It is not often that two western historians evoke Erico Fermi in framing the environmental challenges facing the region. Over the last two weeks, the University of Utah’s Wallace Stegner Center hosted western historians Sara Dant and Leisl Carr Childers in separate book talks in the S.J. Quinney College of Law. Both Dant and Carr Childers recommended provocative new ways of thinking about the West.
In speaking about her recent book Losing Eden: An Environmental History of the American West, Dant argued that in the face of environmental calamity caused by global climate change the concept of the West as an Eden is an illusion, and that we need to face the region as it is rather than how we wish it to be.
Pointing to the controversy surrounding Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, Carr Childers discussed the central argument of her book The Size of the Risk: Histories of Multiple Use in the Great Basin that we ignore those on the losing end of multiple use management at our peril.
Check out both talks from the Center’s YouTube channel below.