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How We Survive

Minnesota Public Radio

The Colorado River feeds us and powers our lives, irrigating millions of acres of farmland and generating billions of kilowatt-hours in hydroelectric power. Forty million people get drinking water from the Colorado River. Cities from Denver to Los Angeles couldn’t exist without it. It supports 30 Tribal Nations. But we’re using more water than the river has to give. The Colorado River has already lost trillions of gallons to rising temperatures over the last two decades. Meanwhile, rampant growth and water-intensive farming have depleted groundwater supplies. This means Western states must fundamentally rethink how water is divided up and used. In the latest season of “How We Survive,” we unpack the water crisis in the American West and investigate the solutions that could help us survive.

Location:

United States

Description:

The Colorado River feeds us and powers our lives, irrigating millions of acres of farmland and generating billions of kilowatt-hours in hydroelectric power. Forty million people get drinking water from the Colorado River. Cities from Denver to Los Angeles couldn’t exist without it. It supports 30 Tribal Nations. But we’re using more water than the river has to give. The Colorado River has already lost trillions of gallons to rising temperatures over the last two decades. Meanwhile, rampant growth and water-intensive farming have depleted groundwater supplies. This means Western states must fundamentally rethink how water is divided up and used. In the latest season of “How We Survive,” we unpack the water crisis in the American West and investigate the solutions that could help us survive.

Language:

English


Episodes

Introducing: Ripple (bonus episode)

1/25/2024
We have a special episode for you today. We’re sharing an episode of the new podcast from APM Studios and Western Sound called “Ripple.” The largest oil spill in American history captivated the public’s attention for the entire summer of 2010. Authorities told a story of a herculean response effort that made shorelines safe and avoided a worst case scenario. Was that really the whole picture? “Ripple” is a new series investigating the stories we were told were over. In Season One, the reporting team traveled hundreds of miles across the Gulf Coast to learn the ongoing effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill — which are still impacting many coastal residents more than a decade later. Here is episode 1! And if you’d like to hear more episodes, you can find “Ripple” wherever you get your podcasts.

Duration:00:56:08

Is composting really doing anything? (Bonus episode from “The Anti-Dread Climate Podcast”)

1/10/2024
Participate in the cycle of life and sequester some carbon while you’re at it — even if you don’t have a city-provided green bin! Caleigh Wells and Candice Dickens-Russell geek out about their own composting methods, and discuss what they’ve learned from an urban farm owner.

Duration:00:11:14

A thanks and a note from Amy

12/13/2023

Duration:00:01:22

Rights of Rivers

12/6/2023
The Colorado River has been carved up and relentlessly fought over for decades. But has anyone ever asked what the river wants? Until recently, that answer was ‘no.’ There’s a growing movement, rooted in Indigenous values, to give nature — rivers, fish, crops and trees — the same rights as people (and corporations). It’s known as Rights of Nature. In our last episode of the season we travel to the other side of the world, visit a mountain town making history and learn from salmon in the Pacific Northwest, as we figure out if personhood is feasible for the Colorado River and what that would mean for the river and those who depend on it.

Duration:00:32:05

Water, water, everywhere

11/29/2023
As water supplies in the west dry up, finding solutions is critical. The good news is that water is all around us, if you know where to look and how to treat it. In this episode, we’re going on a road trip to check out the fascinating technology producing water from the sewer, the ocean and even out of the sky! Plus, Amy tastes the next generation of water and shares her favorite.

Duration:00:25:18

Betting on Conservation

11/22/2023
Las Vegas is a fantastical Disneyland for adults in the middle of the desert. It features fabulous displays of water — like the thousand dancing fountains of the Bellagio Hotel or the winding canals that recreate Venice at the Venetian Hotel. But surprisingly, it’s a city that has also become known for water conservation and innovation. In this episode, we sit down with Pat Mulroy, who was the top water manager in Southern Nevada for 25 years and led conservation efforts in the desert city. We talk with her about the existential crisis that Las Vegas and other desert cities face, how Southern Nevada has been able to cut its Colorado River water use by 31% in the past two decades, and what that means for the trade-offs that we all may have to consider to keep living where we want to live.

