Here is a suggested reading list prepared by the folks at the UWP.
Leave a comment and tell us what you think about your book of choice!
1 in 10 Watersheds are Stressed (report)
According to the research of Averyt and her colleagues, 193 of the 2,103 watersheds examined are already stressed — meaning demand for water is higher than natural supply. The researchers found that most of the water stress is in the Western United States, where there are fewer surface water resources, compared with the East.”
You can read the full CIRES study here.
Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner
The definitive history of water resources in the American West, and a very illuminating lesson in the political economy of limited resources anywhere. Highly recommended!
Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment by Sandra Steingraber
When Sandra Steingraber was diagnosed with bladder cancer at the age of twenty, she asked, Why me? As a biology major, she felt compelled to search for an answer to this question in the medical libraries. This led to an early interest in the connection between her environment and her health. Years later, with the help of a post-doctoral fellowship from Harvard University, Sandra began a four-year investigation into the links between synthetic chemicals and human cancer. She went back to her hometown of Pekin, Illinois to conduct a search for her ecological roots. This work became her acclaimed book, Living Downstream.
Mines of Ouray and San Miguel Counties 1882-1883 by William Weston
Mountains of Silver: Life in Colorado’s Red Mountain Mining District by P. David Smith
A little over a century ago, the Red Mountain Mining District in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado was the scene of a “silver rush” with an output of precious metals second in Colorado only to that of Leadville. In a period of less than twenty-five years, more than thirty million dollars in silver, lead, zinc, copper, and gold were taken from the rich deposits in the mines along Red Mountain Divide — an amount roughly equivalent to a quarter billion of today’s dollars. The histories of the communities that sprang into being with these mines, the railroads constructed to service them, and the men and women who lived, worked and died in them, are the threads deftly woven into the richly textured story of Mountains of Silver. It is a colorful and varied tapestry that depicts the lives of prospectors who made the first rich strikes; the land promoters, speculators, and road-and-railroad builders who capitalized on the frenzied rush to the area; and the motley collection of miners, lawyers, merchants, prostitutes, saloonkeepers, and freighters who attempted to profit from the boom.
Old Fences, New Neighbors by Peter Decker
Decker explains the changes caused by the gentrification that is sweeping even the more remote areas of the American West. The small rural community of Ridgway in Ouray County, Colorado, serves as a microcosm for his examination. In a few years Ridgway has been transformed from a small ranching and mining area to one that is inundated with tourists and where the land is increasingly owned by “gentlemen ranchers.” Taxes and technology have changed the economic base, and population growth has made it less viable for the older residents to live and survive. Although the author has ranched in the area for 25 years, he is not from one of the old families with deep roots being forced to abandon their area and way of life. Improved comfort is one of the pluses used to justify the changes. A very interesting examination of a topical subject that raises questions that will not be resolved until tested by time and the vicissitudes of both the economy and the government.
Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis (non-fiction)
Red Mountain: A Novel of the Boom Days in Colorado (fiction)
Running Dry: A Journey From Source to Sea Down the Colorado River (non-fiction)
The River Why (fiction)
David James Duncan
The Secret Knowledge of Water (non-fiction)