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Discuss: Ghosts of America



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1 Rory Gregory on Jan 09, 2013

Given, the mass amount of evidence, and the amount of personal experience people have, and stories like this, I don’t see how people can deny global warming. There isn’t even a good reason to say that climate change is not happening. But its good to know spirit can still be found. even in the worst situations.

2 Benjamin Vogt on Jan 16, 2013

I live in Nebraska, and we emptied out the Platte—bone dry—this summer to keep half of the corn marginally alive. We had water restrictions even as people kept their unused lawns green. Drought is part of living on the Plains—I would not say “prairie” because it does not exist anymore, and I’m surprised you or anyone else uses that term. Even if droughts are part of the ecosystem, they will sure be stronger and longer. We are well over 10” behind normal precip with only one 3” snowfall this winter. And yet no one cares—no designs with permeable hard surfaces, landscapers don’t used adaptable native plants to the region.

3 Jean on Jan 16, 2013

I am going to get some of Luis Alberto Urrea’s books..Hansen did a study that showed the 2011 drought here in Okla had to be mainly caused by Global Warming..I seem to be the only one in the state who has heard this and I send emails to the Public TV folks to talk about it..Our Climatologist can only say"El Nino” and “Cycles” in cleverly worded statements…Down with barbed wire

4 charo on Jan 16, 2013

I live in the southwestern part of New Mexico, land of open lands, the Gila River, mountains and wilderness surrounded by national forest.
The last two summers have been horric, the heat unbearable, the sun more intense than ever before. The monsoons have passed us by, the last real one was in 2005. We all thought the this would be the year the river dried up.
The terrifying, destroying
wildfires came too close, it was dangerous to breathe the air, so full of smoke and fire retardant. The animals perished in the hundreds, and the forests, plants, insects, birds….......sent to hell’s torch. We have not seen but a inch or two of snow on the mountains, which feeds the river after melting. The loss of fish, beaver, water fowl, I can’t imagine the numbers. The winds have blown away tons of topsoil. Every year it has become hotter, not just a few degrees, but scorching hotter. The great birds of prey hang their heads down, there is little food for them, as there is’nt the plant life to sustain their prey, nor that of the deer, elk, etc. The numbers are down. The last three years, the bee population has decreased due to lack of plants…too dry. But hey, there seems to be water for granted for irrigating the pastures to sustain cows for slaughter.crazy, ain’t it? Sort of like golf courses in the desert.
This country is out of control, selfish, and alarmingly ignorant to the truth of the fragility of sustainable life every life form requires to survive. I just don’t understand, and it saddens me deeply.

5 EJ Kirk on Jan 17, 2013

The desolation expressed in this article was moving and desperate as the parched wheat in Nebraska. The in-your-face evidence The heat of these places as the author drives through the Heartland is brought into the light as if saying: See, global warming? Get it? It targets the one thing that keeps human growth tripping over itself to keep up with the starvation caused by its very own conundrum going: agriculture. The thought that somehow our food “died on the stalk” creates an end-of the-the world type fear. The return to Depression’s Dust Bowl hit hard. The desperate and pitiful search for anything except “cow… prairie…cow” accentuated the drive through the drought. The spirit of the hostess in the middle of the wilting farmland turned the wheel at the last moment, directing us towards that tiny glimmer of hope in the form of a barbed-wire bull. This article struck home.

6 Dan Osterman on Jan 18, 2013

I can attest to the Nebraska spirit. Spoiler- my mom and dad “are from there. Some facts- The painter/teacher Robert Henri started what is known as the “Ashcan School” in New York was born in Cozad, NE on Rt. 80 midstate. He was the son of a gambling man who took his family to NYC to escape a charge of murder.  In Harris up in the panhandle close by the South Dakota border and the protected Ogalla Grasslands is a little preserved faux town made up of village buidings and their contents collected in one spot. Also presided over by a senior. Very educational. See:

7 Sea G Rhydr on Jan 24, 2013

For the past 15 months i have been travelling across the USA on horseback - roughly 15 miles a day - bearing witness, asking questions, learning. In the first 8 1/2 months i only rode through 1 1/2 days of rain. Ranchers are cutting their cattle herds by 1/2 - rivers that ran year round 5-15 year ago (depending on the area) are dry. I’ve ridden through small town after small town where half the homes have been abandoned. The Monsanto cotton farmers continue irrigating, knowing that the crop won’t “make”, they waste the precious water because that’s what it takes to get the insurance company to pay for the failed crop - meanwhile they exist on a steady diet of Fox news and blame all the hard times on Obama and/or “the environmentalists”. These are good people, kind and helpful and generous people, who have taken me and my ponies in night after night, offered us food and shelter, shared their stories and their lives. A strange cultural disconnect - the logic of cause and effect denied - insanity and impending famine - a failure of imagination - a paralysis of fear.  It’s interesting that we claim to live in a Democracy - theoretically of, by and for “we the people” yet NOBODY i have spoken with is happy with the way things are going, Nobody trusts the “government” (not even the military families I’ve stayed with) and the thing I find most sobering is that Nobody i have spoken with has an idea for a way forward that they truly believe is viable, a positive vision that they truly believe could be possible, even IF by some miracle everybody agreed to go along with the plan.  10 months to go - not giving up…

8 Kathryn on Jan 25, 2013

Amazing writing yet again from Luis Alberto Urrea. He writes from the heart—and the mind.  He travels from one end of the country to the other:  and his dispatches from the road are gold to me.

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