The epic series of recent dust storms are stark remindersthat Phoenix, Arizona: is in trouble. The city has been dubbed a "horizontal hymn to unsustainable development." It is host to less than eight inches of rainfall per year, the hottest temperatures of any city in the Northern Hemisphere, and the dirtiest zip code in the country. In his new book Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World's Least Sustainable City, cultural critic Andrew Ross examines the sprawling metropolis's ecological challenges alongside its social and political ones — namely, widespread disenfranchisement from high rates foreclosure and unemployment, and strident anti-immigrant legislation. If efforts toward sustainability in Phoenix are not "directed by and toward principles of equity," Ross contends, "then they will almost certainly end up reinforcing patterns of eco-apartheid."
Andrew Ross has written a searing op-ed piece for the New York Times that encapsulates his book . (photo by Ms. Phoenix)