“Desert Solitaire” Presentation by Todd D’Andrea

January 31, 2016

Excerpts and Themes of Interest

In Abbey’s introduction to “Desert Solitaire” he describes his method in writing on page x, “I have tried to create a world of words in which the desert figures more as medium than as material. Not imitation but invocation has been the goal.

Abbey carries a strong theme of revolt against industrial man and risk taking throughout the work which begins on the last page of the introduction, “You’re holding a tombstone in your hands. A bloody rock. Don’t drop it on your foot-throw it at something big and glassy. What do you have to lose?”

Experience and personality wise I have a strong sense of identity with who Abbey was. How he writes is in a tone and candor that I relate to personally. On page 4 he writes, “I try to pull on my boots but they’re stiff as iron from the cold. . . until they are malleable enough to force my feet into.”

On multiple occasions in the service we would do 3, 4, and 10 day field excursions. There would be mornings we would get up before dark around 4 or 5 in the morning in 30 degree weather. I can remember waking up freezing on days like this with wet gear and  wet socks from the night before, trying to dress in the dark with a flashlight and boots that did not want to wake up either.

Ft_H_1(Facing East toward Sierra Vista, AZ)


Ft_H_3  (On the grounds of Ft. Huachuca, AZ.  That is Bill Dill. All 6 foot 8 of him, a close friend of mine.  We would do field excursions in the mountains to the rear using wet wipes for a shower and socks for toilet paper on occasion.)

Page 15: “There’s another disadvantage to the use of the flashlight: like many other mechanical gadgets it tends to separate a man from the world around him.” Abbey’s goal is the “personification of the natural”, attempting to confront the bare bones of existence.

Page 16: “I am twenty mile or so from the nearest fellow human, but instead of loneliness I feel loveliness. Loveliness and quite exultation.”

As a kid growing up in the 90’s there was a very popular book called “The Hatchet” that stuck with me over the years. I was in awe of this teenager’s survival in the novel and Abbey’s tone of quite satisfaction of self-sufficiency is something that reminded me of this work.


Page 48: “. . . The discovery of something intimate-though impossible to name- in the remote”.

Reawakened awareness of the wonderful.

Industrial Tourism (Chapter 5)


Page 62: “. . . and hear, while thunderstorms rumble over mountains, the fall of a dollar bill on   motel carpeting.”

Page 159: “There is no lack of water here, unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.”

Havasu (Chapter 13)

As a sophomore in college in the summer of 2007 with a group of roughly 8 students and a Sociology professor we took a 2 week trip to the Southwest which included the 14 mile hike within the canyon to see the “People of the green water”, the Havasupai Indians. Much of what Abbey describes still seems to be the landscape to this day. The waterfall pictured below was a main attraction; the majority of tourists using the rocks to the left as a sort of beach area. The water was freezing in June, but very beautiful. I remember knocking our host’s TV satellite loose with a football on a 30 yard pass; likely one of the most important sources of technology in the whole area. For those who did not want to hike back to where our van was, you could fly out of    the canyon on a helicopter.



(This was where we set up tents for those couple of nights.  The satellite dish was on this house.)

Page 331: “Balance, that’s the secret. Moderate extremist.”

Abbey seems to be pained and emotional in his return to civilization. The desert is dear to him, something that goes beyond passion and aesthetics. This area is personal to him, part of his being, something that deserves to be protected and cherished. A deviant from the rat race, how many times a day do we wish we could escape this same script we must play out every day?

Group Discussion Questions

Page 25: On the subject of anthropomorphism, do you agree with Abbey when he says that many of the nonhuman undomesticated animals experience emotions unknown to us?

Page 31: The assertion that “Love flowers best in openness and freedom”.

Page 72: Our obsession with time and moving toward a love of space.

Page 299: Abbey states, “. . . In precisely what way is the desert more alluring, more baffling, more fascinating than either the mountains or the oceans?”






Current Event: Hawaii’s Coral Reefs Threatened

January 31, 2016

Hawaii’s coral reefs make up 85% of the United States’ coral reefs and they are currently under threat. Overfishing, chemical runoff, climate change, urbanization, and soil erosion are a few of the factors that are threatening the coral reefs. Fishing is a common career and hobby for Hawaiian citizens as well as tourists and could lead to a crash in the marine ecosystem. Fishing out of season and without a license negatively impact the marine ecosystem because killing juvenile fish means they cannot replenish their population. It doesn’t help that even when fishing is in season fisherman under-report their catches.

Chemical runoff occurs from fertilizers and pesticides put on crops and grass. When it rains these chemicals then runoff into the ocean. The chemicals increase the acidity of the ocean and subsequently kill the coral and threaten the wildlife.

Climate change is causing an increase in the Earth’s temperature. This means ocean’s water temperatures are increasing also. Coral are sensitive to the increased temperature and are dying off in the warmest parts of the ocean.

Urbanization and soil erosion cause increasing amount of sediments to enter the ocean. The sediment then ruins the water quality, which also threatens the livelihood of the coral.

Obviously, the coral reefs of Hawaii face many threats. Solutions include stricter regulations of fishing and use of chemicals like fertilizer, reduced carbon emissions, and a current-generator of some kind to flush the water near the coral reef of sediment. More information on these threats can be found here and here.

Also, I am state chair of Hawaii for Mock Convention this Friday. We are looking to amend part of the Republicans platform to help protect the coral reefs. So if anyone else is participating we will probably need signatures to support our amendment!


