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Conservation in the West
The American West at Risk: science, myths, and politics of land abuse and recovery by The American West at Risk summarizes the dominant human-generated environmental challenges in the 11 contiguous arid western United States - America'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.
Cadillac Desert : the American West and its disappearing water by "The definitive work on the West's water crisis." --Newsweek The story of the American West is the story of a relentless quest for a precious resource: water. It is a tale of rivers diverted and dammed, of political corruption and intrigue, of billion-dollar battles over water rights, of ecological and economic disaster. In his landmark book, Cadillac Desert, Marc Reisner writes of the earliest settlers, lured by the promise of paradise, and of the ruthless tactics employed by Los Angeles politicians and business interests to ensure the city's growth. He documents the bitter rivalry between two government giants, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in the competition to transform the West. Based on more than a decade of research, Cadillac Desert is a stunning expose and a dramatic, intriguing history of the creation of an Eden--an Eden that may only be a mirage.
Call Number: HD1739.A3 R3
Publication Date: 1993-06-01
Common-Property Arrangements and Scarce Resources: water in the American West by It is widely held that private ownership is the preferred end state for all scarce resources. Those who hold this view have not looked closely enough at water in the American West, Barbanell contends. Because of water's special attributes, private ownership is an ineffective means for protecting individuals interests. Splitting the various rights of ownership between individual resources users and the community to which they belong can better protect those interests. Barbanell develops a conception of this form of common ownership, a common-property arrangement, and shows that it can function effectively for water in the West. More generally, he offers an expanded framework for analyzing right relationships and examining problems related to resource scarcity. Some economists argue that John Locke's account of property justifies the private ownership of water in the West. Barbanell argues, however, that because Locke did not think carefully enough about the variable nature of resources, his account does not support that conclusion. Although economists recognize that private ownership may not be perfectly suited to all resources, they are nonetheless skeptical about common ownership alternatives. Barbanell shows that this skepticism is unwarranted. When the rights relationship among members of a resource community is based on mutual expectations of reciprocal behavior, then a common-property arrangement can function effectively to control the degradation and depletion of a scarce resource. Barbanell's argument that common ownership is a conceptually sound and politically viable alternative for water will be of particular interest to public policy makers, environmentalists, resource economists, and political philosophers.
Publication Date: 2001-09-30
Desert Solitaire: a season in the wilderness by
Call Number: PS3551 .B18Z5
Publication Date: 1985-01-12
"A passionately felt, deeply poetic book. It has philosophy. It has humor. It has its share of nerve-tingling adventures...set down in a lean, racing prose, in a close-knit style of power and beauty." THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOKREVIEW Edward Abbey lived for three seasons in the desert at Moab, Utah, and what he discovered about the land before him, the world around him, and the heart that beat within, is a fascinating, sometimes raucous, always personal account of a place that has already disappeared, but is worth remembering and living through again and again.
DeVoto's West: History, Conservation, and the Public Good by Social commentator and preeminent Western historian Bernard DeVoto vigorously defended public lands in the West against commercial interests. At his death in 1955, DeVoto had won both the Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes. But he was most famous for his eloquent writing that advocated conservation of America's prairies, rangeland, forests, mountains, canyons, and deserts.DeVoto's West: Essays on History, Conservation, and the Public Good showcases the complexity, depth, and breadth of DeVoto's thinking. Editor Edward K. Muller introduces these twenty-two essays (many of which originally appeared in Harper's renowned column The Easy Chair) that passionately and coherently advocate federal control for vast tracts of public land. DeVoto addressed many issues, including the plundering of resources by absentee eastern corporations, Westerners' conflicted relationship to exploitation, and the degradation of the national parks. He believed that conservation of natural resources in the West required government control of public lands against livestock associations, timber interests, and their congressional allies who plotted the privatization of the national forests and the extraction of resources in the national parks. DeVoto's West collects the best of DeVoto's conservation pieces for the first time. It will introduce a new generation to prose that has retained its relevance and remains a remarkably current and timely argument for protecting public lands. Bernard DeVoto was born in Ogden, Utah, in 1897. He spent his adult life in the East, first teaching English at Northwestern University, Chicago, then living in New York, and finally settling in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is the subject of an acclaimed biography, The Uneasy Chair, by Wallace Stegner.
