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'When The Well's Dry': Water and the Promise of Sustainability in the American Southwest

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Abstract:

The Colorado River has become part of a vast plumbing system. It is still a natural system, dependent upon weather patterns, geological processes and laws of physics. But it is also a cultural system, governed by dams, laws and political relationships. The river is neither natural nor unnatural, but both - separating the categories makes little sense. This article argues that it is more accurate to combine the categories of nature and culture, to see humans as inextricably and deeply entwined with the natural world, and to recognise all environmental issues as characterised by the contradictory relationships humans have developed with the world they inhabit.

Keywords: American Southwest; Colorado River; environmental values; sustainability; water use

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3197/096734009X12532652871992

Publication date: 2009-11-01

More about this publication?
  • Environment and History is an interdisciplinary journal which aims to bring scholars in the humanities and biological sciences closer together, with the deliberate intention of constructing long and well-founded perspectives on present day environmental problems.

    Environment and History has an impact factor (2015) of 0.811.
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