Edward Abbey : Radical Eco-Revolutionary and Author on Behalf of the Earth
Image::4 Edward Paul Abbey was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues, criticism of public land policies, and anarchist political views. His best-known works include the novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, which has been cited as an inspiration by environmental and eco-terrorist groups, and the nonfiction work Desert Solitaire.
Abbey met his fifth and final wife, Clarke Cartwright, in 1978, and married her in 1982. Together they had two children, Rebecca Claire Abbey and Benjamin C. Abbey.
Image::5 In 1984, Abbey went back to the University of Arizona to teach courses in creative writing and hospitality management. During this time, he continued working on his book Fool's Progress.
In July 1987, Abbey went to the Earth First! Rendezvous at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. While there, he was involved in a heated debate with an anarchist communist group known as Alien Nation, over his stated view that America should be closed to all immigration. Abbey devoted an entire chapter in his book Hayduke Lives! to the events that took place at the Rendezvous. In autumn of 1987, the Utne Reader published a letter by Murray Bookchin which claimed that Abbey, Garrett Hardin, and the members of Earth First! were racists and eco-terrorists. Regarding the accusation of "eco-terrorism", Abbey responded that the tactics he supported were trying to defend against the terrorism he felt was committed by government and industry against living beings and the environment.
Abbey died on March 14, 1989, aged 62, in his home in Tucson, Arizona. His death was due to complications from surgery; he suffered four days of bleeding into his esophagus due to varices caused by portal hypertension, a consequence of end stage liver cirrhosis. Showing his sense of humor, he left a message for anyone who asked about his final words: "No comment." Abbey also left instructions on what to do with his remains: Abbey wanted his body transported in the bed of a pickup truck and wished to be buried as soon as possible. He did not want to be embalmed or placed in a coffin. Instead, he preferred to be placed inside of an old sleeping bag and requested that his friends disregard all state laws concerning burial. "I want my body to help fertilize the growth of a cactus or cliff rose or sagebrush or tree," said the message. For his funeral, Abbey stated, "No formal speeches desired, though the deceased will not interfere if someone feels the urge. But keep it all simple and brief." He requested gunfire and bagpipe music, a cheerful and raucous wake, "and a flood of beer and booze! Lots of singing, dancing, talking, hollering, laughing, and lovemaking."
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