After reading “Damnation of a Canyon” and the Bureau of Reclamation’s mission statement I am extremely torn. The topic of damning is usually a fairly low key and irrelevant subject to most of us living in the situation that we do. Edward Abbey on the other hand, has some very strong opinions about the subject that are extremely hard to ignore. Although he is very biased, and chooses to sit more so on the negative side than the positive, it’s difficult to refute someone with first hand encounters of damning. The way he pushes the idea of damning actually killing off nature and all the creatures in it has persuaded me very substantially to feel oppressive against damns. I do keep in mind however, that he seems to be a bit of an extremist and is very biased in his opinion. The Bureau of Reclamation seems to be the more believable one in their mission stating that they are just trying to do what is best for everyone. It’s more or less the utilitarianism structure. They would rather make 100 people happy vs. making 15 people extremely happy. I also am forced to side with the Bureau because Abbey seems a little too insensitive on the subject of accessibility and nature. So maybe nature is more beautiful when a select group of people have seen it, but just because you can walk doesn’t give you right to see the beauty of nature over someone else. In some ways Abbey’s logic is extremely flawed. Derek
I think that Abbey is so extremely conservative it is almost hard to read The Damnation of a Canyon. While Abbey has some legitimate arguments, he is so negative and biased that it is hard to see the actual facts. Basically, Abbey believes that Lake Polwell needs to be destroyed in order to let the river and canyon go back to their original state. I do agree that is hard to see such beautiful natural bodies turned into a power plant for the purposes of humans. But I thought that the Bureau of Reclamation was much less biased and I agreed more with that viewpoint. Power generated from water is an excellent source of energy and the Bureau has a mission to conserve that water and treat nature in and surrounding the bodies of water the best way possible. While Abbey presents a good case, he comes across much too harsh to really compel a multitude of people to feel that way. Personally, writers that are super biased bother me and I have a difficult time reading that work. I think a more effective way for him to convey his message would be to present more facts and approach the topic in a lighter way. More people are going to agree with the Bureau of Reclamation than with Abbey. Alex
I found Edward Abbey’s “The Damnation of a Canyon” to be very informative and moving. I could tell this was an issue very dear to him and I enjoyed some of his humor in which he brought into the article. I had never even thought that a dam would create so many consequences to the wildlife and water springs around it. With such consequences of leaving a bath tub formation, reducing plant and wildlife, and waters filled with human waste I cannot believe we are still using dams today. If something is not done quick to stop this dam I very well agree with Abbey when he says that “Lake Powell…is foredoomed to become a solid mas of mud” (100). Glen Canyons scarce source of wildlife will soon become extinct all because we, as humans, enjoy a vacation spot on the lake? I just don’t understand how one would prefer a mass of concrete over Gods natural landscape. With such advancements in energy technology something needs to be done to all of the dams in the world before they become unfixable by nature. Jenna
This article was one that could be taken in many different ways. Abbey raises great concern over how industrialized Glen Canyon has become since the construction of this new dam. He talks about how it has lost much of its sense of natural beauty. I found some of his observations to be pretty moving, and it is a sad thing to hear a man who loves nature, watch it get influenced by the clutches of business. The ultimate argument here in my opinion, is that of industry and economic profit verses conservation and the preserving of nature. Abbey's argument holds very good ground, there is no question about that, but he is dealing with forces greater than himself. When a business sees that there is profit in an area which is "vacant" or not yet being used, they will jump on it. Here is a perfect example of where they have taken a natural spot and turned it into a valuable economic resource. The results are not always pleasurable to everybody, which for people who enjoy nature, could include mostly everybody. And once again its just a matter of how much we as humans care, and are willing to step up and do something about it, otherwise more and more spots like this will fall victim to industrialization in the future.
After reading Edward Abbey's "The Damnation of a Canyon", I am torn in two directions. Abbey raises some pretty good thoughts about how industrializing a canyon into a dam is destructing the natural beauty of the land that once stood there. Before the dam, people could ride down the canyon enjoying the sites and sounds of fresh green plants, animals and all sorts of amazing wildlife. Abbey is clearly one of many people who enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. So for him to see the canyon being converted into a dam for basically a business profit has got to be tough. However, it brings up the question again as to, how much will people destroy in order to make a profit? Currently, it appears that many people rather make a profit them preserve the land that was given to us. Although, I don't believe the land was given to us for us to destroy. This brings me to the mission of the Bureau of Reclamation. They basically state that they are trying to do what is best for everyone. They look at humans, plants, animals and the land structure itself and see how they can make things right for everyone and everything. Their statement seems to be right. As humans we need to care for the land that we live on, if we don't were going to run out of natural resources before we know it and then we will regret what we have done to ourselves. Yet, I don't believe that were going to change. We're selfish people, we want everything in this world and we want it now. This may not be true for all people, but were not going to change unless we all see the world in the same way.
