The Future of our National Parks System

 

The current political administration in the United States has raised into question the future of our public lands. Given the continued discussion over the ownership of national parks and monuments, the below excerpt from Grand Canyon for Sale: Public Lands versus Private Interests in the Era of Climate Change, is both timely and informative.

This faint old path isn’t on the brochure map, but it leads to a fine perch just the same. Moving past the car choreography and selfie poses at the popular Desert View area near the eastern border of Grand Canyon National Park, I find my way on a late afternoon.

Crumbling pavers end in a trace that weaves through rabbitbrush and juniper and over to a suitable rock, right on the abyss. No glance out there yet. I don’t want to risk vertigo until I’m settled. Then, with a beer and a bag of salt peanuts, I can drift out over two billion years of geology, a hundred centuries of human striving, and a timeless void.

Anywhere you pause along the hundreds of miles of edge brings dizzying contrast. The infinitesimal meets the cosmic, as a cliff swallow careens against far-off rock and sky. The immediate—check your foot-ing on that limestone grit, there’s a long fall pending—opens abruptly onto silent eons of cycle and revision. Another contrast: under a longer gaze the wild and timeless look of this panorama bears the lasting marks of recent human activity. They are the destinations of this book.

As we head into its second century, few would disagree that we want the park system to fulfill its mandate to preserve nature. “The core element of the national parks is that they are in the perpetuity business,” as Gary Machlis, science adviser to the director of the Park Service, told me. “The irony is that our mission is to preserve things in perpetuity, and we do it on an annual budget and a four-year presidential cycle.” The natural systems of the parks, he said, represent an island of stability—as long as we protect them and plan well for their future.

The centenary of the Park Service has just passed, along with some well-deserved national self-congratulations. Perhaps this would be a discreet time to say that the parks’ natural systems are, in the estimation of many scientists, falling apart. In that view all public lands need long-term life support, beginning as soon as we can pull it together. We’re on a precipice, both politically and biologically.

Read more from the author in a recent article, ‘At Bears Ears in Utah, Heated Politics and Precious Ruins,’ on the New York Times website, or check out his website to learn more.


Our Most Precious Resource: A National Water Quality Month Reading List

August is National Water Quality Month, a time to reflect on what we are doing to both prevent water pollution and preserve water resources around the country. Check out the list below to learn more about water history, climate change, and the future of water in the western US.

The Atlas of Water: Mapping the World’s Most Critical Resource by Maggie Black

Using vivid graphics, maps, and charts, The Atlas of Water explores the complex human interaction with water around the world. This vibrant atlas addresses all the pressing issues concerning water, from water shortages and excessive demand, to dams, pollution, and privatization, all considered in terms of the growing threat of an increasingly unpredictable climate. It also outlines critical tools for managing water, providing safe access to water, and preserving the future of the world’s water supply.

 

Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of America’s Children by Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner

In this incisive examination of lead poisoning during the past half century, Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner focus on one of the most contentious and bitter battles in the history of public health. Lead Wars details how the nature of the epidemic has changed and highlights the dilemmas public health agencies face today in terms of prevention strategies and chronic illness linked to low levels of toxic exposure. Including content about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, Lead Wars chronicles the obstacles faced by public health workers in the conservative, pro-business, anti-regulatory climate that took off in the Reagan years and that stymied efforts to eliminate lead from the environments and the bodies of American children.

 

Water and Los Angeles: A Tale of Three Rivers, 1900-1941 by William Deverell and Tom Sitton

Los Angeles rose to significance in the first half of the twentieth century by way of its complex relationship to three rivers: the Los Angeles, the Owens, and the Colorado. The remarkable urban and suburban trajectory of southern California since then cannot be fully understood without reference to the ways in which each of these three river systems came to be connected to the future of the metropolitan region.

A free ebook version of this title is available through Luminos, University of California Press’s Open Access publishing program for monographs.

 

Blood and Water: The Indus River Basin in Modern History by David Gilmartin

The Indus basin was once an arid pastoral watershed, but by the second half of the twentieth century, it had become one of the world’s most heavily irrigated and populated river basins. Launched under British colonial rule in the nineteenth century, this irrigation project spurred political, social, and environmental transformations that continued after the 1947 creation of the new states of India and Pakistan. In this first large-scale environmental history of the region, David Gilmartin focuses on the changes that occurred in the basin as a result of the implementation of the world’s largest modern integrated irrigation system.

