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

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ISBN-10: 0195142055

ISBN-13: 9780195142051

Edition: 2008

Authors: Howard G. Wilshire, Jane E. Nielson, Richard W. Hazlett

List price: $41.95
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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 physicalearth 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 avoidthe 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 environmentalintegrity 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 ofthe 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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Book details

List price: $41.95
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 6/5/2008
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 544
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 2.2
Language: English

Richard W. Hazlett is the winner of 1996 and 2001 Wig Awards for teaching excellence at Pomona College. He is the first Stephen M. Pauley Chair in Environmental Analysis at the college, receiving this appointment in 2001. His main research interests involve volcanic stratigraphy, igneous petrology and resources, but most recently has been exploring land use issues focusing on the American West. Dr. Hazlett styles himself as transitioning from hard-core geology to environmental studies with a land use/natural resource emphasis. He is a co-author with Bernard Pipkin and Dee D. Trent on GEOLOGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT and the script author of the EARTH REVEALED telecourse series.

Introduction: Obeying Nature
Once and Future Trees
Harvesting the Future
Raiding the Range
Digging to China
Routes of Ruin
Legacies of War
Creating the Nuclear Wasteland
No Habitat but Our Own
The Last Drops
Garbage of the Golden West
Tragedy of the Playground
Driving to the End of America's Birthright
Nature's Way
Conclusion: The Needs of Our Posterity
Conserving U.S. Public Lands: A Chronology
Best Intentions: Federal Waste Disposal Laws
Everything Comes from the Earth
Biochemical War and You
Destroyer of the Worlds
Plutonium Fields Forever
Bombs for Peace
The Bunker Buster Fantasy
U.S. and Them: The United States and World Oil Reserves
"Democratizing" Energy: Hydrogen Fuel Cells