Running Out
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Running Out

In Search of Water on the High Plains

Lucas Bessire

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eBook - ePub

Running Out

In Search of Water on the High Plains

Lucas Bessire

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About This Book

Finalist for the National Book Award
An intimate reckoning with aquifer depletion in America's heartland The Ogallala aquifer has nourished life on the American Great Plains for millennia. But less than a century of unsustainable irrigation farming has taxed much of the aquifer beyond repair. The imminent depletion of the Ogallala and other aquifers around the world is a defining planetary crisis of our times. Running Out offers a uniquely personal account of aquifer depletion and the deeper layers through which it gains meaning and force.Anthropologist Lucas Bessire journeyed back to western Kansas, where five generations of his family lived as irrigation farmers and ranchers, to try to make sense of this vital resource and its loss. His search for water across the drying High Plains brings the reader face to face with the stark realities of industrial agriculture, eroding democratic norms, and surreal interpretations of a looming disaster. Yet the destination is far from predictable, as the book seeks to move beyond the words and genres through which destruction is often known. Instead, this journey into the morass of eradication offers a series of unexpected discoveries about what it means to inherit the troubled legacies of the past and how we can take responsibility for a more inclusive, sustainable future.An urgent and unsettling meditation on environmental change, Running Out is a revelatory account of family, complicity, loss, and what it means to find your way back home.

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Information

Year
2021
ISBN
9780691212654

INDEX

Page numbers in italics refer to figures.
  • Abilene Christian University, 93, 95, 100
  • Abraham, Negev Plain, 155
  • Adobe Walls, 103
  • Agent Orange, 122
  • agri-biopolitics, 206n15
  • agribusiness, 4, 17, 132, 156, 168; chaos of, 168; clearing the Plains for, 131; corporations, 31, 79–80, 112; economics of, 39, 58, 110; logics, 9; myths, 6–7; pesticides, 31; writing, 189n11
  • Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) program, 87–88
  • alfalfa, 61, 76–78, 132
  • American Restoration Movement, 198n1
  • antelope, 18, 51, 55–56
  • anthropology/anthropologists, 8–9, 16, 84, 120, 181, 207nn19–20
  • aqueducts, 15, 109–110, 199n6
  • aquifer(s), xiii–xiv; alfalfa and, 77–78; decline of, 2–4, 15, 110, 139, 141, 149, 157, 188n8, 191n39; drying, 180–181; Dust Bowl and, 88–89; future of, 137–138; governance, 11–15, 56–57; groundwater extraction, 3; High Plains system, xi, 4, 5, 7, 111; irrigation and, 74; layers, 7, 133; loss, 5, 7, 9, 16, 47, 60, 109–110, 133, 135, 168–169, 175, 176, 179, 188n8; minerals, 34; Ogallala, xi, 4, 140; replacing water in, 109–110; use of, 80, 112, 130; waters, 8, 10, 17, 20, 24, 40, 78, 112–114, 164, 170
  • Arabian peninsula, 3, 179
  • Argentina, 148, 177, 179
  • Arkansas River, 48, 114, 124, 135; digging irrigation ditch along, 125; valley, 47, 138, 200n13
  • atrazine, 123–124, 200n11
  • Australia, 3, 177
  • Autry, Gene, 90
  • Baldwin, James, responsibility, 205n5
  • Bangladesh, 177
  • basketball, 99–100, 102
  • Bear Creek, 45, 125
  • Beatty Ranch, 64
  • Beaver, Ok...

Table of contents