 

Dead Pool: Lake Powell, Global Warming, and the Future of Water in the West by James Lawrence Powell

Where will the water come from to sustain the great desert cities of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix? In a provocative exploration of the past, present, and future of water in the West, James Lawrence Powell begins at Lake Powell, the vast reservoir that has become an emblem of this story. Writing for a wide audience, Powell shows us exactly why an urgent threat during the first half of the twenty-first century will come not from the rising of the seas but from the falling of the reservoirs.

 


Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene Call for Papers: Earth & Environmental Science

We invite you to submit your next paper to the Earth & Environmental Science domain of Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, a trans-disciplinary, open-access journal whose mission is Open Science for the Public Good.

Elementa publishes original research with the ultimate objective of accelerating scientific solutions to the challenges presented by this era of human impact. Structured into six distinct knowledge domains, the Earth & Environmental Science domain encompasses research on processes impacted by humans that occur on the land surface, in groundwater, and in rivers, lakes and coastal areas. This includes, but is not limited to, the traditional sub-disciplines of surficial geology, geomorphology, physical geography, hydrology, glaciology, geochemistry, biogeochemistry, geomicrobiology, limnology, soil science, remote sensing, climate science, and contaminant fate and transport. Studies published in Elementa should relate to processes that have occurred during the Anthropocene epoch (i.e., since the onset of the industrial revolution ~250 years ago) or earlier if they are significantly affected by human activities.

For the full Aims & Scope of the Earth & Environmental Science domain, please click here.

In addition to innovative features including a value-sharing business model and an article-promotion partnership with Kudos, Elementa articles are highly used and downloaded (see highlighted articles below). For the full Elementa story, visit our website at elementascience.org.

For Elementa news and updates, be sure to follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

There has never been a more important time to ensure that transparent, evidence-based, peer-reviewed research has the widest and most impactful dissemination as possible. Please consider submitting your Earth & Environmental Science papers to Elementa or developing a Special Feature or Forum, and feel free to get in touch with Oliver A. Chadwick, University of California, Santa Barbara, Editor in Chief for Earth & Environmental Science, should you have any questions.


Special Features currently open for submissions
Deltas in the Anthropocene

High-impact Earth & Environmental Science content from Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene

(All metrics from May 2, 2017)

Dating the Anthropocene: Towards an empirical global history of human transformation of the terrestrial biosphere
Ellis EC, Fuller DQ, Kaplan JO, Lutters WG
Total usage: 31,617 views/downloads and 7 citations since original publication on December 04, 2013

Seasonally varying contributions to urban CO2 in the Chicago, Illinois, USA region: Insights from a high-resolution CO2 concentration and δ13C record
Moore J, Jacobson AD
Total usage: 19,240 views/downloads and 2 citations since original publication on June 05, 2015

Sources and sinks of carbon in boreal ecosystems of interior Alaska: A review
Douglas TA, Jones MC, Hiemstra CA, Arnold JR
Total usage: 19,097 views/downloads and 1 citation Since original publication on November 07, 2014

Earthcasting the future Critical Zone
Goddéris Y, Brantley SL
Total usage: 18,259 views/downloads and 2 citations since original publication on December 04, 2013

Major impact of climate change on deep-sea benthic ecosystems
Sweetman, Andrew K., et al.
Total usage: 2,554 views/downloads since original publication on February 23, 2017


7 New #OpenAccess Articles from Elementa

An open access scientific journal, Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene’s mission is Open Science for Public Good. With the ultimate objective of publishing original research that accelerates solutions to challenges presented by this era of human impact, Elementa is uniquely structured into six distinct knowledge domains, led by six Editors-in-Chief.

Check out 7 new #OpenAccess articles from Elementa, and consider becoming an Elementa author! Visit elementascience.org to see Calls for Papers from each knowledge domain.


Major impact of climate change on deep-sea benthic ecosystems
Andrew K. Sweetman, et al.
Domains: Earth & Environmental Science, Ecology, Ocean Science

Analysis of local-scale background concentrations of methane and other gas-phase species in the Marcellus Shale
J. Douglas Goetz, et al.
Domain: Atmospheric Science
(Part of a Forum: Oil and Natural Gas Development: Air Quality, Climate Science, and Policy)

Scape goats, silver bullets, and other pitfalls in the path to sustainability
D. G. Webster
Domain: Sustainability Transitions
(Part of a Special Feature: Envisioning Sustainable Transitions)

Legacies of stream channel modification revealed using General Land Office surveys, with implications for water temperature and aquatic life
Seth M. White, et al.
Domain: Ecology

Leveraging agroecology for solutions in food, energy, and water
Marcia DeLonge, Andrea Basche
Domain: Sustainability Transitions
(Part of a Forum: Food-energy-water systems: Opportunities at the nexus)

Ten-year chemical signatures associated with long-range transport observed in the free troposphere over the central North Atlantic
B. Zhang, et al.
Domain: Atmospheric Science


Want to browse more recent content from ElementaClick here for recently published articles, and follow Elementa on Facebook and @elementascience for the latest updates.


