Tag: Phoenix

Just about Arizona water.

A more intimate look at the water of Arizona.

Yesterday, I published a recent Tomgram essay by William deBuys: Goodbye to All That (Water).  The essence of what William was presenting was that, “The crucial question for Phoenix, for the Colorado, and for the greater part of the American West is this: How long will the water hold out?

Also in yesterday’s Learning from Dogs post, I closed with the statement, “If readers will forgive me, I will continue the theme tomorrow with a rather more personal perspective.

I have decided to delay the ‘personal’ aspect to today’s post until the very end.  So back to Arizona’s water.

As an indication that this is not a new problem, I recently came across an article that was published  in The Arizona Republic by  Shaun McKinnon in August 2009.  It was called Unabated use of groundwater threatens Arizona’s future. Here’s how that article opened:

Thirty years after Arizona tried to stop cities and towns from using up their groundwater, the state still can’t shake its thirst for one of its most finite resources.

The steady drain on underground reserves grows out of two realities: Canals and pipelines don’t reach far enough to deliver surface water to everyone, and laws don’t reach far enough to stop people from drilling.

If the groundwater addiction continues unabated and under-regulated, the effects will be broad and potentially disastrous: Scarcer supplies could push rates higher and create uncertainty about water availability, discouraging new business and slowing economic growth. If wells start to run dry and aquifers collapse, the landscape could be dotted with fissures and sinkholes.

Lawmakers adopted some of the nation’s most progressive water-protection laws to avert such crises, but the laws excluded rural areas and allowed changes that let cities and subdivisions resume well-drilling, further depleting exhaustible aquifers.

Meanwhile, the renewable resource intended to replace groundwater – surface water fed by the annual runoff of mountain snow – can’t meet the demand of urban areas too far from the delivery canals.

The result is holes in the state’s water bucket that are spreading as fast as the holes in the ground.

Then good friend, Dan Gomez sent me this link: Arizona’s Water: Uses and Sources. I would like to cover some of the information contained on that website.

Arizona’s Water: Uses and Sources

One acre-foot of water.
One acre-foot of water.

A land’s carrying capacity has always been determined by its access to usable water. Humans use water primarily for irrigation, industry, drinking water, and sanitation. Millions of non-human species depend on water for life itself. Only 1% of the earth’s water is freshwater, to be shared among more than 7 billion people and all freshwater aquatic ecosystems in the world. It is perhaps the most precious resource on the planet.

Large volumes of water are most commonly measured in acre-feet. One acre-foot is the amount of water required to cover one acre of area to the depth of one foot: 325,851 gallons. Approximately one acre-foot serves the needs of a family of five for one year. Arizona is one of the driest states in the U.S., and one of the fastest-growing. Arizona’s current population is over 6 million (2010 Census) and is projected to grow to as many as 9.5 million people by 2025. Encompassing four deserts, Arizona receives a statewide average of only 12.5 inches of rain per year. Our climate presents intense challenges in balancing our water needs between ourselves, our neighbors, and our riparian ecosystemsWater has defined our past and will determine our future.

“Water has defined our past and will determine our future”!

Let me skip a couple of paragraphs and continue, thus:

Water Budget: Usage and recharge

How much water do we ​use?

Based on Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) data from 2001–2005, Arizona uses approximately 6.96 million acre-feet of water annually. A 2008 estimate by the University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center places that value as high as 8 million acre-feet. Collaborative estimates place the actual water used in Arizona at between 7.25 million and 7.75 million acre-feet annually. That’s about 2.4–2.5 trillion gallons a year.

 How do we use water?

Water in Arizona is used for cultural purposes (for and by people) and for in-stream uses, such as for the support of fish and riparian ecosystems.

Arizona's cultural use of water. Values based on Arizona Department of Water Resources.
Arizona’s cultural use of water. Values based on Arizona Department of Water Resources.
Approximately 69% of the available water supply in Arizona is used for agriculture.
Approximately 69% of the available water supply in Arizona is used for agriculture.

Again, skipping forward.

Values based on Arizona Department of Water Resources ABC’s of Water.
Values based on Arizona Department of Water Resources ABC’s of Water.

Water Sources

Arizona gets water from three major sources: surface water (which includes Colorado River water and water from other major rivers and streams), groundwater, and effluent or reclaimed water.

