Episode 28: Christopher Ketcham “This Land”

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Christopher Ketcham

Christopher Ketcham, Author of “This Land” | Photo: © Lea Barouch

Christopher Ketcham has written for dozens of publications, including Harper’s, National Geographic, and The New Republic. He has reported from the American West for more than a decade. This book is a product of those years in the last wild places. He currently lives in the Catskill Mountains of New York.

About “This Land”

“A hard-hitting look at the battle now raging over the fate of the public lands in the American West and a plea for the protection of these last wild places.” Viking

This LandChristopher has been documenting the confluence of commercial exploitation and governmental misconduct in the western United States for over a decade. His revelatory book takes the reader on a journey across these last wild places, to see how capitalism is killing our great commons.

Ketcham begins in Utah, revealing the environmental destruction caused by unregulated public lands livestock grazing, and exposing rampant malfeasance in the federal land management agencies, who have been compromised by the profit-driven livestock and energy interests they are supposed to regulate. He then turns to the broad effects of those corrupt politics on wildlife.

He tracks the Department of Interior’s failure to implement and enforce the Endangered Species Act–including its stark betrayal of protections for the grizzly bear and the sage grouse–and investigates the destructive behavior of U.S. Wildlife Services in their shocking mass slaughter of animals that threaten the livestock industry.

Along the way, Ketcham talks with ecologists, biologists, botanists, former government employees, whistleblowers, grassroots environmentalists and other citizens who are fighting to protect the public domain for future generations.

Topics:

  • Western public lands are not protected as they should be.
  • The depth and breadth of environmental destruction caused by unregulated livestock grazing on public lands in the west.
  • The need for the public to be outraged and engaged much more deeply.
  • How simply upholding the rule of law, such as the Endangered Species Act, would go a long way in protecting public lands.

Extra Credit


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Alan Gregory - July 19, 2019

I look forward to reading this book. I just exchanged correspondence with BLM district officials in southwest Idaho about livestock grazing. Found six head crapping away in a Great Basin riparian zone in late May. One cow let loose with a big pile right into the water of Poison Creek — precious water in the high desert.

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