A Right-Now Battle for the Future of America’s Public Lands

This post is part of our Earth Week blog series. Check back every day between now and Friday for new blog posts. 

by Stephen Nash, author of Grand Canyon for Sale: Public Lands versus Private Interests in the Era of Climate Change

America’s national park system is the most familiar component of our vast estate of federal public lands: forests and grasslands, wildlife refuges, millions of acres of rangelands. These landscapes all add up to more than a fourth of the U.S. national dirt. Earth Week 2017 finds the survival of their natural systems increasingly vulnerable, politically and biologically.

The plan long promoted by conservation biologists and environmentalists, and seriously contemplated by the federal government in the recent past, was to move toward connecting these lands to help ensure their protection from industrial exploitation and development pressures, and to enable species to adapt and migrate in the face of quickly arriving climate change.

But a powerful, well-funded political movement is pushing in the other direction: to atomize federal public lands, hand them over to the states, and privatize them. My book Grand Canyon for Sale: Public Lands versus Private Interests in the Era of Climate Change details this conflict, its origins, and its political and ideological supporters, from ranchers to billionaires. The Trump administration has been both equivocal and non-vocal on this issue so far — hard to prophesy how this map will look on Earth Week 2018, and beyond.

With Grand Canyon National Park as the foreground example, we can also see the biological threats to the future of public lands: recurring waves of imported invasive species that disrupt ecosystems, a lengthening list of endangered species whose populations steadily diminish and, especially, climate change. These factors are already transforming public lands, including Grand Canyon.

Fortunately, natural scientists and their allies spend whole careers on research and field work to mitigate these losses and plan for a radically different climatic future. Their work, too, is embattled. Many of them will celebrate Earth Day around the U.S. this weekend by taking part in a March for Science. For public lands and for science both, we’ll see what direction the coming year takes…


Stephen Nash is the author of award-winning books on science and the environment, and his reporting has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, BioScience, Archaeology, and The New Republic. He is Visiting Senior Research Scholar at the University of Richmond


Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene Call for Papers: Atmospheric Science

We invite you to submit your next paper to the Atmospheric Science domain of Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, a trans-disciplinary, open-access journal whose mission is Open Science for the Public Good.

Elementa publishes original research with the ultimate objective of accelerating scientific solutions to the challenges presented by this era of human impact. Structured into six distinct knowledge domains, the Atmospheric Science domain is dedicated to research on the impacts of human activities and the natural state of the Earth’s atmosphere. Elementa invites original research manuscripts that investigate chemical and physical atmospheric properties encompassing natural processes, perturbations, and assessment of future conditions. Elementa, in particular, strives to become a home for publications on societal impacts of atmospheric conditions and processes, for policy-relevant research findings, and for work that directs and nurtures the path towards a sustainable Earth Atmosphere. To attain this goal, submissions going beyond traditional disciplinary borders are welcome.

For the full Aims & Scope of the Atmospheric Science domain, please click here.

In addition to innovative features including a value-sharing business model and an article-promotion partnership with Kudos, Elementa articles are highly used and downloaded (see highlighted articles below). For the full Elementa story, visit our website at elementascience.org.

For Elementa news and updates, be sure to follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

There has never been a more important time to ensure that transparent, evidence-based, peer-reviewed research has the widest and most impactful dissemination as possible. Please consider submitting your Atmospheric Science papers to Elementa or developing a Special Feature or Forum, and feel free to get in touch with Detlev Helmig, University of Colorado Boulder, Editor in Chief for Atmospheric Science, should you have any questions.


Special Features and Forums open for submissions

Quantification of urban greenhouse gas emissions: The Indianapolis Flux experiment
Reactive Gases in the Global Atmosphere
Oil and Natural Gas Development: Air Quality, Climate Science, and Policy

High-impact Atmospheric Science content from Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene

(All metrics from April 13, 2017)

Analysis of local-scale background concentrations of methane and other gas-phase species in the Marcellus Shale
Goetz, J. Douglas, et al.
Total usage: 1,101 views/downloads since original publication on February 9, 2017

Global distribution and trends of tropospheric ozone: An observation-based review
Cooper OR, Parrish DD, Ziemke J, Balashov NV, Cupeiro M, et al. 2014.
Total usage: 31,188 views/downloads and 24 citations since original publication on July 10, 2014

Influence of oil and gas emissions on ambient atmospheric non-methane hydrocarbons in residential areas of Northeastern Colorado
Thompson CR, Hueber J, Helmig D. 2014.
Total usage: 24,420 views/downloads and 10 citations since original publication on Nov 14, 2014

Dimethyl sulfide control of the clean summertime Arctic aerosol and cloud
Leaitch WR, Sharma S, Huang L, Toom-Sauntry D, Chivulescu A, et al. 2013.
Total usage: 19,151 views/downloads and 8 citations since original publication on Dec 04, 2013


Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene Call for Papers: Sustainability Transitions

We invite you to submit your next paper to the Sustainability Transitions domain of Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, a trans-disciplinary, open-access journal whose mission is Open Science for the Public Good.

