Land Abuse: The American West

Hardcover | May 6, 2008

byHoward G. Wilshire, Richard W. Hazlett, Jane E. Nielson

not yet rated|write a review
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.

Pricing and Purchase Info


Ships within 1-3 weeks
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

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, un...

Wilshire: 35 year career with U.S. Geological Survey as field and research geologist, performing mapping of many geologic terrains of all geologic ages on earth, plus mapping of geologic formations on the moon from telescope and photographs. Participated in astronaut training program for Apollo 14 through 17 missions, and on live-time...

other books by Howard G. Wilshire

Study Results Of 9 Sites Used By Off-road Vehicles That Illustrate Land Modifications: Usgs Open…
Study Results Of 9 Sites Used By Off-road Vehicles That...

Paperback|Mar 15 2013

$20.91 online$23.50list price(save 11%)
Format:HardcoverDimensions:544 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.98 inPublished:May 6, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195142055

ISBN - 13:9780195142051

Look for similar items by category:


Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction. Obeying Nature1. Once and Future Trees2. Harvesting the Future3. Raiding the Range4. Digging to China5. Routes of Ruin6. Legacies of War7. Creating the Nuclear Wasteland8. No Habitat But Our Own9. The Last Drops10. Garbage of the Golden West11. Tragedy of the Playground12. Driving to the End of America's Birthright13. Nature's Way / Conclusions. The Needs of our PosterityAppendix 1. Conserving U.S. Public Lands--A ChronologyAppendix 2. Best Intentions--Federal Waste Disposal LawsAppendix 3. Everything Comes from the EarthAppendix 4. Bio-Chemical War and YouAppendix 5. Destroyer of the WorldsAppendix 6. Plutonium Fields ForeverAppendix 7. Bombs for PeaceAppendix 8. The Bunker Buster FantasyAppendix 9. US and Them--the United States and World Oil ReservesAppendix 10. "Democratizing" Energy--Hydrogen Fuel CellsGlossaryNotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"The authors, using their broad and unchallengeable expertise, have produced a book that actively seeks out crises and battlegrounds where good science exists and needs to be applied, and civic policy lessons drawn. The book is a practical gift to civic society and to public interest advocates. It is one of those rare works written by people of science who - like Theo Colburn, Rachel Carson, and too few others - are impelled to be citizens as well as scientists." --Zygmunt J. B. Plater, Professor of Law at Boston College Law School and lead author of Environmental Law & Policy - Nature, Law & Society "Wilshire, Nielson, and Hazlett show how rising human population and affluence amongst a citizenship with decreasing connections to nature have left indelible scars on the western landscape and beyond, as the Earth's natural resources and plant productivity have been tapped for human needs. Well referenced and written by some of the nation's most credentialed earth scientists, this book is simultaneously alarming, depressing, and hopeful that it is not too late to create a sustainable future for humankind." -- William H. Schlesinger, President, the Institute of Ecosystem Studies "The American West at Risk emphasizes the need for genuine concern for our precious soils, freshwater, and other environmental resources. As the authors document, we should be making every effort to conserve and protect all our vital natural resources, which indeed support human life."--David Pimentel, Cornell University "We Americans have adopted a 'use it, throw it away, and move on' attitude to just about everything that seemed to make sense in an era of geographic expansion and cheap energy. Nowwe've entered the resulting era of scarcity-of water, soil, energy, and more. Can the famously trend-setting West adapt quickly enough? Surely this clearly-written and timely book will help. Changing our land use practices is essential to the survival not just of endangered species, but of human civilization."--Richard Heinberg, author of The Party's Over and Peak Everything "The west has been won, whipped and beat, and now must be healed. Here's a science-based guide to future hopes of health for the web of life, and avoiding past land management mistakes. The western economy and quality of life depend on our moving to sustainability, conservation, and restoration. This book is critical reading for anyone living or interested in the American West."--Daniel R. Patterson, Ecologist & Southwest Director, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility Tucson "The American West at Risk is both a sobering read and a strong call to action. With its concise, engaging text and detailed references Howard Wilshire and company have produced an invaluable desk reference for public lands advocates."--Stephen Bloch, Staff Attorney, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance "What's truly valuable about this book is that the information that the authors distilled into it is so pertinent and relevant yet usually impossible to find in one place with such clarity and detail. The authors, deeply concerned about land abuse in the West, have taken the time and effort to put together this themed-reference guide that no one else has done. They did a 5-star job at it." -- Andrew Kishner "This is a must-have book for conservationists, teachers and anyone who cares about understanding our impact onthese rugged but fragile lands." -- Karen Schambach