Friday, January 23, 2009

Examing the Impact of Dams: Encounters with the Archdruid by John McPhee

Today I am particularly pleased to be reading some of Part 3 of Encounters with the Archdruid by John McPhee to my class. We have been studying water all year and now we are talking about dams. The section I am looking at today introduces the students to David Brower, Floyd Dominy, and their meeting where they discussed the damming of Glen Canyon.

This excellent narrative describes two very powerful and influential men disagreeing over the need for the dam to be built. Dominy loves building dams, while Brower believes all dams are bad.

The purpose of this lesson is for my students to see both sides of this issue and to help them think critically about how we should solve problems. It is important to be reminded that there are always more than one side to any issue and that being able to examine both sides can usually help create an acceptable solution.

I would highly recommend reading this book. Not only is it very informative about the most important early leader of the conservation movement(with the possible exception of John Muir) , it is also a wonderful example of narrative prose. If you are interested in reading this book, here is the Amazon link.

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