Carter Rae: Desert Solitaire

National parks do more than preserve the beauty of the land. They keep habitats free from mankind interference, providing a safe haven for the animals and plants that occupy a specific area. But beside the physical and legal parts of what makes up a national park is the symbolic part. A national park is a pledge to the future in keeping our environment the way it is. Without them then we would have no way of showing people what untouched life is in an area unaffected by civilization. Since we do have them however, it makes sense for people to use them correctly in order to both have a pleasant experience and keep the peace between the wildlife.  This is what Edward Abbey’s “Desert Solitaire” gets at.

Abbey uses his experience as a park ranger at Arches National Monument to present various ideas about how to change the interaction tourist and visitors have with the land. One idea that stood out was when he talked about was completely throwing out the idea of having cars within the confines of the park, instead opting for bikes and strollers while also promoting that people actually get out and walk. This idea makes sense due to the fact that the land is for the most part left untouched with only asphalt roads and some facilities inhabiting the land. People go to national parks to be closer to nature and get away from suburban or urban life which is also theme Abbey brought up. Humans have gotten too used to the modern day life that is filled with grocery stores that provide food and homes that are efficiently heated. He claims that it is good for people to get back to the roots. The idea of getting people out of the car makes sense as it acts as a barrier between the people and nature, not allowing people to feel the wild.

Abbey also described the inherent danger that lurks within the parks. Wild animals such as bears, wolfs, and snakes often come to mind when thinking of possible things to look out for but also cliffs and ledges that exist within the landscape. He also explains his own encounter with death while out in the park which led me to the thinking that when we enter the park, we are at the mercy of the wilderness. Caution but also a sense of respect is needed to safely view what the parks has to offer. Respect for the habitats of the animals that live there. The concept of treat others how you like to be treated comes to mind when I think of this. Respect the wilderness and the wilderness will respect you.


Current News:

The G20 summit recently wrapped up in China. The worlds biggest players were all in attendance as they thought they worked out something that was beneficial to the environment and would actually work. China and the US, two of the world’s biggest emitters of pollution, joined the Paris climate agreement that will place a cap, among other things, on the amount of pollution they give out. However numerous people agree that overall it was a failure as time tables were not laid out. There is no deadline marking the deadline for China and US to ratify the declaration. Also, the other deadline that was absent was in regards to the ending of state subsidies for fossil fuels.

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