Climate change is accelerating and the world is nearing a point where catastrophic change will become all but inevitable. The American Southwest, with its fragile ecosystems and drought vulnerability, stands to face some of the worst impacts as models predict a hotter, dryer climate. Last year a record number of wildfires tore through the region and ever-scarcer water supplies are a harbinger of future shortages. In the meantime the Southwest continues to lead the nation in population growth, increasing demand for energy and resources.
However, the bright sun, strong wind and other plentiful resources across the Southwest make it a hub for energy exploration, and experiments are underway from the coast of California to the plains of West Texas. Whether vast solar parks, expansive wind farms, massive natural gas basins, rare earth deposits, geothermal reservoirs or offshore oil and gas wells – the Southwest has it all.
This summer I’m traversing the Southwest writing about energy, the environment and climate change. I’ll compile a regional report through firsthand accounts and onsite reporting in an attempt to demonstrate the complexity and interconnectedness of the issues at hand.
I grew up in Santa Fe, NM and consider the entire Southwest to be home. To those living in the area the threat of climate change is more than a latent reminder that things are warming, but rather is evidenced in the changes already underway. Action needs to be taken now and I hope that through my reporting I can call attention the some of the most pressing issues in the region.
Photo courtesy of Oscar Ricardo Silva