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Standing between Life and ExtinctionEthics and Ecology of Conserving Aquatic Species in North American Deserts$
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David Propst, Jack Williams, Kevin Bestgen, and Christopher Hoagstrom

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780226694337

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226694504.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 July 2021

Politics, Imagination, Ideology, and the Realms of Our Possible Futures

Politics, Imagination, Ideology, and the Realms of Our Possible Futures

(p.391) 25 Politics, Imagination, Ideology, and the Realms of Our Possible Futures
Standing between Life and Extinction

Christopher Norment

University of Chicago Press

The future of southwestern aquatic habitats and their native species is uncertain, due to possible impacts of climate-induced drought, population growth, and over-utilization of scarce water resources, but also to politically and ideologically motivated attacks on the Endangered Species Act, and federal land management and regulatory authority. However, a potentially more profound danger is the development of a “post-truth” culture that accepts the notion of “alternative facts” and distrusts science. Such attitudes will make it difficult to develop effective approaches to counter likely, future droughts in the American Southwest, and consequent threats to regional aquatic biodiversity. Crafting a sustainable future for the Southwest and its native species and ecosystems will require a robust scientific understanding of the region’s natural variability and system complexity, advances in public policy and management, and evaluating the role that wealth plays in affecting decisions about allocating and managing natural resources. However, it also will require effective political action, and that a critical mass of people transcend blinding ideology, convention, and human short-sightedness. Finally, progress demands that we imagine the realms of our possible futures, and consider the historical context of past, present, and future efforts to protect regional aquatic biodiversity in the American Southwest.

Keywords:   Endangered Species Act, aquatic biodiversity, American Southwest, ideology, post-truth, alternative facts, drought, political action

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