Duration:00:28:37

The Price of Paradise

11/15/2023
When Leigh Harris and her husband, Franck Avril, moved into their dream home, Leigh said she felt like the luckiest person in the world. The home is in Rio Verde Foothills, Arizona, outside Scottsdale, in unincorporated Maricopa County. It’s a large stucco house, with high ceilings, a fireplace and 35 windows to take in the mountain views. There was just one downside. Their home was built on a dry lot, which meant water was hauled in by trucks from Scottsdale. And amid a worsening drought, Scottsdale had to cut them off. This episode, we follow Leigh and Franck as they scramble to find an affordable water supply and make the most of every last drop.

Duration:00:34:23

Groundwater Wars

11/8/2023
Kingman, Arizona, a small farming town in the desert, is a cautionary tale in the West’s water crisis. About a decade ago, large corporate farms started moving into the desert of Mohave County, growing thirsty crops like alfalfa and nuts. At the time, there were practically no rules restricting groundwater pumping, and local officials worried the farms would run the town dry. So local leaders did something that hadn’t been done in 40 years. They asked the state to step in and pass strict rules on groundwater pumping. This episode, we travel to Kingman to look at a complicated solution that has splintered a community, pitting neighbors against each other and farmers and ranchers against elected officials.

Duration:00:33:38

Rewriting the Rules

11/1/2023
The city of Albuquerque exists in part because of the Azotea Tunnel, a massive infrastructure project that effectively rerouted part of the Colorado River into the Rio Grande. The project helped sustain Albuquerque’s rapid population growth. Meanwhile, some communities lost out. Water that would have flowed through the Jicarilla Apache Nation was instead diverted via the tunnel. In this episode, we travel 180 miles north of Albuquerque to the town of Dulce to talk to Daryl Vigil, retired longtime water administrator, about how the tribe is fighting for a seat at the table in ongoing Colorado River management. And we visit To’Hajiilee, a community dealing with water insecurity that stands to benefit from leasing Jicarilla settlement water.

Duration:00:35:14

Stolen River

10/25/2023
Over a century after its namesake river — the Gila — was stolen by colonization, the Gila River Indian Community won its water rights back. Now the community is using the water to restore its farming economy, build back wetlands that long ago dried up and help stabilize the Colorado River system.

Duration:00:32:13

The $80 Million Acre

10/18/2023
Buckeye, Arizona, is a small city with dreams of becoming “the next Phoenix.” It’s one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. In the past few decades, its population has ballooned more than twentyfold, and the city plans to add more than 100,000 new homes in coming years. The only catch? Growth requires water. And Buckeye doesn’t have enough. So what’s a small city with big dreams to do? Part of the answer lies in one scrubby acre of land way out in the desert that’s owned by a group of investors.

Duration:00:32:39

Introducing “How We Survive: The Worth of Water”

10/11/2023
The Colorado River is the lifeblood of the American West. Millions of people rely on it to live. But we’re using more water than the river has to give, and it’s already lost trillions of gallons to rising temperatures since 2000. Meanwhile, rampant growth and water-intensive farming have depleted groundwater supplies. This means Western states must fundamentally rethink how water is divided up and used. In this season of “How We Survive,” we find an oasis in the desert, float down Las Vegas’ finest canal and give wastewater a taste as we continue our hunt for solutions to the climate crisis.

Duration:00:03:22

Burning Questions: Can AI save the planet?

9/27/2023
When it comes to solving the climate crisis, artificial intelligence can be a powerful tool, but it comes with some significant risks. Marketplace’s AI reporter Matt Levin talks with Priya Donti, Assistant Professor at MIT and co-founder Climate Change AI about the promises and perils of AI. WATCH:Can AI Help Solve the Climate Crisis?TED READ: How Big Tech AI models nailed forecast for Hurricane Lee a week in advanceTheWashington Post CHECK OUT:Climate Change AI

Duration:00:29:29

Burning Questions: Can we eat our way out of the climate crisis?