Groundwater

About 43% of the state’s water use comes from groundwater sources. Groundwater is found beneath the earth’s surface in natural reservoirs called aquifers. In most cases the aquifers that store water have been in place for millions of years. Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, groundwater has been pumped out more rapidly than it has been replenished, creating a condition called overdraft. Though a large amount of water remains stored in Arizona’s aquifers, its availability is limited by location, depth and quality. By continuing to overdraft the state’s groundwater supplies, we challenge our ability to ensure a secure water supply for the future. In recognition of this threat, Arizona implemented the Groundwater Management Code in 1980. The Groundwater Code promotes water conservation and long-range planning of our water resources.

Colorado River Water

A separate category of surface water in Arizona is the water supplied through the Colorado River. The federal government constructed a system of reservoirs on the river to harness its supplies for use in several states. Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and Mexico share the river’s resources. Rights to use Colorado River water are quantified by a string of legal authorities known as the “Law of the River.” Based on this body of law, Arizona has the right to use 2.8 million acre-feet annually of Colorado River water. Mohave, La Paz, and Yuma county water users rely on Colorado River as their principal water supply. When fully utilized, the Central Arizona Project (CAP) will deliver an annual average of 1.5 million acre-feet of Colorado River water to Maricopa, Pinal and Pima Counties.

Other Surface Water

Surface water from lakes, rivers, and streams is Arizona’s major renewable water resource. However, because of our desert climate, the amount of surface water available can vary dramatically from year to year, season to season, and place to place. In order to make the best use of the surface water when and where it is needed, storage reservoirs and delivery systems have been constructed throughout the state. Most notable are the major reservoir storage systems located on the Salt, Verde, Gila and Agua Fria rivers. Almost all of the natural surface water in Arizona has been developed.

Effluent

Reclaimed water, or effluent, is the one increasing water source in our state. As our population and water use grows, more treated wastewater will be available. Reclaimed water is treated to a quality that can be used for purposes such as agriculture, golf courses, parks, industrial cooling, or maintenance of wildlife areas.

Information made available by the Arizona Department of Water Resources and the University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center.

Since it is impossible to measure the exact values of water used across a state, some variance of values must be tolerated.

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So take the message from yesterday’s post and then from above: “Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, groundwater has been pumped out more rapidly than it has been replenished, creating a condition called overdraft. Though a large amount of water remains stored in Arizona’s aquifers, its availability is limited by location, depth and quality. By continuing to overdraft the state’s groundwater supplies, we challenge our ability to ensure a secure water supply for the future.“, and remember that 2 + 2 = 4!  I.e. the power of logic.

Now to close with that personal perspective.

When Jean and I were living in Payson, Arizona, we were close to town but not so close as to be on Payson City’s water supply.  Thus we had a well on our land.  If I recall, the depth of the drilled well was about 250 feet and the water level was about 80 feet below ground surface.  We had been told from the house survey that the ‘normal’ water level was about 35 feet down.  While we were there the water level slowly, but steadily, continued to drop.

We were both very happy in Payson; indeed it is where Jean and I were married.

However, one night, I would guess last June, 2012, I had this weird dream that I had gone to the bathroom during the night, turned on the cold-water tap and nothing had flowed out.  Bizarre dream, wouldn’t you say!  But even more bizarre was that the image of no water was in my mind when I awoke in the morning, and I couldn’t shrug off a distinct feeling of disquiet.  That all lead to us coming up to Oregon, finding this wonderful property with an all-year creek, Bummer Creek, running through our land, and moving in on October 25th, 2012.

Funny old world at times!

Pharaoh enjoying Bummer Creek.
Pharaoh enjoying Bummer Creek.

The new tomorrows.

When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”  Viktor Frankl.

Like many bloggers I enjoy using a quotation to set the theme for a post.  Found this on the web; it seemed appropriate.

Over the next two days, I want to range across a number of ideas that, together, point to changes that are underway in every conceivable manner for the vast majority of the inhabitants of this planet.

My musings were prompted by a recent essay on Tom Dispatch.  Regulars will know that Tom Engelhardt generously granted me permission to republish essays that appear on his very widely-read blogsite.  This particular essay is about Phoenix in Arizona.

But first indulge me as I recount something rather personal, possibly silly but also mysteriously beautiful.

Many will know that Jean and I moved from San Carlos in Mexico to Payson, Arizona early on in 2010.  (My long comment to yesterday’s post about poor Lupe explains the background.)  Payson is 80 miles North-East of Phoenix and despite being up at 5,000 feet is very much in the same broad weather systems as Phoenix.