Amanda Marshall: Week 4 Current Event

January 29, 2016

On January 14 in what could be described as a horrible oxymoron, environmentalist and major contributor to coral reef protection Paul Allen’s (co-founder of Microsoft) yacht destroyed 14,000 square feet of coral reef in the Caribbean. While sailing, the cofounders 162 million dollar yacht’s anchor was lowered and dragged behind the yacht. When the crew was alerted that the boats chain might be causing damage they were cooperative with authorities, but it was too late. It had already destroyed 80% of the areas coral. Even though Paul was not on board, it has been estimated that he will be fined 18 million dollars for the incident. Smart tourism and recreation is important for preserving our planets highly traveled habitats. As areas become more popular, they are at risk of being damaged by humans traveling through. An increase in trash and litter due to tourism has become a huge issue in Costa Rica. Hopefully others will learn from this incident. They will realize that they need to be smart tourists and learn about the area they are traveling and future destruction will be avoided. Coral Reef

Project/Moore Reading (Emily Scott)

January 27, 2016


I am planning on becoming vegan this semester. The following is a list of things I will complete.

  1. Research how to healthily transition into becoming vegan
  2. Conduct interviews with vegans to determine what works for them here at OWU as well as at home.
  3. Maintain a record of what I eat and what I most likely would have consumed if I were not vegan to create an approximate reference for how being vegan quantifiably effects my the community.
  4. Keep a record of what techniques work for me becoming vegan and the struggles I have on my way.


Current Event:

The Hubble telescope recently discovered that the galaxy NGC 5408 is an irregular galaxy as opposed to a regular galaxy like three fourths of the known galaxies. The galaxy was discovered in 1834. Being an irregular galaxy means that the it’s a can’t be generally grouped into easily identifiable regular shapes like spirals and ellipticals. This galaxy is known for it’s ultra luminous x-ray source that may be a sign of an intermediate mass black hole which are very hard to find. NGC was presumably a planetary nebula, a gaseous cloud or gas generated by a dying star until it was discovered that it’s just a galaxy that doesn’t conform to a regular shape.


Garbage Matters: Concepts in New Geography of Waste

Sarah Moore

“Reframing waste as a resource addresses part of what is missed by thinking solely of waste as hazard.”

The idea that trash is a commodity to be utilized makes it easier to find places to put it. However, just like recycling, we need to split up the trash into different areas.

“Waste as hazard, therefore, focuses research on ethical questions of the just distribution of toxic materials throughout society and demands intervention in terms of increased regulation of the disposal and production of such materials.”

Toxic waste has always been hard to remove so finding a place to put it will hopefully improve with technological and biological research breakthroughs.

“While they have different foci, work that posits waste as a simple commodity that can be exchanged to create wealth and economic growth in and among countries has some similarities with work that constructs waste as resource.”

One problem with distributing the waste to countries for increased economic growth is travel cost.

“The process of disposing of waste becomes ‘thoroughly constitutive of social and indeed ethical activity’”

When dealing with relationships between countries, there is always a problem of making sure both are environmental safe. We continuously create waste, therefore, if we were to create a safe, resourceful way to dispose of it, there is a lot of economic and environmental gains to be made.

Garbage matters: Concepts in new geographies of waste

January 27, 2016

The article, by Sarah Moore, uses a schematic diagram to show all of her readers that waste is important to everyone, and that it defies our classic categorical logic. It doe not easily fit in one category or another category because it is viewed by people who have both or either a first or third party experience with garbage. Moore does a good job at categorizing the four main ways in which people think about garbage, and how we think about it dictates how we act towards it.

Moore categorizes garbage into the four categories depicted on her schematic diagram including conceptual approaches in positive relational, positive dualist, negative dualist, and relational dualist. All of which she goes into much greater depth describing individual characteristics of each quadrant in her schematic diagram. Bellow are the overall quadrant meanings or the way in which she separated each group from the other.

Positive Dualist- garbage is thought of as a hazard or largely external to society

Negative Dualist- garbage is referred to as “out of Place” and “disorder”

Positive Relational- garbage is discussed here to mean “filthy” or “disgusting”

Negative Relational- garbage is defined as something that is “invaluable” and “undefinable”

Moore is unique in her approach to garbage because she uses social science research on garbage to make connections between politics, and research on converging and diverging notions on garbage in modern society. How the way in which people view garbage varies greatly, and due to the increased work on waste and waste disposal is becoming more important. As populations are growing and expanding their footprints over more and more land, there are fewer and fewer places for garbage to be disposed of or dumped in areas that are not near suburban housing developments, cities, and urban housing developments.

-Ashley Tims

Sarah Moore

January 27, 2016

After reading Garbage Matters: Concepts in new geographies of waste, I felt like it was a lot of information on waste, but nothing that really helped answer the question of what we should do with this waste. I think that it gave a good insight on how we can classify waste, and how waste is looked at in society and how it has changed, but I don’t see anything that specifically provides a solution to this waste. Now I know that it is not her job to find a solution, but I keeps poking at the back of my brain. After looking at all of the ways that we classify waste, it frustrates me that there aren’t better ways to dispose of this waste, or figure out solutions.

Current event

January 27, 2016

In the article I read called, “Ecotourism, natural resource conservation proposed as allies to protect natural landscapes” talks about how environmentalists should team up with ecotourists to help preserve nature. In the article they talk about how environmentalists usually hate the idea of teaming up with ecotourist, since that usually means that people will be hiking all over the protected land, but new evidence supports the notion that it is beneficial for them to team up.

The main appeal for this team work is because of the economic boost that tourism brings to the table. in the article they say that the tourism industry brings in about 7.6 trillion a year. They also said that it produces some 200 million jobs globally. In the article they talk about how many people sell plots of land that have unrealized potential for ecotourism.