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What Are We Doing Here?
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August 6, 2018

As wildfires and drought return year after year to the West, some communities bear the brunt more than others. In this issue's feature, Contributing Editor Cally Carswell reflects on whether she should stay in a place experiencing climate change as rapidly as Santa Fe, New Mexico, and what it means to make a home there. Assistant Editor Emily Benson looks at another facet of climate change in the Southwest, how it no longer faces a drought but a steady aridification, and how word changes may help change water-use behavior. This issue also explores how rural communities in Montana are dealing with mental health crises, and more.

Feature

In this rapaciously dry year, a quiet question grows louder: What are we doing here?
In this rapaciously dry year, a quiet question grows louder: What are we doing here?
Drought, dread and family in the American Southwest.

Sidebar

When climate change hits home
When climate change hits home
Northern New Mexicans weigh their future in a drying climate.

Current

In the Southwest, ‘drought’ doesn’t tell the whole story
In the Southwest, ‘drought’ doesn’t tell the whole story
Why ‘aridification’ is a better term for our new, more parched reality.
Climate change is making it harder to revive damaged land
Climate change is making it harder to revive damaged land
Instead of restoring the past, ecologists are increasingly focused on the future.
Neighbors on call to help care for one another
Neighbors on call to help care for one another
Community health programs are thriving in Haiti, Montana and the Navajo Nation.
Montana is losing essential mental health services
Montana is losing essential mental health services
As the state’s mental health system faces an uncertain future, experts encourage crisis prevention.
Pawnee comic Howie Echo-Hawk wants to see you squirm
Pawnee comic Howie Echo-Hawk wants to see you squirm
Echo-Hawk’s ‘punishment comedy’ draws on his experiences as an Indigenous man living in Seattle.
Montanans sightsee at a political circus
Montanans sightsee at a political circus
President Donald Trump’s spectacle draws a crowd, for now.

Editor's Note

The desert in our dreams of empire
The desert in our dreams of empire
Flood and drought have shaped the West, and humans are often unprepared.

Essays

After the mountain yellow-legged frog disappeared
After the mountain yellow-legged frog disappeared
A wildlife biologist returns to a childhood stomping ground, devoid of its once-plentiful amphibians.

Book Reviews

The golden age of rock climbing
The golden age of rock climbing
Black and white photos capture the people behind the humble beginnings of the sport.
The Second Coming of Christ in southern Idaho
The Second Coming of Christ in southern Idaho
A new memoir reflects on an isolated, religious upbringing in a survivalist Mormon family.

Heard Around the West

Fleeing wolves; coal and water; California crash
Fleeing wolves; coal and water; California crash
Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

Dear Friends

Welcome to our new intern
Welcome to our new intern
The annual Cherry Days Festival brought hot temperatures and more visitors.

Letters

High Country News Classifieds
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    The National Parks Conservation Association, the nations leading national park advocacy organization, seeks a Regional Director to lead and manage staff for the Southwest Regional...
  • DIRECTOR OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
    This newly created position with The Nature Conservancy's Colorado River Program will play a key role in the development and implementation of strategies to achieve...
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    The Foundation NoVo Foundation acts from the original meaning of philanthropy: the love of humanity. The Foundation is dedicated to catalyzing a global social transformation...
  • ARMY OF THE DOG
    A new generation of monkey wrenchers hits the Front Range?
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    The Tanner Humanities Center and the Environmental Humanities Program of the University of Utah seek an environmental writer to offer classes in Utahs Environmental Humanities...
  • ALASKA STATE DIRECTOR
    The Wilderness Society works to protect Wildlands and inspire Americans to care for our public lands. We seek to hire a strategic, experienced leader who...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Idaho Conservation League (ICL) seeks an individual to lead this 45-year-old organization as executive director, to carry on ICLs work as Idahos leading voice...
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    National conservation organization seeks a regular, full-time California Program Associate-Tahoe Area. Position works closely with California-based program staff and National Forest Foundation staff to provide...
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    National conservation organization seeks a regular, full-time California Program Manager-Tahoe Area. Position works closely with California-based program staff and National Forest Foundation staff to provide...
  • CALIFORNIA PROGRAM ASSOCIATE, SOUTHERN CA
    National conservation organization seeks a regular, full-time California Program Associate-Southern CA. Position works closely with California-based program staff and National Forest Foundation staff to provide...
  • THE BOOK OF BARLEY -
    Collector's Item! The story of barley, the field crop. 50 years of non-fiction research. www.barleybook.com
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    Are you a climber and a writer who is passionate about mountain literature? Do you love searching through old alpine journals for stories of esoteric...
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  • RIVER TRIP LEADER & EDUCATOR
    Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) is a growing nonprofit organization fostering community stewardship of our National Conservation Lands with a focus on Dominguez-Escalante, Gunnison Gorge and...