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energy and the environment Damnation of a Canyon

The Damnation of a Canyon
By Edward Abbey

Not many people know of the used-to-be 150-mile excursion that the Glen Canyon had to offer.  Not many people know how to sail a raft down a river for a week.  Not many people know how to interact with nature and the animals that come with it.  We seem to come from a world that is dependent on time and consumed in money.  Edward Abbey is what you would call an extreme environmentalist.  He talks about how it was an environmental disaster to place a dam in which to create Lake Powell, a reservoir formed on the border of Utah and Arizona.  He is one of the few that have actually seen the way Glen Canyon was before they changed it into a reservoir.  Today, that lake is used by over a million people, and is one of the biggest recreation hot spots in the western United States.
First of all, Edward Abbey admits to being a certain bias and that he is a, butterfly chaser, googley eyed bleeding heart and wild conservative.  So, in other words he is intending this article to be read by environmental activist who will support his opinion and the action that he is trying to take.  Edward Abbey worked as a seasonal park ranger for Glen Canyon National Recreation Area back in 1967, so of course he would be against any environmental action taken to change the canyon.  He stated that before the damnation of the canyon that there were streams, waterfalls, plunge pools, and plenty of wildlife.  Now you can only find that on a small scale and that these things have been lost, pushed out, drowned, or buried under mud.  
Abbey highlighted quite a few points; one of them that interested me the most was his description, of the difference between the present reservoir, and the original Glen Canyon.  He stated that it was the difference between life and death.  Glen Canyon was alive.  Lake Powell is a graveyard.  He really seems to be going out on a limb in saying this extreme of a statement.  I think that he is wrong in saying that.  I feel that he is only looking at one side of the story.  I would say the opposite, but for a rhetorical analysis proposes only, I will come from his point of view in researching that he came to that conclusion under the assumption that the wildlife and nature was more alive then the life outside of the dam.  Lake Powell is a graveyard in such that there is nothing natural about it.  The rocks are pretty and the water is blue.  Abbey talks of a term called bathtub ring, it is left on the canyon walls, after each drawdown of the water level. The park rangers in Glen Canyon consider it to be not of great importance, and that is one of the only illusions that you look at upon a natural lake. To some people seeing that effect is more then they have seen or may ever see in their life when it comes to nature.  People come from places where there isnt a lot of wildlife around them.  The closest they get seeing that might just be from a book or a video they saw in school.  So what if they dump a ton of striped bass and rainbow trout into the lake every year.  One of those fishes could be the first one ever caught by a boy who is having a weekend with his father.  The symbol of that fish and what it represents to the bonding between two people may be a lot more then what I think Abbey has analysed.
I think Abbey brought up a very controversial/argumentative point in his article.  He stated that if Rainbow Bridge is worth seeing at all, then by God it should be easily, readily, immediately available to everybody with the money to buy a big power boat. Before the Dam was put up to create Lake Powell, Rainbow Bridge was only accessible by walking six miles through the thickets of cottonwood trees, semi-tropical hanging orchids, and ivy, with swarms of insects and birdlife to get there. ... more

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Heros of the sixties counter c

Michael Bowen-Artist Michael Bowen was instrumental in many of the key developments in the Haight-Ashbury. He helped Allan Cohen turn his dream of a rainbow-colored newspaper into reality, contributing art, obtaining funding, and even turning his apartment over to The Oracle for office use. Michael, along with the Oracle, organized the Love Pageant Rally, which was held to protest the outlawing of LSD on October 6, 1966. Surprised at the larger than expected turnout, he and others envisioned a much larger gathering, a Human Be-In, which would publicize this breaking new dawn on the cultural landscape. Using his connections, Michael arranged for Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, and others to appear, and organized publicity for this seminal event.
Allen Cohen-Allen Cohen was a young poet from New York, drawn to the Haight-Ashbury by the prevailing bohemian spirit. One night, he dreamed of a psychedelic rainbow-colored newspaper, which would be seen throughout the world. With the support and funding of interested locals, the first issue of The Oracle appeared on the streets of the Haight-Ashbury in September, 1966. With its stunning split-fountain printing and psychedelic artwork, The Oracle was one of the most beautiful newspapers ever printed. At its peak, over 100,000 copies a month were printed, and true to Allens dream, it was indeed seen around the world.


Neil Cassidy-As the model for the non-stop Dean Moriarity in Jack Kerouacs, On the Road, the free-spirited Neil Cassady was already a legend by the time he met a young novelist named Ken Kesey in 1963. With his incredible energy and abilities, Neil demonstrated to the Pranksters just what Furthur really meant. Neils feats as the driver of the Magic Bus defied belief, as did his ability to carry on multiple conversations simultaneously. To those who knew him, Neil was The fastest man alive, a model of being, versus doing. Neil, Jerry Garcia once said,..was unbelievable. He was a true inspiration. There really hasnt been anything like him since.




The Diggers- were a Haight-Ashbury group which mixed much needed social services with a fiery social agenda. Taking the name of a 17th century English commune and promoting their vision of a socialist utopia, they fed hundreds daily in the nearby park, while badgering Haight-Ashbury businesses to distribute their profits to the community. To promote their ideas, they set up a free store on Haight street, held a funeral for the death of money, and engaged in daily street theater. Though their activist style contrasted sharply with the more laid back hippie lifestyle, they were respected for their passionate dedication to what they believed was the greater good, and their ability to get things done. Many of their members were talented artists, poets, and street actors, among them Peter Coyote.

Allen Ginsberg-Allen Ginsberg was a charter member of the 1950s beat movement and its best known poet. Ginsbergs earthy poetry, exploration of eastern spirituality, and support for the use of psychedelics struck a chord with the emerging counterculture, which saw him as a spiritual guide and teacher. He would make an occasional appearance at the Merry Pranksters Acid Tests, where his chanting and poetry readings would, it is said, even have a mellowing effect on the Hells Angels in attendance. His best-known appearance in San Francisco was at the Human Be-In in January, 1967.
 

Chet Helms-Chet Helms hailed from Texas, where a strong interest in civil rights and social issues attracted him to the Haight-Ashbury community. Believing that rock and roll provided a means to promote those issues, he formed a group called Big Brother and the Holding Company. Shortly afterwards, he took over the reins of a struggling concert promotion enterprise called The Family Dog and organized a series of weekly concerts at the Avalon Ballroom, commissioning local artists to create a series of ground-breaking posters for these events. Though successfully keeping an organization of 40+ employees sustained for five years, as well as being a lead patron for revitalizing the poster as an art form, Chet Helms true interests and energies always lay in the social agenda which first drew him to the Haight-Ashbury.


Timothy Leary- was a rising star in the field of behavioral psychology and a ... more

energy and the environment

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