The American West at Risk: Science, Myths and Politics of Land Abuse and Recovery
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A newly vulnerable landscape peeled up from its moorings and blew away before the eyes of a horrified nation.
- Kirk Johnson, Dust Bowl Haunts Wheat Farmers, August 2010

Fertilizer is good for the father and bad for the sons.
- Dutch saying

[The phosphorous issue] only matters if you want your grandchildren to have bones.
- James Elser

You can't have healthcare reform in this country without changing the food system.
- Robert Kenner, director of Food, Inc.

One of the reasons we need to nurture several different ways of feeding ourselves - local, organic, pasture-based meats, and so on - is that we don't know what we're going to need and we don't know what is going to work. To the extent that we diversify the food economy, we will be that much more resilient.
- Michael Pollan, June 2009

They're making more people every day but they ain't makin' any more dirt.
- Will Rogers

We stand, in most places on earth, only six inches from desolation, for that is the thickness of the topsoil layer upon which the entire life of the planet depends
- R. Neil Sampson, Farmland or Wasteland: A Time to Choose

"Peak phosphorus", say scientists, could hit the world in just 30 years. Crop-based biofuels, whose production methods and usage suck phosphorus out of the agricultural system in unprecedented volumes, have, researchers in Brazil say, made the problem many times worse.
- Leo Lewis, The Times [UK], June 23, 2008

If you eat industrially, you are made of corn. It holds together your McNuggets, it sweetens your soda pop, it fattens your meat, it is everywhere. It is fed to us in many forms, because it is cheap - a dollar buys you 875 calories in soda pop but only 170 in fruit juice. A McDonalds meal was analyzed as almost entirely corn.
- Michael Pollan

Despite more than a decade of hype and failed promises, the biotechnology industry has not introduced a single GM crop with increased yield, enhanced nutrition, drought-tolerance or salt-tolerance. Disease-tolerant GM crops are practically non-existent. In fact, biotech companies have made a commercial success of GM crops with just two traits - herbicide tolerance and insect resistance - which offer no advantages to consumers or the environment.
- Center for Food Safety, February 2008

A sustainable agriculture is one which depletes neither the people nor the land.
- Wendell Barry

If we could see what lies on the far side of the increasingly high walls of our industrial agriculture, we would surely change the way we eat.
- Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma, 2006 p. 11

I've identified an insidious pattern in U.S. food culture: Take a perfectly wonderful foodstuff, industrialize its production and strip it of most nutrients, sell it in titanic quantities, create a health scare - and then demonize it. It's the process through which what's good for you becomes bad.
- Tom Philpott, Grist, May 2007

Residents or users of property located near an agricultural operation on agricultural land may at times be subject to inconvenience or discomfort arising from that operation, including, without limitation, noise, odors, fumes, dust, smoke, insects, operation of machinery during any time of day or night, storage and disposal of manure, and ground or aerial application of fertilizers, soil amendments, seeds, and pesticides.

The County of Sonoma has determined...that inconvenience or discomfort arising from a properly conducted agricultural operation on agricultural land will not be considered a nuisance for purposes of the Sonoma County Code or Country regulations, and that residents or users of nearby property should be prepared to accept such inconvenience or discomfort as a normal and necessary aspect of living in a county with a strong rural character and an active agricultural sector.

- Sonoma County Right to Farm Ordinance (Sonoma County Code, Chapter 30, Article II) Sonoma County, California

It's so important to educate people to think long-term, because it's very difficult to change asphalt back into farmland.
- Bob Uphoff, American Farmland, Spring 1999

I want to find the person who gave soil a dirty name.
- Michael Topolos, public address, August 2001

Western Europe consumes nutrients from nearly 5 times its agricultural area.
- L. Woodward, Inside Voice, Clean Slate, 42, Autumn, 2001, p. 9

Farming is an attempt to tip the ecological balance in favor of humans. But we are part of the ecosystem - if we tip it too far or too fast, we will destroy it. And in so doing, we will destroy ourselves.
- John Ikerd, public address on Sustainable Agriculture, August 2001

The technical means that have industrialized agriculture, making it (by very limited standards) more efficient and productive and easy, have also made it more toxic, more violent, and more vulnerable - have made it, in fact, far less dependable if not less predictable than it used to be.
- Wendell Berry, Life Is a Miracle, p. 11

Beating our swords into plowshares surely embodies the triumph of good over evil. Someone who creates something new is said to have "plowed new ground." Yet the plowshare may well have destroyed more options for future generations than the sword.
- Wes Jackson, "New Roots for Agriculture", Friends of the Earth, 1980

Of all the countries in the world, we Americans have been the greatest destroyers of land of any race of people barbaric or civilized.
- Hugh Bennett, of the Dust Bowl, 1932, quoted by Timothy Egan, The Worst Hard Time, p. 125

Today, we are dealing with the same small food possibilities, confined to a menu designed in the Stone Age.
- Elaine Solowey, quoted by Yigal Deutscher, The New Farm, October 2006

Even organic food is on the path of industrialization - including strawberries from China and blueberries from Canada. We are in the age of organic factory farming.
- Michael Pollan, 17th Annual Bioneers Conference in San Rafael, California, Oct. 20-23, 2006

[Industrial agriculture] wastes soil, water, energy and life. It is highly centralized, genetically impoverished and dependent on cheap fossil fuels, on long-distance hauling and on consumers' ignorance. Its characteristic byproducts are erosion, pollution and financial despair. This is an agriculture with a short future.
- Wendell Berry 2006

It is getting harder and harder for American farmers to say they feed the world. Instead, they feed S.U.V.'s.
- Ken Cook, President Environmental Working Group, September 2006


The American West at Risk: Science, Myths and Politics of Land Abuse and Recovery

The American West At Risk summarizes the dominant human-generated environmental challenges in the 11 contiguous arid western United States - America's legendary, even mythical, frontier.

It now faces depletion of many of these resources, and potentially serious threats to its few "renewable" resources.

Purchase Here at Oxford Press



Dr. Howard G. Wilshire, Geologist; Dr. Jane E. Nielson, Geologist; Richard W. Hazlett, Geologist

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