Sample Research Paper on Ecodefense Analysis

Biographical information

Ecodefense is a book forward that was written by Edward Paul Abbey. Abbey was born in Indiana, he was one of the most notable American authors and essayists; he is credited for writing about the environment and many other issues. Abbey was born on January 29, 1927; he died on March 14, 1989 (Bryant 1). His most famous work is the novel the Monkey Wrench Gang, the novel has been cited as an inspiration by many radical groups in America and around the world. This study will analyze Abbey’s Ecodefence through the concepts of uniqueness, the techniques used by the author, the central argument of the writing and how the techniques define the piece.

Reason author’s work is unique

Edwards Abbey’s ecodefense is unique because it rises at a period when many people across the United States were disillusioned toward the American political system, the counterculture, and the contemporary conservation organizations. Despite the fact that many laws concerning the environment had been passed, it was widely evident that the ecological degradation was still present. Through the book forward, Abbey is presented as an outspoken champion of the new radical brand of environmentalist who condones the issue of sabotage and vandalism, practices that have  been dubbed as Ecodefense (Brinkley 3). The book’s foreword by Abbey is significant as it articulates in fictive forms a thesis that would make a great impact in the environmental campaigns.

As opposed to many environmentalists who tried to influence change through the bureaucratic means and tried to work within the institutional framework, the characters that are presented in Abbey’s book break the law, they lash out all the symbols of the American Technocracy. Abbey advocates for the spiking of the trees as a way of defending the wild nature against the ruthless hands of the American industrialism (Brinkley 4). It is evident that Abbey has an anarchist mistrust for the political groups and the power structures that make him to be fanatically skeptical about the ability of the government to maintain healthy wilderness ecosystems. As is presented, the concepts of greed and corruptions are implicit elements of the government and governments tend to oppress and practice a totalitarianism kind of rule. It is interesting to note that Abbey equates the concept of freedom with the wilderness (James and Merickel 349). The state is against the wilderness, philosophically and by use of conceptual ways

Techniques used by the author

To evaluate the techniques that the author uses in this book, it is good to understand the narrative tension that Abbey creates between people and property, whether in the fictional world of the novel or in the real life (Brinkley 7). It is true that if someone is willing to break a bulldozer, spike a tree or take out a bridge, then you run the risk of not just damaging property but of hurting people (James and Merickel 348). Abbey uses this tension; tension, connecting property destruction plus hurting living things. To develop his plot, he tries to resolve the tension, however, he outlines an ethical imperative; it is acceptable to destroy property in the defense of wild things, but it is not acceptable to do violence to the humans or other living things (James and Merickel 348)

Unlike many environmentalists, Mr. Abbey takes a completely different technique of showing the reason why people must defend the environment to the best of their ability; he relates the wilderness to our very own homes (James and Merickel 348). He says that when our homes are invaded action is required and it is required immediately. This shows the level of passion in his argument; he utilizes some inflammatory languages, for example, “Jelly fish government” or encouraging people to spike trees (James and Merickel 348). The correlation of the wilderness with home and the need to defend it is the main argument in Abbey works (James and Merickel 348).

One major implication of the way that Abbey presents the wilderness is that we own it. Abbey goes into detail in trying to show the dangers that are faced by the wilderness, however, he has done very little to show that the wilderness as an equal to us (Bryant 23). In his arguments, it is directly that he wants people to get angry; he wants people to feel as if they are being attacked and he is able to do this perfectly by the utilization of the invasion metaphor. However, despite his efforts, it is sad to note that Abbey does not go deeper than the “wilderness is home” ideology (James and Merickel 348). The way Abbey constructs his argument reveals that, he assumes the reader is already on his side.

Abbey targets a very specific audience and do not pay attention to the rest. This can be a major problem because other people, who read his work, may not take him seriously because of the radical language that he utilizes (James and Merickel 348). While advocating for the destruction of property in the defense of the wilderness, Abby draws a clear ethical line between people and property. On its surface, the shooting of the argument appears to represent a deep change in the author’s ethical thinking or a significant philosophical significance (Abbey 9).

Arguments central to this piece

The ecodefence argument as shown by Abbey runs as follows; people are entitled to defend themselves against the home invasions or against the attacks (James and Merickel 348). The local forest should be peoples home; it is home for all the people who live in the neighborhood. Every person is entitled to take measures so that they can defend the local forest against the attacks (James and Merickel 349). The arguments by Abbey can be perceived as an appeal to the higher law, this is because the law of self-defense goes over the prima facie prohibition against the destruction of the destruction of another’s person’s property. The law of self-defense allows for violations of the Prima facie prohibition against damaging or destroying of another person’s property (James and Merickel 348)

The ecodefense article serves as a call to action and a warning. Abbey condemns the different agencies that have motivated the destruction of the American Wilderness. He names some notable figures as the major instruments that have participated in the agencies engaging in the assaults (James and Merickel 348). According to Abbey, the representative government in the United States has broken down; the legislators do not represent the interest of the public or even the people who voted for them. The government represents the interest of the commercial industry that finance their political campaigns and financial interests (James and Merickel 348).