Reading both the mission statement and “The Damnation of the Grand Canyon”, the reader wedges himself or herself in a situation where one identifies with both sides of this issue. Both articles are extremes of each other telling two different stories on how they view the Canyon. I strongly feel to really evaluate and give my opinion I would need an opinion from some one other than the government or a “butterfly chaser, goodly eyed bleeding heart and wild conservative”. However, I tend to lean to the wild conservative a little bit more because I believe as a nation we do anything possible to further and satisfy ourselves even if it takes down an entire ecosystem. However, neither side sympathizes with the other or even says the other has valid points, which bothers me. Who says there isn’t another efficient way to bring water to 31 millions of people? Or who says we can’t have a dam and still build the ecosystem around it in a healthy way? However, at the moment both are many ideas away from blossoming into a reality, but there has to be a compromise. Nevertheless, what is truly right: saving millions of people with clean water or depriving the plants and animals of their home? I think it comes down to what do people find holds more wealth. The true beauty of nature or giant stack of money, what brings people more happiness? Everyone always said money couldn’t buy you happiness; thus, true happiness lies in things we can’t buy like nature. Some may think Abbey comes off too biased; however, I simply believe he has passion for the cause, which is what we all should feel. People need to be passionate about how they feel about nature and building up a wall of concrete instead of just hanging on the fence. Even if something might not directly disturb one now that doesn’t mean it eventually. Liz
Damnation of a Canyon by Edward Abbey brought up a very valid and relevant argument for today's environmental issues.
We want "clean self-replenishing" energy like solar, wind and water. However to create this electrical giants we need to cut away at more nature, which eventually we will regret again. I had never been opposed to dams before I read Abbey's piece, how he state he will not "love concrete" and how the lake has turned into an industrial bathtub. It was very disappointing to think that our best efforts towards the planet like renewable energy was actually backfiring.
Abbey goes on a rant about the animals disappearing and the charming forests and plants receding, only to be enveloped by sharp sterile cliffs of rock. I found this to be quite the mental image of our human footprint.
It was very difficult not to laugh at some of his arguments, however, he was so angry it was not always the most eloquent. For example, when he states that there will be dead water-skiers in the basin or what seems to be his exaggerations of the lost ruins and ancient lands.
I had to put myself in his shoes to understand the purpose of his distaste with the renovation. I came up with the comparison of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area cell phone tower and the Glen Canyon Dam. People, including me, were outraged by the plans to insert an at&t cell tower near a small town on the outskirts of the BWCA. Avid campers escaping to the beauty of nature find themselves staring at a large metal contraption protruding awkwardly into the rich sunset. Neighbors across the lake playing pandora and chatting on the phone is not the ideal situation in the Boundary Waters.
Like Abbey's argument that things pristine and beautiful enough to see should not have highways straight to them, if you are a true outdoors man you do not need constant cell phone abilities to protect you. If there is serious concern, then there are emergency radio stations already in place.
All in all, I thoroughly agreed with Abbey, although he was absurd at times and hell bent on harassing our modern day accommodations.
After reading Edward Abbey's "The Damnation of a Crayon," i found it to be very moving. I could tell that he was very passionate about the issue expressed in the article. He talked about how one issue the dam created issues for wildlife and the precious water. After reading about the consequences that the dam has on nature, i am surprised that we still use dams in our society. The fact that it has the consequence of leaving a bath tub formation, which reduces plant and wildlife. I feel that if we as humans don't think about dam consequences soon, we will regret it later in life. When i looked at the Glen Canyons and was just surprised. I was surprised how in the next couple years it could possibly be extinct. The thought that it is as a result of humans makes me upset.
While reading “The Damnation of a Canyon” by Edward Abbey, I tried as best as I could to keep an open mind the entire time. Although I do agree with Abbey on some of his points, there were some points where I could actually feel myself getting a little peeved. He was so incredibly close-minded when writing this that it was a little irritating. I understand that he feels very deeply about this issue, but it might have been a little more enjoyable and almost more persuasive for me as a reader if he would have agreed with some of the opposing views, but then explained why he felt his view was better. It was almost like he was just complaining the entire time, but that is just my personal view. With that being said, I can definitely see where he is coming from. The fact that the only way to tour the reservoir now is to take a speed boat is sad to hear, especially since before when it was the Glen Canyon people cherished it and took great pride in it. The other point he makes about the water being so contaminated that not only can people not drink it, but they can’t swim in it either, was also eye opening. - Kayla
After reading both the "Damnation of a Canyon" and the information on the Bureau of Reclamation's website, I can see both sides of the argument. I do think that Abbey does have a legitimate argument however I think he is to biased and economically unrealistic to agree with. Yes, it is very unfortunate that the natural landscape has been lost and it is very likely that the lake will fill with sediment. However, we have to be realistic and balance environmental preservation with the economics of the debate. Putting the recreation debate aside, the debate is between preserving the natural landscape and generating electricity from a source that doesn't involve the burning of fossil fuels and is in continuous supply. Although I do agree with Abbey it is very disappointing the natural landscape of the cannon has been lost, I believe we have to take the other environmental and economic cost to obtain power from other sources into consideration.
