Once again, I want to share some of my recent reading matter.
Cover story photos: a man stands on his roof and stares at a raging forest fire in California; a family is ferried by boat from their flooded home in South Carolina; a woman contemplates her collapsed and shattered home following a tornado in Mississippi; icicles hang from a streetlight over a slush-covered roadway in Texas.
Cover story headline: CLIMATE CHANGE AND YOU.
—OK, Bill, what radical environmental rag are you reading this week?
Friends, it’s the AARP Bulletin.
Yep, AARP, as in American Association of Retired Persons. What old people—like me—read, even if some of us are…not retired.
My takeaway: The Climate Crisis is truly sinking in. And AARP recognizes that its 38 million members need to consider its potential effects. As do we all.
At Archaeology Southwest, John Welch, who heads our Landscape and Site Preservation Program, is closely considering the impacts of climate change on the portfolio of places we protect for the future. (John is also a coauthor on an article highlighted below that considers climate change challenges for Indigenous communities.)
The Southwest has been in an ongoing drought for most of the past two decades. Things are very different from when I moved here (1971), started a business (1982), and helped raise our daughter. After a summer afternoon‘s monsoon, the choir of toads was loud and joyous.
Today, soils and vegetation are bone dry. Plants die and exposed soils blow away. Then, the rain comes in torrents and carries away more soil. The long-term projections for the Southwest are for more heat, more drought, and more extreme weather events, including wildfires.
So, protecting archaeological sites from development is an important first step. But climate change makes long-term protection an ever-increasing challenge.
It’s a climate crisis because it is already exhibiting severe and widespread impacts. It’s relevant to what every one of us does every day—in our work, our travel, our recreation, our food choices, and the government policy initiatives we support.
We have a lot to do, and very little time to do it.
Are you with me?
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
P.S. We really need your help if you want us to get the word out. Remember—it’s your word! And we really do want to share it. So, please submit news, events, video and podcast links, publication announcements, and other resources to this link for consideration. It makes it so much easier for us to bring you this news digest every week. Questions?
Banner image: Ruijie Yao, from the headquarters of the Preservation Archaeology Field School
Haaland Report Recommends Monument Restorations
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has recommended in a confidential report that President Biden restore full protections to three national monuments diminished by President Donald Trump, including Utah’s Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante and a huge marine reserve off New England. The move, described by two people who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it was not yet public, would preserve about 5 million acres of federal land and water. Juliet Eilperin and Joshua Partlow in the Washington Post | Read More >>
From the Salt Lake Tribune >>
From the New York Times >>
Commentary: “I changed my mind about Bears Ears”
I’m not going to try to feign objectivity in this regard. I want to see those boundaries restored and then some. But I haven’t always felt that way. And I’m sure that there are many others who are really nervous right now, people who care deeply about the landscapes that would be protected, but who worry that an expansion of the Trump-shrunken boundaries will rob the land of something and lure even more people and their attendant impacts. … But in the case of Bears Ears, especially, the benefits of a national monument outweigh the potential pitfalls. Jonathan P. Thompson at The Land Desk | Read More >>
Legal Battle Isn’t Over
Exactly how Biden will unwind those reductions — Trump shrank Bears Ears from 1.35 million acres to about 202,000 acres and reduced the Grand Staircase-Escalante to about half of its former 1.9-million-acre footprint — is an open question, and one that could affect the sites for years to come. “There’s likely to be litigation regardless of what happens,” asserted University of Colorado Law School professor Mark Squillace, who specializes in natural resources law. In particular, Squillace pointed to lingering arguments over whether Trump exceeded his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 when he shrank the sites. Jennifer Yachnin for E&E News | Read More >>
Restoration Will Also Mean Dusting off Land-Exchange Plans
Native American tribes and environmental organizations are waiting for a positive announcement, but when it happens, that’s only the beginning. Another goal will be trading out thousands of acres of Utah state lands to make Bears Ears whole. … Imagine looking for land with a grocery cart full of blue squares. That’s the analogy attorney Michael Johnson gave me on behalf of Utah’s State Institutional Trust Lands (SITLA). He may soon work with other staff members to explore an exchange of 120,000 acres of state trust lands within the boundaries of President Barack Obama’s designation of Bears Ears National Monument in 2016. Andrew Gulliford in The Journal | Read More >>
Call to Action: Protect the Future of National Conservation Lands
Congress has an opportunity to increase funding for the Bureau of Land Management to properly manage America’s system of National Conservation Lands, which represent our nation’s natural, cultural, and outdoor heritage. We’ve been working with the U.S. House of Representatives in the effort, and now it’s time to engage our Senators. The budget process will be long and the next step is to send an email to your U.S. Senator(s) asking them to sign the Senate letter supporting funding increases for the National Conservation Lands by Monday, June 21! Conservation Lands Foundation | Take Action Now >>
