This audiobook narrated by John Chancer recounts an intimate reckoning with aquifer depletion in America's heartland.
The Ogallala aquifer has nourished life on the American Great Plains for millennia. But less than a century of unsustainable irrigation farming has taxed much of the aquifer beyond repair. The imminent depletion of the Ogallala and other aquifers around the world is a defining planetary crisis of our times. Running Out offers a uniquely personal account of aquifer depletion and the deeper layers through which it gains meaning and force.
Anthropologist Lucas Bessire journeyed back to Western Kansas, where five generations of his family lived as irrigation farmers and ranchers, to try to make sense of this vital resource and its loss. His search for water across the drying High Plains brings the listener face-to-face with the stark realities of industrial agriculture, eroding democratic norms, and surreal interpretations of a looming disaster. Yet the destination is far from predictable, as the book seeks to move beyond the words and genres through which destruction is often known. Instead, this journey into the morass of eradication offers a series of unexpected discoveries about what it means to inherit the troubled legacies of the past and how we can take responsibility for a more inclusive, sustainable future.
An urgent and unsettling meditation on environmental change, Running Out is a revelatory account of family, complicity, loss, and what it means to find your way back home.
"A marvelous achievement. Weaving a thread of human decency through a blanket of unrecoverable loss, Bessire delivers a damning message about our great incapacity to respond to an imminent crisis and our misplaced faith in an agricultural economic treadmill." (Loka Ashwood, author of For-Profit Democracy: Why the Government Is Losing the Trust of Rural America)
"Powerful. Bessire tells a tragic and infuriating story of massive, earth-shattering loss juxtaposed with the cultivated world and the human search for meaning and purpose." (Kathleen Stewart, author of A Space on the Side of the Road: Cultural Poetics in an "Other" America)