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
Oct 1, 2014
Pro-democracy protesters hold umbrellas under heavy rain in a main street near the government headquarters in Hong Kong late Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. The protesters demanded that Hong Kong's top leader meet with them on Tuesday and threatened wider actions if he did not, after he said China would not budge in its decision to limit voting reforms in the Asian financial hub. (AP)

China, democracy and Hong Kong. They’re in the streets in Hong Kong with their “Umbrella Revolution.” What now?

Oct 1, 2014
Actress Eva Longoria, center, Henry R. Munoz III, co-founder of the Latino Victory Project, left, and Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, are seated at an event launching The Latino Victory Project, a Latino political action committee, at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, May 5, 2014. (AP)

Latino America. It is very large and growing very fast. How will it move the country?

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 30, 2014
In this Jan. 15, 2013, photo, Rosser Pryor, Co-owner and President of Factory Automation Systems, examines a new high-performance industrial robot at the company's Atlanta facility.  (AP)

Nicholas Carr says automation, all over, is turning us into zombies. Out of touch with the world. He’s with us.

 
Sep 30, 2014
St. Louis county police officers advance on protestors trying to shut down Interstate 70 in Berkeley, Mo. on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014 near the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo. where Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year old was shot and killed by a white police officer on Aug. 9. (AP)

Police shootings, cop culture, body cameras. And the big debate over how to protect the public and the police.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Transcript: Peter Thiel Wants Us All To Go From ‘Zero To One’
Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

Entrepreneur Peter Thiel on innovation, technological failure and humanity’s uncertain future.

More »
Comment
 
Transcript: Sexual Violence Under ISIS Control
Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

A transcript from our September 25, 2014 conversation on the Islamic State and sexual violence.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: September 26, 2014
Friday, Sep 26, 2014

All of you love to listen to old broadcasts when we play them, and Taylor Swift loves the Internet.

More »
Comment