In the wake of drought, climate change and, primarily, human-caused incursions, the Salt Lake Valley’s namesake ecological landmark, the Great Salt Lake, is dying, shriveling up before our very eyes.
Experts warn, in fact, that this shrinking body of water could vanish within five years, leaving behind an exposed lakebed and a source of toxic dust storms that could make this place — this place that Brigham Young reportedly declared the “right place” to become Mormonism’s new home — uninhabitable.
So the need to save the lake is obvious, and the stakes are huge — not only for Salt Lakers and Utahns but also for The Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints. The faith’s world headquarters is here. Its history is here. Its strength — both in membership and, frankly, money — is here. Its iconic Salt Lake Temple and global offices are here.
Thankfully, it’s not too late to preserve the lake, but it will take a concerted, costly and expedited effort, and the Utah-based church — and its members — must play a vital role.
On this week’s show, Ben Abbott, professor of ecology at church-owned Brigham Young University, discusses the lake’s precarious present and what Latter-day Saints and their church could do to help secure its future.