Although I feel that Edward Abbey is definitely biased in his attitudes toward the environment and especially, in the case of Glen Canyon, I was somewhat moved by “Damnation of a Canyon.” Glen Canyon seemed to be a much nicer, more beautiful place in the past and I can really see why he thinks we shouldn’t have built the damn there. And then I read the Bureau of Reclamation’s about us page, and I pretty much instantly changed my position. Although what happened to the Colorado River in Glen Canyon is a shame, the benefits just seem to really outweigh the losses. The amount of power and water than the damn provides to people in the American Southwest is breathtaking. Also, the Bureau of Reclamation seemed much more impartial regarding the issues. They merely presented the statistics of what the dam provides for people and let you make the decision. Although I largely sided with the Bureau of Reclamation, I feel that Edward Abbey did make one really good point. We need to start developing more forms of alternative energy that do less damage to the environment, such as wind and solar. If we focused more on those, we wouldn’t need as many dams to provide power, and we could let Glen Canyon revert to its natural state. Ryan
After reading "Damnation of a Canyon" by Edward Abbey and the Bureau of Reclamation, I am torn. On one side I believe that Mr. Abbey is extremely conservative and biased and may be having a bit of nostalgia when comparing the old serene beauty of Glen Canyon to the apparent dreariness that it now contains. When I read the Bureau's mission statement though I feel as though it is a sugar-coated pretty answer, but with the economical aspect probably being played up higher. If I were to choose a side I would probably choose the side of the Bureau rather than the side of Mr. Abbey. I would probably choose the side of the Bureau because it seems to be the lesser of two evils. Mr. Abbey's arguments seem so snide and filled with snark that it is extremely off putting. At the end he jokes of the skeletons of water skiers showing up in the debris that has been washed down from the dam that he believes should be miraculously torn down quickly. Then he believes that this debris, skeletons and all, will be washed away, to be forgotten about. I simply do not want to jump on board with Mr. Abbey if his argument is not going to be a serious one. If he would have perhaps thrown in some numbers into his answer of destroying the dam I would be more apt to take him seriously. At this point though, the Bureau of Reclamation seems much more realistic. -Tate
I was utterly moved by Edward Abbey’s strength towards the preservation of the dam. His passion for the nature reserves was inspiring; however I do believe that many nature reserves are taken over for governmental purposes to increase revenue. I back these phenomena because I believe that the economic growth is necessary in our nation to a certain extent. But at which point does this become overkill? I believe there is a happy medium between which the government can expand revenue by relinquishing nature reserves from their national habitat and converting to industrial businesses and such, and can leave nature in its habitat for people to come enjoy. Leaving some natural phenomenon alone would also increase revenue to a point as it would raise property value for neighboring towns, and depending on the magnitude of the phenomena present in the reserve, it should bolster tourism had the attraction value of the land been large enough. I am torn between this question of moral value, as in my head there is an arguable point for both sides of the issue. All in all, I do believe there should be a happy medium of nature reserves and some value placed on certain pieces of land to preserve them from destruction, while other land of less value is subject to governmental reign. Reflecting on my stances my idea for the natural habitats somewhat reflects a survival of the fittest complex. Braden
After reading “Damnation of a Canyon” by Edward Abbey, I am torn in two different directions. I feel for Edward Abbey, I to have a place that was changed “for the better of the community.” This place that I speak of is located just north west of Duluth about an hour. I have been going there since I was 10 years old and it is my place of peace, my utopia, my second home. About two years ago, the state decided to run a pipeline right through this land. So they cut down trees and destroyed the beauty of the land. They said it was for the better of the state, I thought this was a load of crap. So I know exactly how he fills, but it turns out that this actually did help out the state the more I looked into it. It helped bring jobs to this part of Minnesota and it ended up helping out our deer season by making the deer more active. It had its benefits. Just like the damns have their benefits with supplying clean energy to millions of people. If Edward would just look at the big picture instead of dwell on what happened in the past, he would see that the damns are good. Yes it does harm the environment in the short run, but in the long run it helps it out tremendously. If we didn’t have damns, then we would have to use other resources for getting energy such as coal, nuclear, or even oil. So I believe that the damns are for the better even though they might not look the greatest. --Nick
While reading Damnation of a Canyon by Edward Abbey I can see why he was angered the land he loved was changed into something that other people enjoy. That would make anyone angry, but it made his whole writing biased for me and it was hard to even listen to his facts and points. The building of the damn created a huge recreational lake that a lot more people can use and enjoy. Abbey also said to go on a trip on the river below the damn to see what it was like before the damn. From that I feel like they saved enough of the river to still go out and see the natural beauty of the land. On top of that they gained a recreational lake making the Rainbow Bridge available to many more people. So for creating new enjoyments for a lot more people and saving some of the natural beauty I think the damn was a great idea and Abbey is just angry and biased that he lost a place he enjoyed. Justin
After reading “The Damnation of a Canyon” by Edward Abbey I feel as if he raises a very valid point, not only for the Glen Canyon but for other environments all across our country. It seems to me that if we just sit back and let the government take over every piece of water that could generate power we will be losing way more in our lives than we will be gaining hydroelectric power. Abbey goes into great detail about what he saw in the Glen Canyon before and after the dam was built, and to me it seems as though he wouldn’t be the only person to complain about the changes. He uses imagery that anyone could envision in their own mind to make the reader grasp what he has seen. In my opinion he is longing for the way that the area used to be filled with life that wasn’t just tourists and motor-boaters. He wants to get back to the days when it was a destination that was rewarding and spiritual for all who took the time to accomplish the six mile walk to the Rainbow Bridge.
