Edward Abbey

The first page of chapter 12 that we were assigned to read starts off with a really strong point that I think has come up several times within our class. It states that humans need to care about other living creatures that we are surrounded by and insists “not only those obviously beneficial to us, but even those that might appear to be competitors, even enemies”. This reminds me of the case that was brought up about the woman who was attacked by the mountain lion while she was out exercising in the hills. This statement says that we need to care about the mountain lion, too. Although the mountain lion is an enemy in this particular instance, this sentence states that that does not mean that we should not care about them. This, once again, brings us back to how much we value a person compared to how much we value the mountain lion.

The excerpt goes on to talk about how humans benefit other species on Earth. Oftentimes I think that this is not thought about because we focus so much of our energy on humans being the center of the universe —or at least the most prized creature on the planet. I think that it is cool to think about how we benefit the flowers once we are gone (and bacteria too, but providing for flowers is a much more peaceful thought). This goes to show that not all resources are here to provide for humans. We provide for other organisms as well. It’s the circle of life-when one species dies another can benefit and thrive from what the past species has provided.

One other point that really stood out to me was the fact that we shouldn’t WANT life to be so easy on Earth. We would make no progress and become bored.  Struggle creates competition, which sets up our every actions, desires, and motivations (Example A: College…If life was easy on Earth and resources were unlimited…why would anyone have to work at all? We study because we want progress for our society and we need to work hard to provide for our basic necessities).

My favorite statement of this whole section was probably the paragraph that focused on how humans are blessed with our great mind; it is our “proudest distinction”. It then emphasizes our need to use it. How do we use it? We need to find some sort of balance between industrialism and agriculture. We have so much going for our species but so far we seem to be focused more on “mass-produced death” than improving the quality of life, extending our resources, and keeping the environment in a condition that allows ourselves and the organisms around us to live healthy lives.


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