Publication Date: 2005-04-15
A River Running West: the life of John Wesley Powell by If the word "hero" still belonged in the historian's lexicon, it would certainly be applied to John Wesley Powell. Intrepid explorer, careful scientist, talented writer, and dedicated conservationist, Powell led the expedition that put the Colorado River on American maps and revealed the Grand Canyon to the world. Now comes the first biography of this towering figure in almost fifty years--a book that captures his life in all its heroism, idealism, and ambivalent, ambiguous humanity. In A River Running West, Donald Worster, one of our leading Western historians, tells the story of Powell's great adventures and describes his historical significance with compelling clarity and skill. Worster paints a vivid portrait of how this man emerged from the early nineteenth-century world of immigrants, fervent religion, and rough-and-tumble rural culture, and barely survived the Civil War battle at Shiloh. The heart of Worster's biography is Powell's epic journey down the Colorado in 1869, a tale of harrowing experiences, lethal accidents, and breathtaking discoveries. After years in the region collecting rocks and fossils and learning to speak the local Native American languages, Powell returned to Washington as an eloquent advocate for the West, one of America's first and most influential conservationists. But in the end, he fell victim to a clique of Western politicians who pushed for unfettered economic development, relegating the aging explorer to a quiet life of anthropological contemplation. John Wesley Powell embodied the energy, optimism, and westward impulse of the young United States. A River Running West is a gorgeously written, magisterial account of this great American explorer and environmental pioneer, a true story of undaunted courage in the American West.
Publication Date: 2000-12-14
Thinking Like a Watershed by Thinking Like a Watershed points our understanding of our relationship to the land in new directions. It is shaped by the bioregional visions of the great explorer John Wesley Powell, who articulated the notion that the arid American West should be seen as a mosaic of watersheds, and the pioneering ecologist Aldo Leopold, who put forward the concept of bringing conscience to bear within the realm of OC the land ethic.OCO
Publication Date: 2012-11-01
Unsettled Country: changing landscapes of the American West by The West remains unsettled--by cultural habits, intellectual debate, and ecological conditions. In these four essays, which were presented as the 1992 Calvin P. Horn Lectures in Western History and Culture, Donald Worster incisively discusses the role of the natural environment in the making of the West--and often in its unmaking and remaking. His subjects are four linked topics: the legacy of John Wesley Powell to western resource management; the domination of water policy by state, science, and capital since the mid-nineteenth century; the fate of wildlife in the push to settle the West; and the threat of global warming to the Great Plains. The landscape of the West has for too long been an obstacle to be overcome. But in Worster's view it is in seeing how people have dealt with and, all too often, mishandled nature that gives urgency to better understanding the region's ecological history. Worster argues for a new relationship of western people to their surroundings based on benefits to a community rather than on gains to individuals.
Call Number: Available for request from PALNI libraries and ILL..
Publication Date: 1994-03-01
Water and American Government: the Reclamation Bureau, national water policy, and the West, 1902-1935 by Donald Pisani's history of perhaps the boldest economic and social program ever undertaken in the United States--to reclaim and cultivate vast areas of previously unusable land across the country--shows in fascinating detail how ambitious government programs fall prey to the power of local interest groups and the federal system of governance itself. What began as the underwriting of a variety of projects to create family farms and farming communities had become by the 1930s a massive public works and regional development program, with an emphasis on the urban as much as on the rural West.
Publication Date: 2002-01-01
The Western Paradox: a Conservation Reader by Bernard DeVoto was a conservationist and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian. This volume brings together ten of his acerbic and timely essays on western conservation issues, along with his unfinished conservationist manifesto, Western Paradox.
Publication Date: 2001-08-11