Environmental Violence

Environmental Violence

Edward Abbey’s 1975 novel, Monkey Wrench Gang is a thriving story about how the environment and experiences can change ones personal characteristics. I think that everyone has the ability to change when it comes to the various obstacles that life seems to throw at us. All of the characters in the book are involved with something that makes the world ‘go round’. Doc Sarvis is a surgeon who literally saves the lives of people who live on our earth. Seldom Smith is a river boat guide who lives his life on the water showing people the ways of the land. George Hayduke is a Vietnam Veteran who fought for our country and risked his life to save what we have. All of these characters have placed themselves in positions where they are all involved with the environment. As they move through their lives taking on each situation they are learning to move their ways through life. The real question is does violence solve these environmental problems?

Looking into who the author himself, Edward Abbey. Abbey was an anarchist at heart and he had worked out his position both in philosophical and practical terms. He worked as a park ranger meaning that he was deep in the middle of our environment and this is important to know when thinking about his writing. All of his personal experiences within the wild is what led him to writing his stories about the earth and what it contains. Since he was up close and personal with environmental violence this gives him the right to write and discuss political issues and environmental violence in his work. Many have said that his writing is blunt, but for the truth to come out and writer has to be straight forward and honest.

Violence is not the answer but when it comes to anything, specifically in America, hurting things seems to be the main route. Our earth is filled with such beautiful things and when we as humans are slowly finding new ways to destroy what we have. The Monkey Wrench Gang follows through with this idea that ‘monkey wrenching’ is what needs to happen with our environment. Protesting or sabotaging the environment is what we all do whether it is apparent or subconsciously. We as humans have forced ourselves upon this earth and have created a serious footprint in the soil. We continue to step forward and leave our tracks on the ground. Sometimes we can say that this is a positive thing and we are moving into the future but in the end we are slowly ruining everything we have. This book discusses this in the eyes of violence.

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“What’s more American than violence?” Hayduke wanted to know.
“Violence, it’s as American as pizza pie.” (176)

Environmental violence is viewed very differently through the eyes of many different people. The controversy between what is hurting the world and what is helping will always be around. Considering the earth is changing so often it is all based around the adaptation of humans the the environment together. But more often than not, humans are changing the world at such a fast pace that evolution can’t seem to keep up. This is where the battle between humans and mother earth starts. Abbey makes environmental violence into an amazing story about his characters who are trying to save the world while in the end they end up just using violence to get what they think the earth needs/wants.

The industrial side of this novel tells a lot about the our current world that we are living in. Everything seems to be filled with this industry that needs to have things done in a timely manner while also making plant of money. This is another reason why we have come to environmental violence. The desire to have a mass production and extreme amounts of money will also cause violence. Not only towards the environment but also to the human race as well. Often in this world we find ourselves fighting over who is considered to be the middle class or the upper class and how do we get there. Human beings seem to have fuzzy vision when money becomes a factor of discussion. They will do anything, even if that means cutting down the forests, killing animals for only certain parts of their bodies, and hurting their own species. Industrial and environmental violence are smoothly linked together by the last word: Violence.

Each and everyday our world is changing and I personally feel as though lately we have been changing for the worse. The Monkey Wrench Gang is based completely around the violence that has succumb to the earth, environment, and human beings. For the most recent environmental violence that we have watched is the decrease in national land from Bear Ears and Grand-Staircase Escalante National Monuments. If this within itself isn’t one of the largest violent acts against the environment then I’m unsure of what is. This book is a sad truth about what we have to deal with on a daily basis along with what our future holds, we are already on the track towards destruction of our environment and even more violence.

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