90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Can The Southwest Survive Climate Change?

The American Southwest is overbuilt and out of water. We’ll look at how and whether the Southwest, as we’ve built it, can survive.

Firefighters make a stand along highway 260 as the Wallow Fire approaches outside of Eagar, Ariz., Wednesday, June 8, 2011. It was the largest wildfire in the state's history, buring more than 469,000 acres. (AP)

Firefighters make a stand along highway 260 as the Wallow Fire approaches outside of Eagar, Ariz., Wednesday, June 8, 2011. It was the largest wildfire in the state's history, buring more than 469,000 acres. (AP)

2011 was the driest year ever recorded in New Mexico.  The hottest summer ever in New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma.  The hottest August ever in Arizona, Colorado.  It saw the all-time worst fire year ever in Texas.  The biggest wildfire ever in New Mexico.  The biggest ever in Arizona – more than half a million acres on fire.

The great American Southwest has been a destination and developers’ dream for generations.  Now, climate change is coming down like a hammer.

This hour, On Point:  Heat, fire, dust and thirst.  We’ll look at how and whether the Southwest as we’ve built it can survive.

-Tom Ashbrook

 

Guests

William deBuys, environmentalist and author of the new book A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest.

Andrew Ross, professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University and author of Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City.

Grady Gammage, Jr., a lawyer who represents numerous real estate and business clients. He is also a senior fellow at Arizona State University, where he focuses on urban growth and development, quality of life, and local economic issues. Here is a recent report from Arizona State University co-authored by Gammage  on the state of water resources in the the greater Phoenix area.

From Tom’s Reading List

Huffington Post “If you live in the Southwest or just about anywhere in the American West, you or your children and grandchildren could soon enough be facing the Age of Thirst, which may also prove to be the greatest water crisis in the history of civilization. No kidding.”

New York Times “If policy makers end up focusing only on those who can afford the low-carbon technologies associated with the new environmental conscientiousness, the movement for sustainability may end up exacerbating climate change rather than ameliorating it.”

USA Today “For those of us who live in and love Phoenix, the drumbeat seems relentless. At base, the assumption seems to be that it just cannot make sense for so many people to live in a hot, dry place where it doesn’t rain much. But why take water and hold it to a standard not applied to any other resource necessary to support a city? Should a city have to mine all its iron or copper within its boundaries? Or grow all its own food? Or manufacture everyone’s clothing?”

More

Here’s a map of the recent nationwide drought conditions from the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska.

 

The latest map from the National Drought Mitigation Center. (National Drought Mitigation Center)

The latest map from the National Drought Mitigation Center. (National Drought Mitigation Center)

 

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 21, 2015
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., third right, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, leading a delegation of U.S. lawmakers, talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, third left, at Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015. (AP)

TPP. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is headed onto the fast track for a vote now. We’ll look at the big trade-pact and big debate around it.

Apr 21, 2015
The cover of Kate Boldick's new book, "Spinster: Making A Life Of One's Own." (Crown Publishing)

With over 50% of American women unmarried— we’ll look at the push to reclaim the word “spinster” – to be single and proud of it.

RECENT
SHOWS
Apr 20, 2015
New York Times columnist David Brooks explores a history of American moral character in his new book, "The Road to Character." Former US Labor Secretary Frances Perkins (R), is one of the subjects he profiles in his books. (David Burnett / AP)

New York Times columnist David Brooks on finding moral character in a self-preoccupied society.

 
Apr 20, 2015
A member of a bomb squad pulls something off of a small helicopter and throws it after a man landed on the West Lawn of the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, April 15, 2015.  A Florida postal carrier named Doug Hughes took responsibility for the stunt on a website where he said he was delivering letters to all 535 members of Congress in order to draw attention to campaign finance corruption. (AP)

We’ll take up the gyrocopter pilot’s complaint. Big money politics in America, on the road to 2016. And what to do about it.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Three LIVE Tracks From Flor De Toloache
Friday, Apr 17, 2015

Fantastic live tracks from the amazing women of Flor de Toloache.

More »
1 Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: April 17, 2015
Friday, Apr 17, 2015

Interactions on Facebook, campaign time begins and a truck full of bees.

More »
2 Comments
 
Parents Speak Out On Autism Care ‘Cliff’
Thursday, Apr 16, 2015

Stories of autism care for adults from our callers and, maybe, from you, too.

More »
4 Comments