With our 14 dogs and 7 cats we quickly settled down and were made to feel very welcome by one and all.  Jean and I were married in Payson in November of 2010.  We were happy and contented.

One night in June last year, I had this vivid dream about going to the bathroom and finding that no water came from the tap.  Where we were living was out of town and our water supplies came from our own well (borehole in English speak!).  While the water level in the well was down by about 50 feet there was no question of the well failing; it was drilled to over 180 feet and flow tests were positive.

When I awoke the dream was still very much in the forefront of my mind.  I talked about it over breakfast with Jeannie.  By chance, we had a guest staying with us and when she heard the tale she said, “If you’re worried about water, you should go to Oregon.

Again, by chance, a couple of weeks later we had someone offer to house-sit.  With our menagerie of animals that was no casual offer!

We accepted, came up to Oregon and found this most beautiful home in Merlin, Southern Oregon complete with 13 acres and Bummer Creek running across the width of the property, a creek that flows for most of the year.

Pharaoh checking out our creek.
Pharaoh checking out Bummer Creek.

We quickly did the deal, sold the house in Payson and moved in on October 25th 2012, less than 5 months ago.

Keep all of that in mind as you read this TomDispatch essay.

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Tomgram: William deBuys, Exodus from Phoenix

Posted by William deBuys at 7:58am, March 14, 2013.

We’re not the first people on the planet ever to experience climate stress.  In the overheating, increasingly parched American Southwest, which has been experiencing rising temperatures, spreading drought conditions, and record wildfires, there is an ancient history of staggering mega-droughts, events far worse than the infamous “dust bowl” of the 1930s, the seven-year drought that devastated America’s prairie lands.  That may have been “the worst prolonged environmental disaster recorded for the country,” but historically speaking it was a “mere dry spell” compared to some past mega-droughts that lasted “centuries to millennia.”

Such events even happened in human history, including an almost century-long southwestern dry spell in the second century AD and a drought that was at least decades long in the twelfth century.  These were all events driven by natural climate variation.  Climate change adds a human factor to the equation in a region already naturally dry and short on water.  It ups the odds of bad events happening.  In the coming century, how habitable will parts of the bustling desert Southwest turn out to be?  Already, in the face of heat and drought, small numbers of people from small towns in the region are leaving.  And this, too, has happened before.  There are sobering previous examples of what it means when extreme climate stress hits this area.

Chaco Canyon was abandoned by its native population during that twelfth-century drought, and 150 years later, the Hohokam native culture of what is now central Arizona, whose waterworks in the dry lands of that area were major and impressive, also abandoned its lands, possibly due to drought, as TomDispatch regular William deBuys recounts in his recent book A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest.  “At some point,” he writes, “Hohokam society passed a threshold: the number of able-bodied workers it could muster was no longer sufficient to meet the challenge of rebuilding dams when they washed out and cleaning canals as they inevitably silted up. Eventually the hydraulic system collapsed, and the society that depended on it could no longer exist. The survivors turned their backs on their cities and scattered into the vastness of the land, doing what they could to survive.”

As you read deBuys’s latest post, it’s worth remembering that even the greatest hydraulic engineers have their limits when the water dries up.  When the Anglo farmers of the Phoenix Basin first started using the local rivers, they found themselves “reopening the canals the Hohokam had left behind.”  Who knows what monumental works we, too, might someday abandon? Phoenix, anyone? Tom

Phoenix in the Climate Crosshairs 
We Are Long Past Coal Mine Canaries 
By William deBuys

If cities were stocks, you’d want to short Phoenix.

Of course, it’s an easy city to pick on. The nation’s 13th largest metropolitan area (nudging out Detroit) crams 4.3 million people into a low bowl in a hot desert, where horrific heat waves and windstorms visit it regularly. It snuggles next to the nation’s largest nuclear plant and, having exhausted local sources, it depends on an improbable infrastructure to suck water from the distant (and dwindling) Colorado River.

In Phoenix, you don’t ask: What could go wrong? You ask: What couldn’t?

And that’s the point, really. Phoenix’s multiple vulnerabilities, which are plenty daunting taken one by one, have the capacity to magnify one another, like compounding illnesses. In this regard, it’s a quintessentially modern city, a pyramid of complexities requiring large energy inputs to keep the whole apparatus humming. The urban disasters of our time — New Orleans hit by Katrina, New York City swamped by Sandy — may arise from single storms, but the damage they do is the result of a chain reaction of failures — grids going down, levees failing, back-up systems not backing up. As you might expect, academics have come up with a name for such breakdowns: infrastructure failure interdependencies. You wouldn’t want to use it in a poem, but it does catch an emerging theme of our time.