Abbey contends that it is unfortunate, that the US Government represents money and not the people that it represents, he explains that the government has forfeited the people’s allegiance together with their moral support (James and Merickel 349). Abbey explains that people owe the government nothing apart from the taxes that people give under the threats of seizure of property, imprisonment or in some cases; death by gunfire, Abbey contends that this is the nature of the Mega machine that is now destroying the American wilderness (James and Merickel 349). The wilderness, according to Abbey is the ancestral home of all the people and all the living creatures on earth. Wilderness marks the final dwelling place of animals like bear, moose and elk. For many people, the wilderness is more than a home (James and Merickel 349).

According to Abbey, the defense of the wilderness is a right that ought to be carried out by all means, he says “we have a right to resist and we have the obligation not to defend that which we love would be dishonorable (James and Merickel 348). Abbey contends that a majority of the American people have, shown that, they support the ideal, of the preservation of the wilderness, as the essayist says, even the politicians are forced to pretend to support the idea, and they have come to a realization that a vote against the wilderness is a vote against their own re-election (James and Merickel 349). In this sense, people are justified to defend the environment, just like they would do with the public homes and the private homes not only through the use of the common law but also by the use of the common belief. The ideology of Eco defense means that we should fight back, it is advisable to sabotage. Though the concept of Eco defense is risky it is ethically imperative (James and Merickel 349).

Abbey text can be described as a culmination of various forces that aligned themselves in the defense of wild nature during the time period as has been denoted in the article. In this article, Abbey articulates a seditious spirit and attitude towards the radical environmentalists (James and Merickel 349).

Uniqueness of the writer’s arguments

As mentioned in the beginning of this study, the arguments by Abbey are very important and have made a political impact that is still being felt today (James and Merickel 349). The argument has inspired and continued to inspire many environmentalists for the purpose of defending the environment (James and Merickel). Whether or not we agree with this, many groups like the earth first took their cue from these writings. The Eco defense has drawn a very stark line between those who motivate the destruction of the wilderness and those who are there to defend it (James and Merickel).

Abbey has greatly inspired a generation of environmentalist to seek means of controlling the environment (James and Merickel 349). He has influenced many people to think about the land in terms of the ecosystems and not by the utilization of the geopolitical systems (James and Merickel 349). His combination of impassioned writing with the concept of direct actions has won him many fans and introduced the concept of habitat preservation that was not previously articulated, this in turn has helped to spark a radical trend in the environmental activism (James and Merickel 349).




How the writers’ techniques help define this piece

The writer’s technique has helped define the concept of ecodefense as an illegal act of the sabotage that is associated with environmentalism (James and Merickel 349). In his appeal, Abbey has contended that the threat posed by different factors in the environment results in damages. Ecodefense is in support of serious economic damage that will result to the temporary or the permanent stop to the activities that are considered to be unwanted (Abbey 34). Through his writing techniques, Abbey contends that ecodefense is ethical as long as it is carried out with care and that it does not support violence (Bryant 23). It is therefore not too much to infer that Abbey writings are more focused on bringing an optimistic and public friendly view of the radical environmental politics into the mainstream than what had been provided earlier on by the historical records. Abbey has utilized the concept of idealism and humor to encourage people to save what is left (Brinkley 23).


In conclusion, Abbey text is highly effective, he advocates for the message of ecodefense that launches him to the forefront of a radicalized set of environmentalism, his influence is immensely profound and enduring; however, his advocacy has been problematic from a practical point of view. Abbey can be idealized as one of the great Adams, who had a free spirit that eventually finds liberty. His writing is an expression of freedom and the American Wilderness.


Works cited

Abbey, Edward. “Earth First and the Monkey Wrench Gang.” Environmental Ethics (1990): 94-95.

Brinkley, Douglas. The Monkey Wrench Gang. New York: Harper Collins, 2006.

Bryant, Paul. “Edward Abbey and Enviromental Quixoticism.” Western American Literature (2007): 37-43.

James, Missy and Alan P Merickel. Reading Literature and Writing Argument (5th Edition). New York: Longman Publishers, 2012.