5/12 - The West Without Water

Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 05/12/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Why California's current water crisis may be a harbinger of what the future holds.

The extreme drought that California is currently enduring may be a harbinger of climatic conditions to come. Geologic evidence spanning the last 10,000 years indicates that extended droughts and catastrophic floods plagued the West with regularity over the past two millennia. While the West may have temporarily buffered itself from such harsh climatic swings by engineering artificial environments, our modern civilization may be ill-prepared for the future climatic changes predicted to beset the region.

On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Lynn Ingram and Frances Malamud-Roam, whose new book The West Without Water looks at what we are learning from geologic records that detail a much harsher climate in the West than what we are accustomed to. We discuss how our humanized landscapes make it much harder for nature to maintain balance and functionality, and what the implications are for human as well as plant and animal life.

B. Lynn Ingram is a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science at UC Berkeley, California. The West without Water is her first book.

Frances Malamud-Roam is Associate Environmental Planner and Biologist for Caltrans and the co-author of The West Without Water.


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