The Media Loves Doomsday Stories About the West's Water Crisis

Brad Plummer interviews John Fleck on the politics and empirics of the Western water crisis. Rather than doom and gloom, Fleck argues that when you look behind the headlines you find communities, users, and governments working to solve the problems. Fleck argues:

And the reason is that all across the West, when people are confronted with the fact that there’s not enough water, they’ve been really successful at using less. So rather than the catastrophe I’d been led to expect, what I found instead was people working hard to figure out how to adapt.

Water crises and their variability, Fleck argues, are not natural but rather: 

the difference has a lot to do with the socioeconomics of land use planning and infrastructure in poor communities.

Check out Fleck's new book Water is For Fighting Over: and Other Myths about Water in the West. 

Most Disaster Prone Places in the United States

Below are some great maps with types of crises. It appears simply geographical, but we must also remember the social factors that produce different and unequal experiences before, during, and after socio-natural crisis. The full article has a mouse over feature so you can look up each county of the United States for more fine grain detail.

 Image via Washington Post

Image via Washington Post

Endangered Species Get Boost from U.S. War Games in Germany

 
 An artillery explodes behind a large deer at the US training facility in Grafenwoerh, Germany. Via NBC News.

An artillery explodes behind a large deer at the US training facility in Grafenwoerh, Germany. Via NBC News.

Animals and plants have way more resilience than we give them. No doubt there is some greenwashing here by the military, but this looks like a fascinating case in which animals adapt to extreme circumstances. Just look at the picture above.

The Grafenwoehr installation is now home to more than 3,000 plant and animal species, 800 of which are threatened, endangered or legally protected. These include the rare kingfisher, sea eagles, wildcats, a large beaver population, green woodpeckers and even lynx.
Still, biodiversity overall can benefit from the landscapes created by military training, officials say. Tank tracks or grenade craters from war games, for example, have become new breeding grounds and habitats for some endangered species.