When the Colorado River Runs Dry

A Coachella Valley Farmer Reflects on the Water Source He, His Date Palms, and People and Animals Across California Rely On

Even as she was going blind, my mom, ever the poet, delighted in sitting out among the palms and birds, and enjoying and visualizing the scene, as I irrigated my date gardens in the Coachella Valley of California.

In her 1997 poem, “Colorado Water,” she wrote:

The palm said, “My clover is cool around my bole, over my hidden roots.
My fronds clatter, crash
like waves in the far off sea.”

I follow the tradition of thousands of years, of date palm growers diverting the waters of the Nile, the Tigris and Euphrates …

Californians Need a New Political Party That Can Keep Us Afloat | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Californians Need a New Political Party That Can Keep Us Afloat

Forget Democrats and Republicans. Real Change Requires Fresh Ideology

I got one of those calls again—they come every six months or so—from a Silicon Valley hotshot who wants to use his brain and his wealth to fix what ails …

From Bakersfield, You Can See Forever | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

From Bakersfield, You Can See Forever

A Panoramic View From a Kern County Park Shows the Convergence of California's Past, Present, and Future

From the tunnel view of Yosemite Valley to just about any glimpse of the Golden Gate, California is famous for its extraordinary vistas. But if you’re looking for the state’s …

How Crop Circles Saved the Great Plains

In the 1940s, Farmer Frank Zybach Invented Center Pivot Irrigation and Brought the Dust Bowl Back to Life

If you live in the Great Plains, sooner or later you’ll get a question about those “crop circles” that can be observed from airplane windows during flights over the region. …

The Ancient Maya Cosmology of Conservation

In Their Worldview, Humans Were Not Superior to Nature. They Were But One Element Needed to Maintain Universal Balance.

In the middle of the jungle in central Belize excavating an ancient Maya water temple, I’m at the edge of a sacred pool, praying to Chahk, the Maya rain god, …

L.A. Is Drowning in Its Own Water Pretensions

Civic Leaders' Fantastical Claims of Water Self-Sufficiency May Endanger Southern California's Real Water Supplies

This time, “Chinatown” is fooling itself.

Los Angeles has a long history of water deceptions, a point made famously by Roman Polanski’s 1974 neo-noir film. But the massive self-sabotage of the …