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Environmentalists: The 15 Best Edward Abbey Quotes


Edward Abbey was a talented author whose outspoken views on environmental issues would inspire a generation of radical environmentalists. He is best known for his novels  The Monkey Wrench Gang and Desert Solitaire, both of which tackle complicated environmental issues in a fictional and non-fictional context.  Edward Abbey died on March 14, 1989, at the age of 62, of complications from a previous surgery. His dying request was for his body to be transported by pick-up, buried quickly in a sleeping bag instead of a coffin, and without the use of preservatives.

“I want my body to help fertilize the growth of a cactus or cliff rose or sagebrush or tree.”

On March 14th, 1989, his friends and family gathered to honor that wish. According to deadline, The Monkey Wrench Gang will soon be adapted into a feature film after 15 years of development.

Below, we’ve compiled some of the most poetic and profound quotes from the outspoken environmentalist.

Environmentalists: The 15 Best Edward Abbey Quotes

On Escape:

1) “We need wilderness whether or not we ever set foot in it. We need a refuge even though we may never need to go there…. We need the possibility of escape as surely as we need hope.”


On Adventure:

2) “May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”


On Satisfaction:

3) “A great thirst is a great joy when quenched in time.”


On The Great Outdoors:

4) “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.”


On The Key To Life:

5) “Balance, that’s the secret. Moderate extremism.”


On Living In The Present:

6) “To be everywhere at once is to be nowhere forever, if you ask me.”


On Courage:

7) “Without courage, all other virtues are useless.”


On The Beauty In Truth:

8) “Each thing in its way, when true to its own character, is equally beautiful.”


On Life:

9) “All we have, it seems to me, is the beauty of art and nature and life, and the love which that beauty inspires.”


On Growth:

10) “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.” 


On Power:

11) “Though men now possess the power to dominate and exploit every corner of the natural world, nothing in that fact implies that they have the right or the need to do so.”


On Death:

12) “To die alone, on rock under sun at the brink of the unknown, like a wolf, like a great bird, seems to me very good fortune indeed.”


On Society:

13) “Society is like a stew. If you don’t stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top.”


On Time:

14) “We are preoccupied with time. If we could learn to love space as deeply as we are now obsessed with time, we might discover a new meaning in the phrase to live like men.”


On Patriotism:

15) “A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”


Do you have any Edward Abbey Quotes we may have missed? Let us know in the comments.

image via: the great escape 

Written by Quotezine Team

Michelle Quinteros is a pop culture and lifestyle writer with a fancy degree from McMaster University. When she’s not writing for Quotezine, she can be found excessively quoting The Simpsons or binge watching Netflix.

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