Friends of Cedar Mesa Welcomes Joe Neuhof
Following an extensive search, the Friends of Cedar Mesa Board of Directors is pleased to announce the selection of Joe Neuhof as FCM’s next executive director. Joe will begin his tenure with FCM on July 12, 2021. Joe is a proven leader with more than 20 years of experience in conservation nonprofit work, much of it dedicated to the Colorado Plateau. He has served as an innovator heading various organizations, including as the founding executive director of Colorado Canyons Association – one of the most successful groups in the Friends Grassroots Network and a nationally recognized partner to the Bureau of Land Management. Friends of Cedar Mesa | Learn More >>
El Paso Museum of Archaeology Set to Reopen
The El Paso Museum of Archaeology will reopen June 24, city officials announced Wednesday. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the museum to close in March 2020, but under the advisement of the Department of Public Health and the Office of Emergency Management, El Pasoans will once again be able to learn about the indigenous history along the Rio Grande Valley. Anthony Jackson in the El Paso Times | Read More >>
Take the Stop Archaeological Vandalism Pledge
The Utah State Historic Preservation Office wants to help you Stop Archaeological Vandalism where you live and play. They have designed a 6-week email course to teach you about Utah’s archaeology and what you can do to protect it. Utah State Historic Preservation Office | Learn More >>
Dispatches from the Preservation Archaeology Field School
Beatriz Barraclough-Tan, Field School in the Time of COVID >>
Taylor Cole, A Nonrenewable Resource >>
Gabby Pfleger, The Ins and Outs of Survey >>
Ray Mills, Diversity Across the Landscape >>
Megan Eigen, Renewal >>
Publication Announcement: Supporting Indigenous Adaptation in a Changing Climate
Gauer, VH, Schaepe, DM, Welch, JR. 2021. Supporting Indigenous adaptation in a changing climate: Insights from the Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre (British Columbia) and the Fort Apache Heritage Foundation (Arizona). Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene 9(1). Read Now (open access) >>
Publication Announcement: Ancient Pueblitos of the Sandia Foothills
Ancient Pueblitos of the Sandia Foothills, by Hayward Franklin. Maxwell Museum Technical Series No. 36, 2021. Download Now (open access) >>
Just for Fun: National Parks Quiz and Trivia
June marks not only the beginning of summer, but is also notable for Father’s Day and Flag Day, in addition to being the month in which Big Bend, Great Smoky Mountains, Biscayne, Mesa Verde, and Olympic national parks were established. Whew! June is a busy month! Test your knowledge about these national park notables before looking at the answers at the bottom of the page. Rebecca Latson at National Parks Traveler | Take the Quiz >>
REMINDER: June 17 Webinar: Chacoan Successors
Dr. Erina Gruner shares recent research into the exchange of Chacoan religious objects (prayer sticks, altar pieces, and ritual costume) within the pan-southwestern networks that exchanged exotic materials such as shell, parrots, and precious stone. She discusses how the migration of Chacoan religious specialists into allied peripheral centers during the late Chacoan period shifted the balance of power in the southwest, allowing the rise of rival polities: Aztec in the Middle San Juan region, and Wupatki Pueblo in the Flagstaff area. Please note that this event will only be available during the livestream, so it will not be posted to YouTube for later viewing. Hisatsinom Chapter of the Colorado Archaeological Society and Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
June 19 Event: How to Survive Summer in Territorial Tucson
How did anyone live without air conditioning, or even swamp coolers, when this truly was the Old Pueblo? Local historian Ken Scoville will explore the strategies to endure and evade the heat with ollas, adobe architecture, and nights sleeping under the stars. Thanks to George Hand and his famous Saloon Diary, there is firsthand (pun intended) commentary about this distinct way of life during summer in the desert. Attendees may listen live on the outdoor Territorial Patio or listen via Zoom. Ice cream will be served to in-person attendees to keep you cool! $10 cover charge; registration required for in-person or Zoom. Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum | Learn More >>
REMINDER: June 21 Webinar: Cotton Weaving in Mesoamerica and the Northern US Southwest
With Ben Bellorado and Chuck LaRue. During the Cedar Mesa Perishables Project and Cedar Mesa Building Murals Project, we analyzed perishable collections of weaving tools and loom parts from ancient pueblos and cliff-dwellings in the greater Cedar Mesa area. Our data show that the cotton textile industry burgeoned across northeastern Arizona and southeastern Utah between A.D. 1150 and 1300. In March of 2019, we took part in the first Traditional Technologies seminar in Oaxaca, Mexico. This program was sponsored by the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society and brought Pueblo weavers, archaeologists, anthropologists, and a biologist to communities of indigenous backstrap-loom weavers throughout rural Oaxaca. Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
June 24 Webinar: Do You Want to Write for SAPIENS?
Editor-in-chief Chip Colwell will explain the ins-and-outs of writing for the magazine and its peer publications. Learn who is behind the SAPIENS editorial team, how to propose and craft an article, and why writing for the public matters. Whether you’re an anthropologist who has successfully published popular pieces or a graduate student looking to publish for the first time, this webinar will provide you some key tools. SAPIENS | More Information and Zoom Registration >>