Phoenix’s pyramid of complexities looks shakier than most because it stands squarely in the crosshairs of climate change. The area, like much of the rest of the American Southwest, is already hot and dry; it’s getting ever hotter and drier, and is increasingly battered by powerful storms. Sandy and Katrina previewed how coastal cities can expect to fare as seas rise and storms strengthen. Phoenix pulls back the curtain on the future of inland empires. If you want a taste of the brutal new climate to come, the place to look is where that climate is already harsh, and growing more so — the aptly named Valley of the Sun.

In Phoenix, it’s the convergence of heat, drought, and violent winds, interacting and amplifying each other that you worry about. Generally speaking, in contemporary society, nothing that matters happens for just one reason, and in Phoenix there are all too many “reasons” primed to collaborate and produce big problems, with climate change foremost among them, juicing up the heat, the drought, and the wind to ever greater extremes, like so many sluggers on steroids. Notably, each of these nemeses, in its own way, has the potential to undermine the sine qua non of modern urban life, the electrical grid, which in Phoenix merits special attention.

If, in summer, the grid there fails on a large scale and for a significant period of time, the fallout will make the consequences of Superstorm Sandy look mild. Sure, people will hunt madly for power outlets to charge their cellphones and struggle to keep their milk fresh, but communications and food refrigeration will not top their list of priorities. Phoenix is an air-conditioned city. If the power goes out, people fry.

In the summer of 2003, a heat wave swept Europe and killed 70,000 people. The temperature in London touched 100 degrees Fahrenheit for the first time since records had been kept, and in portions of France the mercury climbed as high as 104°F. Those temperatures, however, are child’s play in Phoenix, where readings commonly exceed 100°F for more than 100 days a year. In 2011, the city set a new record for days over 110°F: there were 33 of them, more than a month of spectacularly superheated days ushering in a new era.

In Flight From the Sun

It goes without saying that Phoenix’s desert setting is hot by nature, but we’ve made it hotter. The city is a masonry world, with asphalt and concrete everywhere. The hard, heavy materials of its buildings and roads absorb heat efficiently and give it back more slowly than the naked land. In a sense, the whole city is really a thermal battery, soaking up energy by day and releasing it at night. The result is an “urban heat island,” which, in turn, prevents the cool of the desert night from providing much relief.

Sixty years ago, when Phoenix was just embarking on its career of manic growth, nighttime lows never crept above 90°F. Today such temperatures are a commonplace, and the vigil has begun for the first night that doesn’t dip below 100°F. Studies indicate that Phoenix’s urban-heat-island effect may boost nighttime temperatures by as much as 10°F. It’s as though the city has doubled down on climate change, finding a way to magnify its most unwanted effects even before it hits the rest of us full blast.

Predictably, the poor suffer most from the heat.  They live in the hottest neighborhoods with the least greenery to mitigate the heat-island effect, and they possess the least resources for combatting high temperatures.  For most Phoenicians, however, none of this is more than an inconvenience as long as the AC keeps humming and the utility bill gets paid. When the heat intensifies, they learn to scurry from building to car and into the next building, essentially holding their breaths. In those cars, the second thing they touch after the ignition is the fan control for the AC. The steering wheel comes later.

In the blazing brilliance of July and August, you venture out undefended to walk or run only in the half-light of dawn or dusk. The idea for residents of the Valley of the Sun is to learn to dodge the heat, not challenge it.

Heat, however, is a tricky adversary. It stresses everything, including electrical equipment. Transformers, when they get too hot, can fail. Likewise, thermoelectric generating stations, whether fired by coal, gas, or neutrons, become less efficient as the mercury soars.  And the great hydroelectric dams of the Colorado River, including Glen Canyon, which serves greater Phoenix, won’t be able to supply the “peaking power” they do now if the reservoirs behind them are fatally shrunken by drought, as multiple studies forecast they will be. Much of this can be mitigated with upgraded equipment, smart grid technologies, and redundant systems.  But then along comes the haboob.

haboob is a dust/sand/windstorm, usually caused by the collapse of a thunderstorm cell. The plunging air hits the ground and roils outward, picking up debris across the open desert. As the Arabic name suggests, such storms are native to arid regions, but — although Phoenix is no stranger to storm-driven dust — the term haboob has only lately entered the local lexicon. It seems to have been imported to describe a new class of storms, spectacular in their vehemence, which bring visibility to zero and life to a standstill. They sandblast cars, close the airport, and occasionally cause the lights — and AC — to go out. Not to worry, say the two major utilities serving the Phoenix metroplex, Arizona Public Service and the Salt River Project. And the outages have indeed been brief.  So far.

