A must read for anyone interested in the fortunes of the human race in the desert Southwest is Bill deBuys’ “A Great Aridness.” As the title implies, the overuse and mismanagement of scarce water supplies, coupled with the warming climate, spells trouble for the status quo in the fast-growing Sunbelt states.
I was lucky enough to hear Bill’s observations firsthand on a recent hike down the Bright Angel Trail. I was escorting him to a whitewater rafting trip being conducted by the Grand Canyon Field Institute where he would join a cluster of other experts for the lower half of an 18-day river trip. As if to drive his points home, we were brushing past tinder-dry foliage left browning after one of the canyon’s driest winters on record.
Despite the dire topic, Bill’s humor and optimism were contagious. His book is equally charged with insight, caution, and a zest for life. This would be a great addition to any summer reading list.