Water and the California Dream by David CarleImported water has transformed the Golden State’s environment and quality of life. Land ownership patterns and real estate boosterism dramatically altered both urban and rural communities across the entire state. The key has been redirecting water from the Eastern Sierra, the Colorado River, and Northern California rivers. "Whoever brings the water, brings the people,” wrote engineer William Mullholland, whose leadership began the process of water irrigating unlimited growth. Using first-person voices of Californians to reveal the resulting changes, Carle concludes that now is the time to stop drowning the California Dream. With extensive use of oral histories, contemporary newspaper articles and autobiographies, Carle provides a rich exploration of the historic changes in California, as imported water shaped patterns of growth and development. In this thoroughly revised edition, Carle brings that history up to date, as water choices remain the primary tool for shaping California’s future. In a land where climate change is exacerbating the challenges of a naturally dry region, the state’s damaged environment and reduced quality of life can be corrected, Carle argues, if Californians step out of the historic pattern and embrace limited water supplies as a fact of life.
Mining California by Andrew C. IsenbergAn environmental History of California during the Gold Rush Between 1849 and 1874 almost $1 billion in gold was mined in California. With little available capital or labor, here's how: high-pressure water cannons washed hillsides into sluices that used mercury to trap gold but let the soil wash away; eventually more than three times the amount of earth moved to make way for the Panama Canal entered California's rivers, leaving behind twenty tons of mercury every mile--rivers overflowed their banks and valleys were flooded, the land poisoned. In therush to wealth, the same chain of foreseeable consequences reduced California's forests and grasslands. Not since William Cronon's Nature's Metropolis has a historian so skillfully applied John Muir's insight--"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe"--to the telling of the history of the American West. Beautifully told, this is western environmental history at its finest.
Surf, Sand, and Stone by Keith Heyer MeldahlSouthern California is sandwiched between two tectonic plates with an ever-shifting boundary. Over the last several million years, movements of these plates have dramatically reshuffled the Earth's crust to create rugged landscapes and seascapes riven with active faults. Movement along these faults triggers earthquakes and tsunamis, pushes up mountains, and lifts sections of coastline. Over geologic time, beaches come and go, coastal bluffs retreat, and the sea rises and falls. Nothing about Southern California's coast is stable. Surf, Sand, and Stone tells the scientific story of the Southern California coast: its mountains, islands, beaches, bluffs, surfing waves, earthquakes, and related phenomena. It takes readers from San Diego to Santa Barbara, revealing the evidence for how the coast's features came to be and how they are continually changing. With a compelling narrative and clear illustrations, Surf, Sand, and Stone outlines how the coast will be altered in the future and how we can best prepare for it.