On the other hand, hydroelectric power does provide for a lot of communities surrounding the Glen Canyon Dam. The building, upkeep, tourism, and conservation work that has been created has also made for many new jobs that help the economy of that region. I think that it is necessary for us to find ways to create power that doesn’t involve fossil fuels and power plants that create piles of pollution problems. It is very sad to hear that such a naturally beautiful place was destroyed by the building of the dam, but in comparison to what it has done for civilization in that area is hard to not notice. Abbey even said it himself that if we took away the dam, nature would be able to restore itself and could eventually get back to a similar version of its former self. We can let the dam do its job and if ever the government feels that the waters and getting really bad or they find a better way to produce energy, then nature can get its canyon back and we can watch the amazing and powerful process that it will go through to mend itself.
After reading "Damnation of a Canyon" I felt like Abbey was very sarcastic and extremely biased in his opinions toward the dam, and I disagreed with him in many aspects. Instead of seeing possible benefits that the dam could create for the people around Glen Canyon, he was constantly tearing it down and wishing things would go back to how they used to be before the dam was put in. Although Lake Powell causes unslightly and environmentally damaging bathtub rings in Abbey's opinion, it seems to me that it has created more recreational activities than before. You used to be able to just float down the river, but now you can go on motorized boat rides, water ski, tube, or just float. Abbey also mentions how "the heart of Glen Canyon has been buried", I disagree with him. I think that even if there might not be as much wildlife near Lake Powell, there is still plenty of nature for people to enjoy there and further down the river. Finally, I think that his idea of shutting down the Glen Canyon power plant is extremely unrealistic. He mentions "alternate methods of power" being developed such as solar power, but using the water power from the dam is much more environment friendly, in my opinion, then burning fossil fuels to get the power and energy we need to live our everyday lives. Overall, I think that Abbey is hung up on the past and is upset that he lost a place he once loved very much, and doesn't choose to enjoy the benefits the new dam and reservior can provide to him.
After reading both the Bureau of Reclamation mission statement and Damnation of a canyon by Edward Abbey i have formed some viewpoints of my own. Abbey is very passionate about how the dam has affected the nature around him. He is upset because the dams can kill of the nature around it. Dams make it hard for plants and animals to adjust to the new environment, thus making it harder to survive. Although Abbey makes good points, the benefits that the Bureau is creating outweighs the bad that the dams are creating. The Bureau's dams bring water to more than 31 million people providing irrigation that helps grow and maintain 60% of the nation's vegetables and 25% of its fruits and nuts. Those numbers are directly from the BR's official website. Without these dams, crops would not get watered or mass produced to the people of the USA
After reading both Edward Abby’s “Damnation of a Canyon” as well as The Bureau of Reclamation’s website I find myself leaning toward the side of the Bureau. When reading Abby’s thoughts it sounded as if he had a lot of built up anger and resentment. He even started to take it out on the upper-middle class and referred to them as “slobs”. He seems to write through anger and disgust, making it hard to side with someone so against what is bringing many people joy. I am not saying that the dam is perfect though. I believe that the dam could be very useful and sustainable but the only thing I would turn my gaze to would be what the people are doing in the reservoir. I am completely against dumping raw sewage into the lake and throwing garbage into the lake just because you are too lazy to hold onto it until you get if the boat. This dam, as well as the rest of the Bureau, bring power and savings to millions of people all over the nation. So in a closing thought, I believe that the dam is a good thing but I think that tighter regulations on what people do in the reservoir need to be put into place.
This page contains a single entry by Capper Nichols published on September 11, 2012 1:04 PM.
"The Land Ethic" - Aldo Leopold was the previous entry in this blog.
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