How can I write an essay that argues that "The Damnation of a Canyon" by Edward Abbey shows that dammed rivers can help human beings?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the central themes of Edward Abbey's work has been his staunch opposition to the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River that created Lake Powell, destroying stunning scenery and wildlife habitat, endangering many rare species of fish and animals, and also irreparably destroying many important archaeological sites which provided information about the early inhabitants of the United States.

The original benefits claimed for Glen Canyon Dam were twofold, first providing clean and inexpensive hydropower and second providing regular supplies of water to cities downstream. Trying to write a paper justifying building the dam on the basis of these benefits will be quite difficult, as history has proven Abbey correct in his assessment of the dam's impracticality.

Although the dam did provide water and power for a few decades, the continued shrinkage of Lake Powell, due to leakage and evaporation, has made it unprofitable in recent decades as a source of power, and more water is lost by these mechanisms than is saved by having Lake Powell as a reservoir. While some dams in places such as Quebec do provide clean power with minimal environmental damage, the Glen Canyon Dam is not really a good example of the positive benefits of dams.

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