Elementa publishes original research with the ultimate objective of accelerating scientific solutions to the challenges presented by this era of human impact. Structured into six distinct knowledge domains, the Sustainability Transitions domain welcomes contributions that advance knowledge on shifting society-environment interactions to sustainability — to a world in which human beings and other life flourish in diverse social and environmental contexts. A primary purpose of this domain is to bridge boundaries among disciplines, geographies, cultures, and institutions, and between scholars and practitioners; thus, we encourage submissions from scholars in the social and natural sciences and humanities, and practitioners, innovators, and leaders who are forging ahead with strategies to shift towards sustainability.

For the full Aims & Scope of the Sustainability Transitions domain, please click here.

In addition to innovative features including a value-sharing business model and an article-promotion partnership with Kudos, Elementa articles are highly used and downloaded (see highlighted articles below). For the full Elementa story, visit our website at elementascience.org.

For Elementa news and updates, be sure to follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

There has never been a more important time to ensure that transparent, evidence-based, peer-reviewed research has the widest and most impactful dissemination as possible. Please consider submitting your papers to Elementa or developing a Special Feature or Forum, and feel free to get in touch with Anne Kapuscinski, Dartmouth, Editor in Chief for Sustainability Transitions, should you have any questions.


Special Forums currently open for submissions

Multi-stakeholder initiatives for sustainable supply networks
Food-energy-water systems: Opportunities at the Nexus
Cuba’s agrifood system in transition
New Pathways to Sustainability in Agroecological Systems

High-impact Sustainability Transitions content from Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene

(All metrics from March 15, 2017)

Carrying capacity of U.S. agricultural land: Ten diet scenarios
Peters CJ, Picardy J, Darrouzet-Nardi AF, Wilkins JL, Griffin TS, et al. 2016.
Total usage: 73,969 views/downloads since original publication on July 22, 2016

Farmer perceptions of climate change risk and associated on-farm management strategies in Vermont, northeastern United States
Rachel E. Schattman, David Conner, V. Ernesto Méndez
Total usage: 7,373 views/downloads since original publication on Oct 12, 2016

Opportunities for energy-water nexus management in the Middle East & North Africa
Farid AM, Lubega WN, Hickman WW. 2016.
Total usage: 6,043 views/downloads since original publication on Oct 26, 2016


Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene Call for Papers: Ocean Science

We invite you to submit your next paper to the Ocean Science domain of Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, a trans-disciplinary, open-access journal whose mission is Open Science for the Public Good.

Elementa publishes original research with the ultimate objective of accelerating scientific solutions to the challenges presented by this era of human impact. It is structured into six distinct knowledge domains, and gives authors the unique opportunity to publish in one or multiple domains, helping to present their research in its broader, interconnected context.

In addition to innovative features including a value-sharing business model and an article-promotion partnership with Kudos, Elementa articles are highly used and downloaded (see highlighted articles below). For the full Elementa story, visit our website at elementascience.org.

For Elementa news and updates, be sure to follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

There has never been a more important time to ensure that transparent, evidence-based, peer-reviewed research has the widest and most impactful dissemination as possible. Please consider submitting your ocean science papers to Elementa or developing a Special Feature (e.g. ASPIRE), and feel free to get in touch with Jody Deming, University of Washington, Editor in Chief for Ocean Science, should you have any questions.


