Creating “a Civilization to Match the Scenery” in Western North America

It’s not as exciting as restoring a wetland or leading a geotour. It’s not as satisfying as bringing cattlemen, conservationists, commissioners and contractors together to work out a vision for their community. Planning doesn’t generate much adrenaline or many headlines. It does, however, lay the groundwork for all that follows. Last summer the Sonoran Institute began planning for the next five to 10 years by examining the West — its rapid growth, changing economy and much more. By June, we will have a new plan for best using our time, energy, funding, skills and passion for this land. Here’s a sneak preview.


Healthy Lands, Resilient Economies, Vibrant Communities

The goal is a West where civil dialogue and collaboration are hallmarks of decision making; people live in harmony with the land and wildlife; clean water and energy are assured; and vibrant communities, resilient economies and healthy lands reflect “a civilization to match the scenery,” as Western writer Wallace Stegner envisioned. The Sonoran Institute, with the support of people who care about the West, is working to bring this vision to reality.

Changes & Challenges:

A Snapshot Grizzlies. Saguaros. Iconic landscapes — Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountains, Yellowstone. The West is mythical — a land where many aspire to travel or live, whether in a modern city flanked by rugged wilderness or in a mountain town with world-class skiing or fishing five minutes from work. But profound change is underway. We must be careful stewards of nature’s gifts or risk losing them.

  • Growth. Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Colorado and Utah are the fastest-growing states. Ranches and open space are giving way to subdivisions. Homes and jobs are often far apart, and streets are gridlocked. Many rural communities outgrow their small-town character. Retirees also look south of the border for affordable, resort-style living. Sources of energy and water are strained.
  • Public Land. Nearly half of the West is public land. Neighboring private development hampers wildlife migration. More off-road motorized vehicles damage resources that understaffed agencies cannot protect. Policies impede public-land managers’ work with private landowners, tribes and other jurisdictions, yet most threats arise outside public-land boundaries.
  • Laws & Policies. State and federal policies offer few incentives and limited authority for communities to plan for growth and protect their land, air and water. Poorly planned development decreases property values and increases costs of infrastructure and services.
  • Energy. Parts of the West are in the grip of an energy boom. When bust follows boom, communities have to pick up the pieces. Many are unprepared for the impacts on their land, water and social fabric.
  • Drought. Compounding these challenges, a prolonged drought is evidenced by reduced mountain snow pack, falling river levels, intense wildfires and expanding noxious weeds.
  • Changing Economy. Traditional industries no longer make a major contribution. Scenery, recreation and open space are the West’s new competitive advantage.

The challenges loom large, but they can be overcome. We can make better decisions about how to develop our communities and preserve the places and quality of life we cherish.

How to Choose the Best Water Filter for your Household

Our earth is no longer healthy and we cannot just drink or use water directly from the pond, lakeside or the river nearby us in the wild. As the water we have now is already polluted due to industrialization and irresponsible care from humans. Water pollution can be disastrous and could cause a lot of problems to our health if we had consume them, or had contact with them. It is even worse for other countries which are underdeveloped as they clearly had no clean water for them to consume or use.

Scientifically proven, water is an essential element to maintain our health as our body is 70% made of water. Hence, to have the best quality of water without any pollutant is a vital concern for every household, as polluted water may cause a lot of health problems if they are contaminated with substance such as dirt, heavy metal (mercury, lead) which could lead to poison and other mental problems; nano-plastics that are insoluble in water which could cause digestion problems and etc. Given that our living environment now is advanced with technology and scientific knowledge, there are many inventories that are able to filter the unwanted substances in water, so that we can drink or use them safely in our lifestyle.

There are currently a variety of choices for us to choose for water filters in the market, and each brand’s water filter may seem different from each other on their functions, price and also durability. One of the famous brand on water filter is Cuckoo, which you can browse their website on Nevertheless, brand is not the main issue here. All we need to know, is the function that we really need based on our living environment and the quality of water supply, so that we can choose the most suitable water filter to cope with our environment to have the best quality so to optimized our health.


Firstly, it is important that the water filter can separate dirt from the water, as water may flow through pipes that are aged for decades or centuries, and the source of water may be from underground, or contain possible dirt while flowing from the source to our house. To have clean water, dirt is the first thing that we would not want to see in the crystal clear water.


Secondly, do take note if the water filter contains carbon filter that are specially designed to remove lead. And of course, try not to use hot water directly from the tap, as they are likely to contain higher levels of lead. It is advisable to heat them up separately if you need hot water, so to reduce the level of lead as much as possible from the tap.  This is because most of the lead in household water usually comes from the plumbing in your house, not from the local water supply. Nevertheless, a good water filter should handle this problem perfectly, so that we won’t be drinking lead-contaminated water.


Thirdly, if your living environment or water supply has its source located at a rather high density of minerals, it is advisable for you to choose water filters that uses reverse osmosis. This can filtered most of the excessive minerals contained in the water, including calcium, magnesium, sodium and etc.



Lastly, you need to check reviews of the water filter that you are going to purchase, and take note on reviews on their service quality, customer service, after-sale service, warranty and maintenance when deciding which brand to purchase. As different companies may have different policies other than functions that are suitable for your household!