Cliff Dwellings and Technology

My son and I are in Arizona for what’s turned out to be our 6th Dad & Son Adventure. Today we were traveling along the Apache Trail, an indigenous pathway used for hundreds of years — and relevant to us today was the use by the Salado indians and then later the Apache.

The thing that struck me while we were on this adventure today was the marked contrast between life about 150-700 years ago with the Apache and the Salado before them, and life today as we drove along in our nice rental car with me thinking about Web 2.0 from time-to-time (don’t ask how *that* connection was made!).

We stopped at cliff dwellings occupied by the Salado of Tonto Basin around 1250 AD (click on the four-picture to see my photos). No one knows why (and like the Anasazi and other native peoples of the desert Southwest) the Salado vanished and abandoned these cliff dwellings. When you’re actually standing in this dwelling and it hits you how difficult it must’ve been to survive and eke out a living, it’s no wonder that the Salado vanished.

Conjecture amongst scientists as to why they left run the gamut from using up sparse resources (like the Mesquite tree) to a shift in the climate to warfare. But it’s all conjecture. What makes me think and draw parallels to today is global warming and the shifts it’s causing; to our use (and overuse) of resources like the precious water that is being consumed at frighteningly fast rates in the southwest; and the fragility and precariousness of our existence.

Will technology continue to pull rabbits out of a hat and stay ahead of resource consumption by humans, increased demand for energy, drug resistant strains of microbes, and the scalability of Typepad? (Sorry…just had to throw that in since the outage affected me on this adventure). Or will some of us vanish?

Arizona is projected to grow from 5.1 million people in 2000 to 10.7 million by 2030, bringing it from the 20th most populous state to the 10th. With Lake Mead dropping and signs pointing to a drought in Arizona, can the state handle this growth or will the infrastructure collapse? Read more in one of my earlier posts “Could Water be the Oil of the 21st Century?” if you care to learn more about one depleting resource…water.

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  1. Chris Koehn on December 18, 2005 at 4:28 pm


    I’ve been enjoying your podcasts, keep it up!

    I like the new look, but I recall you having a picture where you were smiling a few months back, then you switched to the more stoic pose with red background, now you are using a black background. Put the smiling one back up! At least I think there was one, now I am starting to doubt myself…

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Connecting the Dots Podcast

Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.