Environmentalists celebrate the legacy of the late Edward Abbey

By. R. Ammon Ayres

SALT LAKE CITY- The author of popular radical environmental novels was remembered thanks to the generous donations Calif. attorney Eric Hvolboll.

Last Sunday afternoon in the University of Utah’s Marriot Library, former appraiser for the popular television program “Antiques Roadshow” and book collector Ken Sanders hosted a presentation for the late author Edward Abbey. This celebration preceded the opening of an exhibit of a historical collection of Abbey’s autographed books, contracts, movie posters, essays and just about everything with Abbey’s name on it. The many supporters that showed, both old and young, came to remember the author and sustain his environmental ideals.

“Ed Abbey still lives… Abbey is selling books better than ever now that he’s dead,” said Sanders. Sanders said Abbey’s books are an important part of history, the radical words in his novels drive his ongoing growing fandom towards going green and advocating the environment to preserve the earth and its beauty.

“I believe Ed Abbey’s environmental ideals are relevant more than ever today,” said a friend of Sanders and attendant John Dalton.

“The Wilderness needs no defense, only defenders,” said Sanders quoting Abbey. Sanders quoted Abbey’s humorous yet serious view on the environment, allowing the late Abbey to speak for himself and resonate his beliefs.

Abbey believed in enjoying his problems, but also said, “I enjoy my enemies problems too,” said Sanders quoting Abbey. Sanders used this occasion of celebration to remember Abbey and create awareness of the danger the environment is facing.

Sanders proclaimed the recently sentenced Tim DeChristopher as an environmental hero. DeChristopher was found guilty when tried in federal court for bidding on public land that he couldn’t pay for, to protect it from the oil companies.

Dalton had a different point of view on whether DeChristopher was a hero not. “Whether Tim is a hero or not, is debatable. Being a lawyer, I believe there are better ways to protect the environment, especially through the legal system,” said Dalton.

“What he had to say in both his fiction, and essays resonate… people still see his beliefs as relevant, which is key,” said Associate Dean of Special Collections Greg Thompson when asked why Abbey was an important figure to be remembered.

Thompson was hopeful that the ultimate outcome of the presentation would “help the public understand the importance of research libraries, and collecting pieces to further environmental movements and bring attention to Ed’s books.”

Hvolboll’s donation to the University of Utah was well received by those who came to the program. Thompson believed that Abbey’s collection would bring many who have yet to read one of Abbey’s classic novels to an understanding of why the environment is such an important asset, and why extraordinary measures must be taken to preserve the earth. The actions to take care of the environment must be drastic to make the world a better place for tomorrow, according to Sanders.

“I have yet to read any of Ed’s books, but I’m excited to see what all the hype is about,” said attendant Rosa, (who wishes to have her full name withheld).

“I’m most interested in discovering how Ed Abbey writes his books,” said Rosa.

Abbey’s legacy and confidence about the environment has made an incredible effect with his ecological devout followers, and Abbey continues to find new fans, which share the same ideals. The Edward Abbey collection will be on display all month.