2021 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award Winner for Nature/Environment
At the Precipice explores the question many of us have asked ourselves: What kind of world are we leaving to our children? The realities of climate change consume the media and keep us up at night worrying about the future. But in New Mexico and the larger Southwest, climate change has been silently wreaking havoc: average temperatures in the Upper Rio Grande Basin are increasing at double the global average, super fires like Las Conchas have devastated mountains, and sections of the Rio Grande are drying up.
Laura Paskus has tracked the issues of climate change at both the state and federal levels. She shares the frightening truth, both in terms of what is happening in nature and what is not happening to counteract the mounting crisis. She writes, "I wonder about the coming world. Which trees will grow, which birds will have survived. . . . The door to that new world has opened. And there's no going back." And yet our future is not yet determined--or is it?
Laura Paskus is an environmental journalist and a correspondent whose work has been widely published. She is the producer of New Mexico In Focus's series "Our Land: New Mexico's Environmental Past, Present, and Future."
"For two decades she [Laura Paskus] has been sounding the alarm about the devastating effects that our massive input of carbon into the atmosphere will have on the Land of Enchantment."--Weekly Alibi
"An extraordinary, informative, and clarion call to action."--Midwest Book Review
"[Laura Paskus] has become one of the Southwest's foremost chroniclers of climate change and ecological collapse."--Nick Bowlin, High Country News
"Environmental journalist and correspondent Laura Paskus, who tracks climate change at both state and federal levels, lucidly presents a disconcerting reality. . . . Her eye-opening book is also a call to action and stewardship to help save our precious, imperiled land and to provide a better world for future generations."--Brian Nelson, Santa Fean
"Carrying readers into conversations with experts in hydrology, forestry, and agriculture, [Laura Paskus] translates scientific concepts into easily understood realities. . . . Throughout, she leavens the dire outlook with lyrical descriptions of the land she loves best."--Kate Nelson, New Mexico Magazine
"With investigative journalistic precision and rhetorical verve, Laura Paskus's debut . . . traverses with clarity the past decade of environmental stewardship--or, more accurately, the lack thereof--in the Southwest."--Andrew Gun, Daily Lobo
"As Laura Paskus makes clear, the stakes of climate change in the American Southwest couldn't be higher. Deeply reported and vividly written, At the Precipice is an important contribution to the literature of our reckless age."--Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
"Paskus illuminates the devasting impacts of climate change on New Mexico. These lessons are important for all decision-makers in the American Southwest."--Bradley Udall, senior water and climate research scientist at the Colorado Water Institute
"Climate change is global, but it is also surely local. Paskus shares the science and her love for imperiled New Mexico in a way that brings this story to our own doorsteps."--John Fleck, coauthor of Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River
List of Illustrations
Chapter One. The New Normal
Chapter Two. The Old Normal, or Politics as Usual
Chapter Three. What We Leave Behind
Chapter Four. Mourning a Mountain
Chapter Five. Climate of Faith
Chapter Six. No Way Back
Chapter Seven. Red Flag Winter
Chapter Eight. Running Dry
Chapter Nine. "Hot Drought" and Dry Rivers
Chapter Ten. "It's Not Doomsville Yet"