This Watershed Moment

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This Watershed Moment: Envisioning Place-Based Futures

As the Intermountain West continues to get drier and hotter, Utah’s watersheds are imperiled. The Great Salt Lake is shrinking, and the Colorado River is waning. A great change is needed. This is our watershed moment. We’re forced to ask: how can I live well in uncertain times; how can I stay in a place; how can I give back, be a good neighbor, steward, community member?

Before we drew maps with rigid political and property boundaries, watersheds informed our relation to the land and to each other. Watersheds were both a source of life and ethics. The flora and fauna that grew in a watershed influenced how people ate, built homes, and even the music they created. Who and what you lived upstream from governed how you lived on the land. In a changing climate, we are forced to remember or reimagine our connections to our watersheds to build futures we can live in sustainably, resiliently, joyfully.

Call for Submissions

We cannot bring about a future we cannot imagine. Courageous vision, it turns out, is an extremely viable strategy. So, we invite community members of these unique and endangered watersheds to invoke their imaginations. What does your watershed look like in 150 years if we answer the charge of climate change responsibly? What would it feel like? Smell like? Taste like? Sound like?

Tell us about your great great great great grandchild’s life. What could their community look like? Write us a recipe based on the food they might grow in their garden. Send us the sheet music for the folk songs they croon while cooking their dinner. Paint us a portrait of the statue they erect to honor and remember the what they’ve lost. Write from the perspective of a budding juniper. Be playful. Bend genre. Have fun with form. Show us: what are the futures you imagine for your descendants?

What We’re Building Together

This Watershed Moment: Envisioning Place-Based Futures seeks to bring together voices from across Utah’s two major watersheds – the Great Basin and the Colorado River – in a collection of imaginative futures. Selected written submissions will be printed in a small booklet available for free to the public. Poster art submissions will be shared on Save Our Great Salt Lake’s social media.

Who Can Submit

This is an open call to all people living in Utah’s watersheds. You need not consider yourself a writer or an artist. We want to hear from those who’ve lived by the lake for 80 years, those who are young and anxious about their future, those whose roots in the redrock reach back generations, those who are only recently calling these waters home, and, especially, those whose identities have historically been left out of conversations that imagine a just future.

What Can You Submit

Flash fiction (limit 2,000 words)
Poetry (limit 3 poems and/or 2,000 words)
Essays/creative non-fiction, interviews (Q&As, as-told-tos) (limit 2,000 words)
Other forms of creative writing: recipes, song lyrics, a fictional to-do list in the future, social media posts, your great-grandchild’s diary entry, etc.. (limit 3 selections and/or 2,000 words)
Poster art (limit 3 images of different works)

Offer your Submission Here

This Watershed Moment: Panel Conversation

On May 30, 2024, at the Salt Lake Public Library, we convened a panel conversation to ground this call for submissions in some essential truths about climate change, social justice, intersectionality, ethics, and the undeniable power of imagination.