When Dan Reicher was eight, he became fixated on wolverines. He admired their ferocity but, because they were endangered, feared for their survival. While poring over a catalogue of outdoor gear, he came across a parka trimmed in wolverine fur. He was outraged. His mother, a schoolteacher, and his father, an ob-gyn, urged him to put his umbrage to good purpose, so he sent the gear company a letter. After some time, he received a reply: the company was discontinuing the parka. Had his protest made the difference? Probably not, but, still, he inferred that a citizen, even a little one, had the power to effect change. “Boy, was I misled,” he said recently.
Reicher, now sixty-one, is a professor at Stanford and the executive director of its Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance. Previously, he led Google’s climate and energy initiatives and served in the Clinton Administration as an Assistant Secretary of Energy. He has spent most of his adult life trying to help humankind move past its reliance on fossil fuels. Under President Trump, conservationists have seen decades of gains rolled back in a matter of months. Still, Reicher, like so many environmentalists, goes grimly about his business.
Reicher’s real obsession is water. He grew up in Syracuse, paddling on polluted lakes, and liked to collect and test water samples. When he was eleven, his parents sent him to Ontario on a canoe trip with a drill sergeant who failed to bring an adequate supply of food. Reicher, getting by on wild blueberries and toothpaste, had never been and would never again be as hungry, but, even so, he loved the whole thing. For a couple of summers in his teens, he attended the Colorado Rocky Mountain School, in Carbondale, where a French champion of the newfangled sport of white-water kayaking taught aspiring river-runners the eddy turn and the high brace. Reicher got to spend a week on the Green River, paddling through the vast Dinosaur National Monument. He was captivated by the journals of a predecessor there: John Wesley Powell, the Union Army major who lost an arm at Shiloh and later led the first expedition to navigate the length of the Grand Canyon. As an undergraduate at Dartmouth, Reicher joined the kayaking team and the Ledyard Canoe Club, which is named for John Ledyard, the eighteenth-century American explorer, who dropped out of Dartmouth after a year and paddled down the Connecticut River, from Hanover to the Long Island Sound, in a dugout canoe fashioned from a tree he cut down on campus.
In the spirit of these forebears, in 1977 Reicher and some fellow-Ledyardians embarked on an expedition of their own. A classmate, Tony Anella, from Albuquerque, was preoccupied with his home-town river, the Rio Grande, and had determined that no one in documented history had navigated the river’s nearly two thousand miles, from source to sea. He planned to be the first. The students secured backing from the National Geographic Society, which, a dozen years before, had sponsored a Ledyard trip along the Danube. For course credit, Anella, a history major, would compile a history of water rights on the river, while the other principal, Rob Portman, an anthropology major (and now the junior United States senator from Ohio), would take on the subject of mass migration. Reicher, a biology major, would assess the water and whatever life could survive in it.
体育投注平台Generally, the storied river descents, like so many iconic American journeys, have tended to be those which run west, down from the Continental Divide to the sea. And, of those, the torrent that drains the far slope of the southern Rockies, the Colorado, seemed to draw the love and the lore—it had deeper cataracts, bigger flows, gnarlier rapids, bolder boatmen, and fiercer fights over dams and acre-feet.