9/20/2023
Do my food choices really matter? What about solutions like composting? In this installment of Burning Questions, NYT’s food journalist and best-selling cookbook author Priya Krishna is in conversation with restaurateur and founder of Zero Foodprint, Anthony Myint, to chat through the personal and structural changes we can make to our food choices to better the climate. CHECK OUT: The impact of specific foods on the environment COMPOST:Even if your city doesn’t offer municipal pick-up DIG DEEPERThe science of regenerative agriculture with Anthony Myint

Duration:00:20:12

Burning Questions: Should we blow it all up?

9/13/2023
Some climate activists think it’s time to ramp up their efforts by vandalizing multimillion-dollar artworks and even sabotaging key infrastructure. Should activists move beyond peaceful protests? Host Amy Scott talks with filmmakers Daniel Goldhaber and Ariela Barer about some of these ideas that show up in their environmental thriller “How to Blow Up a Pipeline.” Related Links: OPINION: The moral case for destroying fossil fuel infrastructure – Andreas Malm WATCH: TED – The fairy tales of the fossil fuel industry — and a better climate story – Luisa Neubauer STREAM: How to Blow Up a Pipeline (Film)

Duration:00:22:56

Burning Questions: Can I be fashionable without hurting the planet?

9/6/2023
Is it really that bad to buy a shirt from a fast fashion company? How can I tell if a company is really committed to sustainable practices? Do things like the quality of fabric matter to the environment? LAist’s Josie Huang sits down with fast-fashion expert and Columbia University professor Elizabeth Cline to discuss the impacts of what we wear. Consume Less, Learn More: Read: “Fashion Creates Culture, and Culture Creates Action” from Vogue Peruse: The ReMake brand directory Get up to speed on: The Fabric Act

Duration:00:27:16

Introducing “How We Survive’s” Burning Questions

8/30/2023
Ever wonder how our food choices impact the climate? Or how to make smarter selections when it comes to buying fast fashion? Us, too! “How We Survive’s” Burning Questions video series explores those questions we’ve all had about how our actions contribute to the climate crisis. Join us as we find climate solutions big and small.

Duration:00:01:38

Bonus: Earth Day fundraiser

4/20/2023
We’re hard at work on the next season of “How We Survive,” but we’re dropping into your feed today to say thank you. To show our thanks, we’re going to give you a little peek behind the curtain to show you how we make “How We Survive.” We’ll also play a few stories that’ll be new to our podcast audience about the dangers of the climate crisis and the solutions that help people live safely in vulnerable coastal communities — at least for a while longer. It’s listeners like you who keep this podcast going, and this Earth Day, we ask that you consider making a donation in support of Marketplace’s climate journalism. Every donation makes a big difference. Give here: marketplace.org/survive

Duration:00:21:23

No Place Like Home

12/14/2022
You’ve raised your house up on stilts and your town has added higher seawalls and pumping stations, but sea level rise is relentless. Eventually, you may have to consider the ultimate solution: Leaving your home, giving the land back to nature and starting over somewhere else. There’s a jargony sounding name for this solution: Managed Retreat. In our season finale, we head to a small island community off the coast of Louisiana that has lost 98% of its land to rising seas and sinking land. Now residents have to decide if they’re ready to leave the place most have called home their whole lives, or be swallowed up with it. Later in the episode, we unpack what managed retreat might mean for the rest of us, even those of us who don’t think we’re at any risk.

Duration:00:34:29

Swampland for Sale

12/7/2022
In this episode, we travel back in time to the place South Florida used to be — the Everglades before it was drained, developed and transformed into the megalopolis we know today. We start with a bird’s-eye view of the ecosystem. Then we get down on the ground to look at the consequences of drainage up close. Finally we discuss why a restoration plan passed more than two decades ago is more pressing now than ever before.

Duration:00:33:43