Video: “The Cracking of Glen Canyon Dam with Edward Abbey and Earth First!” (1982)

In Edward Abbey’s 1975 novel, The Monkey Wrench Gang, a group of eco-saboteurs plot to blow up the Glen Canyon Dam, which they see as violating a beautiful, wild river. Six years later, a radical new environmental group, Earth First! held its first public protest, dropping a 300-foot plastic “crack” down the side of Glen Canyon Dam. Earth First! contended that mainstream environmental groups were too moderate in the face of the continued destruction of wilderness in the American West.

In the accompanying short video, Edward Abbey explains his opposition to the dam and affirms his belief in subversion and sabotage as a means of last resort.

How does Abbey express his alienation from the dam and link it to a broader set of global problems?

If Abbey had his way, what kinds of energy development would be undertaken in the American West?


“The Cracking of Glen Canyon Damn with Edward Abbey and Earth First! (1982).” Vimeo video, 9:46. Posted by “Sacred Land Film Project,” March 14, 2017.

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