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Desert Solitaire

How Money Influences People's Decisions

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Arches National Park

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Fees are collected at the entrance to Arches National Park.

In Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey talks about how the Park Service is catering to the needs of Industry Tourism.  They are doing this because they have realized where money can be made.  The Park Service has started to forget the weekend explorer who likes to escape civilization for a while and listen to himself think.  Now the Park Service is concentrating their efforts on what they believe has to be done to make the more of the public come to the National Parks.  The people they are targeting now are not the ones who actually enjoy the solitude and peacefulness nature offers.  Instead they are beginning to appeal to those who do not enjoy walking around on the hard ground and breathing fresh air, but would rather snap photographs of the sights they see from the comforts of their recreational vehicles.  These people do not really care about what happens to the parks, all they want is a new page for their scrapbook.  The Park Service is simply got the wrong green in front of their eyes.  Fees are now required to enter parks and camp.  Also, concession areas have been setup to make even more profit from the park visitors.  They do not care as much about the parks as they do about the profit made from visitors.  Communities close to National Parks also want parks to be easily accessible and inviting to tourists because their economies strengthen as more people visit the parks.  Also, contractors look forward to paving roads and building campsites.  With all these pressures for developing the National Parks, it is not surprising that many parks are being developed.  However, it is still amazing that an organization setup to protect our National Parks for generations to come can justify cutting up beautiful landscapes with its only intention being profit.

Greed plays a role in the chapters discussing the search and mining of uranium as well.  When uranium was found to be located in the ground around Moab, Utah, treasure-seekers immediately ran out and made claims on ground that at one time was thought to be completely useless.  They started developing mines and pulling ore from the ground not concerning themselves with the consequences of handling radioactive material.  All they were concerned about was taking as much of this material from the ground as possible before their market was lost.  This shows how careless men can be when it comes to making money.  Many people get so caught up in getting more that they lose sight of what is important in life.  As they become obsessed, they make excuses about their behavior.  They say it is to improve their lives or make things easier for their children.  None of these lies hold up because time begins to tell the story.  Many people end up losing their savings or even their life because of their reckless decisions.  These results were no different in Moab when large corporations started causing the smaller owners to lose their uranium operations.  The greed for money is something that haunts human nature and must be overcome by people or else it will take them over.

 

by Clint Ary

“We need the possibility of escape as surely as we need hope.”