I have to admit; I’m not a huge fan of this book. I think a large part of it was due to the author’s style, which just didn’t agree with me. However, that issue isn’t really what we’ll be discussing, so I’ll try to stick to the content. In the end, every chapter seemed to me to be a history of mankind’s wanton destruction the Meadowlands, interlaced with accounts of the author’s voyages through the area. Perhaps I am somewhat of a ‘purist’ when it comes to nature, but a trash and toxin filled marsh is still filled with trash and toxins. I took issue with the way the material was presented. The “facts” presented in several stories were decidely not true, included as literary devices. An example:
“After having ingested the tiniest portion of leftover New Jersey or New York, these cells then exhale huge underground plumes of carbon dioxide and of warm moist methane, giant stillborn tropical winds that seep through the ground to feed the Meadowlands’ fires, or creep up into the atmosphere, where they eat away at the Earth-protecting layer of ozone.” – pg. 96
Sorry, Mr. Sullivan. Although carbon dioxide and methane do act as greenhouse gasses, this is not related to ozone degradation. No references were given for this statement, even in the appendix. Apparently it just sounded better that way.
Anyways, with regards to the idea of the Meadowlands itself, I don’t think I view it as a wilderness yet. I think it will take more time. Trash is still being imported, as the author mentioned. Power lines still crisscross the marshes, along with train tracks. It may be a more “wild” area than what we are accustomed to, but just because it is desolate and lonely does not make it nature (in my opinion, of course.)