Special Features open for submissions

Impacts of natural versus anthropogenic oil inputs on the Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem
Advances in ocean acidification research
The sea surface microlayer
Oceans and human health in a changing environment
Marginal ice zone processes in the summertime Arctic
Climate change impacts: Fish, fisheries and fisheries management
Biogeochemical Exchange Processes at Sea-Ice Interfaces (BEPSII)

High-impact Ocean Science content from Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene

(All metrics from March 6, 2017)

Evidence of lasting impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on a deep Gulf of Mexico coral community
Hsing P, Fu B, Larcom EA, Berlet SP, Shank TM, et al. 2013.
Total usage: 27,861 since original publication on Dec 04, 2013

The evolution and future of carbonate precipitation in marine invertebrates: Witnessing extinction or documenting resilience in the Anthropocene?
Drake JL, Mass T, Falkowski PG. 2014.
Total usage: 23,407 since original publication on May 07, 2014

The changing Arctic Ocean
Arrigo KR. 2013.
Total usage: 20,186 since original publication on Dec 04, 2013

Solar energy capture and transformation in the sea
Karl DM. 2014.
Total usage: 20,142 since original publication on Jan 08, 2014


The Intersection of Religion and Environmental Activism

by Amanda J. Baugh, author of God and the Green Divide: Religious Environmentalism in Black and White

On Monday afternoon, the Rev. Canon Sally Bingham spoke in front of the office of Senator Dianne Feinstein as part of #DayAgainstDenial, a nationwide series of events asking senators to block climate change deniers from serving in the Trump cabinet. Leaders of the ecumenical Christian group Creation Justice Ministries and the Coalition on the Environment in Jewish Life, and even evangelical and Catholic pro-life Christian groups have also banded together to oppose the appointment of Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. These groups appeal to their scriptures and faith traditions as they urge legislators to advance a biblical mandate to be good stewards of God’s Creation.

This type of religiously grounded environmental activism has become increasingly prevalent in the last decade, but the motivations inspiring religious communities to act are much more complicated than a simple hunch that God wants us to “go green.”

In God and the Green Divide, I examine religious environmental organizing in Chicago to show how dynamics of race, ethnicity, and class have shaped contemporary “greening of religion” movements. Focusing on the interfaith environmental organization Faith in Place, I analyze differing environmental values and motivations among the organization’s black and white participants. Faith in Place’s leaders suggested that every religion supports concern for the earth so all people of faith must take measures to protect the planet. Yet participants engaged in environmental activism based on a complex set of factors specific to their own communities, including concerns about job opportunities and health, urgencies of displaying positive civic identity, and feelings of guilt that arise from white privilege. Attending to the complex array of factors that shape individuals’ decisions to “go green” can offer a more complete understanding of the intersection of contemporary religious and environmental worlds.


Amanda J. Baugh is Assistant Professor of Religion and Environment at California State University, Northridge.


Earth & Environmental Science and Ecology from Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene

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The AGU Fall Meeting continues. Thank you, again, to all attendees who have visited the UC Press booth 1512, which is featuring Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene for the first time. Today’s featured domains are Earth and Environmental Science, and Ecology.

If you’re interested in seeing how much usage, exposure, and impact your next article could get when submitted for consideration at Elementa, don’t delay and submit at www.elementascience.org. (Or, write with an enquiry to an Editor in Chief, or the publisher, Dan Morgan, at dmorgan@ucpress.edu.)

Thank you for reading!


Earth and Environmental Science

(All metrics from December 8, 2016)

Dating the Anthropocene: Towards an empirical global history of human transformation of the terrestrial biosphere
Ellis EC, Fuller DQ, Kaplan JO, Lutters WG. 2013.
Total views: 29,114 since original publication on Dec 04, 2013

Seasonally varying contributions to urban CO2 in the Chicago, Illinois, USA region: Insights from a high-resolution CO2 concentration and δ13C record
Moore J, Jacobson AD. 2015.
Total views: 17,802 since original publication on Jun 05, 2015

Sources and sinks of carbon in boreal ecosystems of interior Alaska: A review
Douglas TA, Jones MC, Hiemstra CA, Arnold JR. 2014.
Total views: 17,273 Since original publication on Nov 07, 2014

Earthcasting the future Critical Zone
Goddéris Y, Brantley SL. 2013.
Total views: 16,809 since original publication on Dec 04, 2013

Special Features open for submissions and enquiries
Deltas in the Anthropocene

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Ecology

(All metrics from December 8, 2016)

Warming, soil moisture, and loss of snow increase Bromus tectorum’s population growth rate
Compagnoni A, Adler PB. 2014.
Total views: 22,474 since original publication on Jan 08, 2014

Quantifying flooding regime in floodplain forests to guide river restoration
Marks CO, Nislow KH, Magilligan FJ. 2014.
Total views: 20,006 since original publication on Sep 03, 2014

Biotic impoverishment
Naeem S. 2013.
Total views: 18,999 since original publication on Dec 04, 2013

Towards a general theory of biodiversity for the Anthropocene
Cardinale BJ. 2013.
Total views: 16,438 since original publication on Dec 04, 2013

Special Feature
Urban Aquatic Ecosystems: New approaches to understanding urban aquatic ecosystems