Charles Bowden: Thoughts on Aridity, Sustainability, and Place in the American Southwest
In the Summer of 2005, while exploring the West on a 10-day road trip with 25 students, surveying the infrastructures that people devised over time to adapt their cultures to arid lands, and to adapt the arid lands to their cultures, we came upon Charles Bowden. We were fortunate to be welcomed into Charles and Mary Martha's home in Tucson, where Charles laid out some basic truths, thoughts, and provocations on aridity, sustainability and place in the American Southwest.
Following the conversation under the ramada, students devoured his writings on the Sonoran Desert, the Gila River, and the Tohono O'odham people. Killing the Hidden Waters: The Slow Destruction of Water Resources in the American Southwest (UT Press, 1977) was tectonic for anyone who picked it up. His voice, written and spoken, will be sorely missed.