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Wikipedia Summary for Edward Abbey

Edward Paul Abbey (January 29, 1927 – March 14, 1989) was an American author, essayist, and anarchist, noted for his advocacy of environmental issues and criticism of public land policies.

His best-known works include Desert Solitaire, a non-fiction autobiographical account of his time as a park ranger at Arches National Park considered to be an iconic work of nature writing and a staple of early environmentalist writing; the novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, which has been cited as an inspiration by environmentalists and groups defending nature by various means, also called eco-warriors; his novel Hayduke Lives!; and his essay collections Down the River (with Henry Thoreau & Other Friends) (1982) and One Life at a Time, Please (1988).

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Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.


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Water, water, water.... There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount , a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand, insuring that wide free open, generous spacing among plants and animals, homes and towns and cities, which makes the arid West so different from any other part of the nation. There is no lack of water here unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.


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For myself I hold no preferences among flowers, so long as they are wild, free, spontaneous. Bricks to all greenhouses! Black thumb and cutworm to the potted plant!


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Has joy any survival value in the operations of evolution? I suspect that it does; I suspect that the morose and fearful are doomed to quick extinction. Where there is no joy there can be no courage; and without courage all other virtues are useless. Therefore the frogs, the toads, keep on singing even though we know, if they don't, that the sound of their uproar must surely be luring all the snakes and ringtail cats and kit foxes and coyotes and great horned owls toward the scene of their happiness.


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The earth is not a mechanism but an organism, a being with its own life and its own reasons, where the support and sustenance of the human animal is incidental. If man in his newfound power and vanity persists in the attempt to remake the planet in his own image, he will succeed only in destroying himself -- not the planet. The earth will survive our most ingenious folly.


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There are some good things to be said about walking. Not many, but some. Walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed. I have a friend who's always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere. Walking makes the world much bigger and thus more interesting. You have time to observe the details. The utopian technologists foresee a future for us in which distance is annihilated... To be everywhere at once is to be nowhere forever, if you ask me.


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I understand and sympathize with the reasonable needs of a reasonable number of people on a finite continent. All life depends upon other life. But what is happening today, in North America, is not rational use but irrational massacre. Man the Pest, multiplied to the swarming stage, is attacking the remaining forests like a plague of locusts on a field of grain.


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A city man is a home anywhere, for all big cities are much alike. But a country man has a place where he belongs, where he always returns, and where, when the time comes, he is willing to die.


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The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state-controlled police and military are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy. Not for nothing was the revolver called an "equalizer.


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May your trails be dim, lonesome, stony, narrow, winding and only slightly uphill. May the wind bring rain for the slickrock potholes fourteen miles on the other side of yonder blue ridge. May God's dog serenade your campfire, may the rattlesnake and the screech owl amuse your reverie, may the Great Sun dazzle your eyes by day and the Great Bear watch over you by night.


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