The Great American Desert

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The Great American Desert

In the article, “The Great American Desert”, Edward Abbey (1977) is trying to convince the general public that the desert is not a place for humans to explore. He talks a lot about the dangers of the desert and tries to convince the readers that the desert is not worth wasting your time and going and visiting. I disagree with Abbey. Anyone who has some knowledge about the desert and takes a class or is accompanied by an expert who knows a lot about the desert should be able to venture out in the many great American deserts.

Abbeys first survival hint to the desert is, “stay out of there. Don’t go. Stay home and read a good book.”(p. 204) What fun is staying home if people have the chance to go and explore the desert? Getting a hands on experience and being able to explore the desert in real life is more educating than sitting at home reading a dull book on the desert. David Alloway (1999) once said, “the historical fact is however, that the human race was cradled in arid lands and people are well adapted to survive in deserts.”( 1) Alloway is a teacher at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and he teaches a desert survival class. His class philosophy is “not to fight the desert, but to become part of its ecosystem.”( 1) So the first hint or suggestion before you attempt to go into the desert is being prepared.

Being prepared before someone enters the desert should be their number one priority. First off Alloway said people need to have a hat with a wide brim and closed crown so it will protect your head and face from sunlight. Next, wear loose fitting long sleeves and pants so that air can be circulated easy. Sunglasses that exclude ultra-violet light are a necessity to help prevent cataracts later on in life. Some other areas of preparation are carrying sufficient amounts of water, first aid and survival kit for the desert environments, and some useful knowledge. ( 2) These are the major things needed in the preparations of going on and exploration in the desert.

The next point Abbey tried to make was about the dangerous animals out in the desert that put a threat to a person life.

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