Blogger Profile: William deBuys
Writer and conservationist William deBuys is the author of seven books, which range from memoir and biography to environmental history and studies of place. A native of Maryland, he attended the University of North Carolina, where he was graduated with highest honors in 1972. Soon afterwards, the writer and social critic Robert Coles brought him to New Mexico as a research assistant, initiating deBuys’s deep relationship with the cultures and landscapes of the Southwest.
DeBuys’s books include Enchantment and Exploitation: The Life and Hard Times of a New Mexico Mountain Range (UNM Press, 1985), which won a Southwest Book Award and is now in its ninth printing; River of Traps (UNM Press, 1990; Trinity University Press, 2008), which was recognized as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in General Non-Fiction in 1991; Salt Dreams: Land and Water in Low-Down California (UNM Press, 1999), which won the Western States Book Award and several other prizes; Seeing Things Whole: the Essential John Wesley Powell (Shearwater Press, 2001); Valles Caldera: A Vision for New Mexico’s National Preserve (Museum of New Mexico Press, 2006), winner of a Southwest Book Award; and The Walk (Trinity University Press, 2007), an excerpt from which won a Pushcart Prize in 2008.
DeBuys’s shorter work has appeared in Orion, The New York Times Book Review, Doubletake, Story, Northern Lights, High Country News, Rangelands, and other periodicals and anthologies.
DeBuys has long been active in environmental affairs. From 1982 to 1986 he directed the North Carolina Chapter of the Nature Conservancy and from the late 1980s through the 1990s he represented The Conservation Fund in the Southwest. His efforts have led to the permanent protection of over 150,000 acres of wild lands in North Carolina and the Southwest.
From 1997 to 2004 he developed and directed the Valle Grande Grass Bank, a cooperative effort involving ranchers, conservationists, and public agencies in the rehabilitation of rangelands in northern New Mexico. In 2000 the effort earned the National Range Management Award of the U. S. Forest Service. From 2001 to 2004, under appointment by President William Clinton, he served as founding chairman of the Valles Caldera Trust, which administers the 89,000-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve under an experimental approach to the management of public lands.
DeBuys earned an MA and PhD in American Civilization from the University of Texas at Austin, finishing in 1982. He was named a Lyndhurst Fellow for 1986-1988, a Carl and Florence King Fellow at SMU in 1999-2000, and a Guggenheim Fellow in 2008-2009.
Today he lives on the farm he has tended since 1976 in the remote village of El Valle in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains between Santa Fe and Taos.
March 19th, 2013
Phoenix in the Climate Crosshairs: We Are Long Past Coal Mine Canaries
Crossposted from TomDispatch: If cities were stocks, you’d want to short Phoenix. Of course, it’s an easy city to pick on. The nation’s 13th largest metropolitan area (nudging out Detroit) crams 4.3 million people into a low bowl in a hot desert, where horrific heat waves and windstorms visit it ...
July 26th, 2012
The Oxygen Planet Struts Its Stuff: Not a “Perfect Storm” But the New Norm in the American West
Crossposted from TomDispatchDire fire conditions, like the inferno of heat, turbulence, and fuel that recently turned 346 homes in Colorado Springs to ash, are now common in the West. A lethal combination of drought, insect plagues, windstorms, and legions of dead, dying, or stressed-out trees constitute what some pundits are ...