Before Katrina hit, the Army Corps of Engineers was similarly reassuring to the people of New Orleans. And until Superstorm Sandy landed, almost no one worried about storm surges filling the subway tunnels of New York.

Every system, like every city, has its vulnerabilities. Climate change, in almost every instance, will worsen them. The beefed-up, juiced-up, greenhouse-gassed, overheated weather of the future will give us haboobs of a sort we can’t yet imagine, packed with ever greater amounts of energy. In all likelihood, the emergence of such storms as a feature of Phoenix life results from an overheating environment, abetted by the loose sand and dust of abandoned farmland (which dried up when water was diverted to the city’s growing subdivisions).

Water, Water, Everywhere (But Not for Long)

In dystopic portraits of Phoenix’s unsustainable future, water — or rather the lack of it — is usually painted as the agent of collapse. Indeed, the metropolitan area, a jumble of jurisdictions that includes Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe, Mesa, Sun City, Chandler, and 15 other municipalities, long ago made full use of such local rivers as the Salt, Verde, and Gila. Next, people sank wells and mined enough groundwater to lower the water table by 400 feet.

Sometimes the land sank, too.  Near some wells it subsided by 10 feet or more. All along, everyone knew that the furious extraction of groundwater couldn’t last, so they fixed their hopes on a new bonanza called the Central Arizona Project (CAP), a river-sized, open-air canal supported by an elaborate array of pumps, siphons, and tunnels that would bring Colorado River water across the breadth of Arizona to Phoenix and Tucson.

The CAP came on line in the early 1990s and today is the engine of Arizona’s growth. Unfortunately, in order to win authorization and funding to build it, state officials had to make a bargain with the devil, which in this case turned out to be California. Arizona’s delegation in the House of Representatives was tiny, California’s was huge, and its representatives jealously protected their longstanding stranglehold on the Colorado River. The concession California forced on Arizona was simple: it had to agree that its CAP water rights would take second place to California’s claims.

This means one thing: once the inevitable day comes when there isn’t enough water to go around, the CAP will absorb the shortage down to the last drop before California even begins to turn off its faucets.

A raw deal for Arizona? You bet, but not exactly the end of the line. Arizona has other “more senior” rights to the Colorado, and when the CAP begins to run dry, you may be sure that the masters of the CAP will pay whatever is necessary to lease those older rights and keep the 330-mile canal flowing. Among their targets will be water rights belonging to Indian tribes at the western edge of the state along the lower reaches of the river. The cost of buying tribal water will drive the rates consumers pay for water in Phoenix sky-high, but they’ll pay it because they’ll have to.

Longer term, the Colorado River poses issues that no amount of tribal water can resolve. Beset by climate change, overuse, and drought, the river and its reservoirs, according to various researchers, may decline to the point that water fails to pass Hoover Dam. In that case, the CAP would dry up, but so would the Colorado Aqueduct which serves greater Los Angeles and San Diego, as well as the All-American Canal, on which the factory farms of California’s Imperial and Coachella valleys depend. Irrigators and municipalities downstream in Mexico would also go dry. If nothing changes in the current order of things, it is expected that the possibility of such a debacle could loom in little more than a decade.

The preferred solution to this crisis among the water mavens of the lower Colorado is augmentation, which means importing more water into the Colorado system to boost native supplies. A recently discussed grandiose scheme to bail out the Colorado’s users with a pipeline from the Mississippi River failed to pass the straight-face test and was shot down by then-Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

Meanwhile, the obvious expedient of cutting back on water consumption finds little support in thirsty California, which will watch the CAP go dry before it gets serious about meaningful system-wide conservation.

Burning Uplands

Phoenicians who want to escape water worries, heat waves, and haboobs have traditionally sought refuge in the cool green forests of Arizona’s uplands, or at least they did until recently. In 2002, the Rodeo-Chediski fire consumed 469,000 acres of pine and mixed conifer on the Mogollon Rim, not far from Phoenix. It was an ecological holocaust that no one expected to see surpassed. Only nine years later, in 2011, the Wallow fire picked up the torch, so to speak, and burned across the Rim all the way to the New Mexico border and beyond, topping out at 538,000 charred acres.

