Kingsolver, The New York Times Book Review

"An irresistibly engaging story...deBuys is a storyteller of poetic breadth with a discerning eye for subtle, sensitive associations."
--The Nation

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Juliet Eilperin
Non-experts who want a concrete sense of climate change's impact—and a lyrical reading experience—should turn to A Great Aridness̷A natural storyteller who has spent most of his adult life in the Southwest, deBuys follows the trails of climate change's effects.
—The Washington Post
From the Publisher

"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."
--Kirkus Reviews

"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

Kirkus Reviews

New Mexico writer and conservationist deBuys (The Walk, 2007, etc.) offers a more-in-sadness-than-anger history of the land he loves and those who have exploited it, studied it and tried to fix it.

An immense arid area that includes a chunk of Mexico, it has usually supported farming and ranching. After 800 CE, a rich Native American culture flourished, ultimately building great cliff houses and roads before abandoning them after 1250 in the face of increasing drought. White settlers streamed in after 1800; 100 years ago, experts began warning that the area's water resources could not support its population. There followed massive dam and canal construction since the 1930s, which tapped the Colorado River, allocating water to six states and Mexico. Most readers will be unsurprised to learn that the original allocations were too generous and that dwindling flow will produce a crisis within decades. Increasing dryness has also produced the Southwest's worst forest fires in history, and increasing warmth has stimulated bark beetles, which have killed huge swaths of woodland. DeBuys delivers thoughtful portraits of efforts to ameliorate conditions, but some require controlling the region's burgeoning growth, a strategy with little political support. No Pollyanna, he admits that the list of societies willing to accept difficult medicine in order to spare their descendants worse pain is extremely short.

Although they may miss the traditional upbeat ending, 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.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199974672
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/1/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 414,390
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

William deBuys is the author of six 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.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: The Tracks at Cedar Springs
Chapter 1: Oracle: Global-Change-Type Drought
Chapter 2: High Blue: the Great Downshift of Dryness
Chapter 3: Sand Canyon: Vanishing Acts
Chapter 4: Janos: A Mirror in Time
Chapter 5: Lava Falls: The Blood of Oasis Civilization
Chapter 6: The Canal at River's End: Thirsty Arizona
Chapter 7: Highway 79 Revisited: "Mega" Trends in the Sun Corridor
Chapter 8: Apache Pass: Crossing the Line
Chapter 9: Mogollon Plateau: Fires Present and Future
Chapter 10: Mount Graham: the Biopolitics of Change
Chapter 11: Hawikku: The End at the Beginning
Notes
Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    John McPhee approach applied to Global Warming in US

    If you have time to read only one book on the probable impact of global warming on the US in general, and the Southwest in particular, this would be a good candidate for that one book. Written much like John McPhees explorations of American geography --- DeBuys travels with scientists, naturalists, urban planners through the areas they work in --- the book looks at the potential for a coming drought in the American Southwest [caused by a return of historic cyclical periods of great drought in the region], how global warming already under way will increase the severity of the drought, , and increase the probable consequences across a variety of topics: impact on desert cities like Phoenix, on agriculture, on forests and fire seasons, and more. A very chewy read that carefully avoids generalizing beyond what the evidence we have at this point will support. If the topic interests you, this one is I think well worth a read.

    Includes, again much like McPhee's American geography books, looks back into history to describe how the current condition of the South West arose, which snippets are fascinating environmental history in their own right. His chapter on the fire history of the southwest and its relation to the arrival of sheep herds among the Navajos and the relationship between exterminating prairie dog communities and the shifting of grasslands to mesquite shrub lands were I thought especially interesting.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 5, 2012

    William DeBuys offers an unsettling description of the developin

    William DeBuys offers an unsettling description of the developing climate crisis in the Southwest. It's especially disturbing as those events are indicators of future crises in other regions. His book is a heartfelt study of a distressing man-made and climate-made downward spiral of this beautiful and fragile land and its inhabitants. It's a poignant plea to take adaptive conservation action in the Southwest now. A must read for those who love the Southwest, and a should read for all others.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 21, 2012

    Very interesting

    This book looks at climate change from another perspective: i.e., water scarcity in the Southwest. Because of this focus in depth on just one aspect, it provides new details to consider. The author ties each chapter to some aspect on Southwest history which, depending upon your particular feelings, can be interesting or odd-putting.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)