Now, nobody thinks such fires are one-off flukes. Diligent modeling of forest response to rising temperatures and increased moisture stress suggests, in fact, that these two fires were harbingers of worse to come. By mid-century, according to a paper by an A-team of Southwestern forest ecologists, the “normal” stress on trees will equal that of the worst megadroughts in the region’s distant paleo-history, when most of the trees in the area simply died.

Compared to Phoenix’s other heat and water woes, the demise of Arizona’s forests may seem like a side issue, whose effects would be noticeable mainly in the siltation of reservoirs and the destabilization of the watersheds on which the city depends. But it could well prove a regional disaster.  Consider, then, heat, drought, windstorms, and fire as the four horsemen of Phoenix’s Apocalypse. As it happens, though, this potential apocalypse has a fifth horseman as well.

Rebecca Solnit has written eloquently of the way a sudden catastrophe — an earthquake, hurricane, or tornado — can dissolve social divisions and cause a community to cohere, bringing out the best in its citizenry. Drought and heat waves are different. You don’t know that they have taken hold until you are already in them, and you never know when they will end. The unpleasantness eats away at you.  It corrodes your state of mind. You have lots of time to meditate on the deficiencies of your neighbors, which loom larger the longer the crisis goes on.

Drought divides people, and Phoenix is already a divided place — notoriously so, thanks to the brutal antics of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. In Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City, Andrew Ross offers a dismal portrait of contemporary Phoenix — of a city threatened by its particular brand of local politics and economic domination, shaped by more than the usual quotient of prejudice, greed, class insularity, and devotion to raw power.

It is a truism that communities that do not pull together fail to surmount their challenges. Phoenix’s are as daunting as any faced by an American city in the new age of climate change, but its winner-take-all politics (out of which has come Arizona’s flagrantly repressive anti-immigration law), combined with the fragmentation of the metro-area into nearly two dozen competing jurisdictions, essentially guarantee that, when the worst of times hit, common action and shared sacrifice will remain as insubstantial as a desert mirage. When one day the U-Haul vans all point away from town and the people of the Valley of the Sun clog the interstates heading for greener, wetter pastures, more than the brutal heat of a new climate paradigm will be driving them away. The breakdown of cooperation and connectedness will spur them along, too.

One day, some of them may look back and think of the real estate crash of 2007-2008 and the recession that followed with fond nostalgia. The city’s economy was in the tank, growth had stalled, and for a while business-as-usual had nothing usual about it. But there was a rare kind of potential. That recession might have been the last best chance for Phoenix and other go-go Sunbelt cities to reassess their lamentably unsustainable habits and re-organize themselves, politically and economically, to get ready for life on the front burner of climate change. Land use, transportation, water policies, building codes, growth management — you name it — might all have experienced a healthy overhaul. It was a chance no one took. Instead, one or several decades from now, people will bet on a surer thing: they’ll take the road out of town.

William deBuys, a TomDispatch regular, is the author of seven books, most recently A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest. He has long been involved in environmental affairs in the Southwest, including service as founding chairman of the Valles Caldera Trust, which administers the 87,000-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch book, Nick Turse’s The Changing Face of Empire: Special Ops, Drones, Proxy Fighters, Secret Bases, and Cyberwarfare.

Copyright 2013 William deBuys

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Just to reinforce the magic of my dream and how Jean and I feel so blessed by our life changes, the photo below was taken on our property the day we arrived in Merlin.

Within arm's reach of the beauty of nature.
Within arm’s reach of the beauty of nature.

Musings continued tomorrow.  Hope you stayed with it so far.

Moving Together

Just an update to last Saturday’s event.

Readers may recall that John H. and I went to the nearest Moving Planet event in Phoenix, as posted on Monday.  Now 350.org have released a video of the event as seen from a global perspective.

2000+ events. 180+ countries. A single day to Move Beyond Fossil Fuels. 350.org’s 2011 day of action, Moving Planet, brought together Moving Together.

Photos and Videos submitted by thousands of organizers and activists around the world — THANK YOU!

Music by Alex Forster: http://www.alexforster.net

Many thanks to our partner organizations who helped us pull this off.

Special thanks to videographers around the world who captured such amazing moments — please contact videos@350.org if you want credits here.

Very inspiring!