trouble with wilderness/ 7 things reaction

January 28, 2009

This article provides an interesting viewpoint on wilderness. In class, we defined wilderness as being wild and distinct from the human experience. The article contests that idea by suggesting that the definition of wilderness is a matter of perspective. To the author, we must see wilderness in broader terms than normally. He recognizes that the wold is bigger and encompasses culutre, culture, cities, the natural landscape, the pastoral, and the wild all have a place in his grander image of wilderness. I find his ideas to be logical. After all, creatures do what they need to do to survive in a given environment; human survival meant rising above ‘wilderness’ in a sense. Therefore, though they may have separated from the wilderness as it is defined today, humans have exhibited several fundamental traits that are considered wild and natural.

7 Things Reaction:

I couldn’t have actually defined blog until just recently. At first I was apprehensive about having to rely on my computor skills to get the assignments and turn them in, however I realize now its not so difficult. I would say the best advantage to blogging is that it allows you to track your work directly. I also think that it is  a great way to save paper. I am not sure that the article is correct about the learning benefits of blogging because I find that the best, most moving discussions/ lessons are learned in person.

Save the Park in Roland Park

January 28, 2009

I’m from a part of Baltimore called Roland Park which is one of the oldest planned communities in the country. I have lived in Roland Park all my life, and have never seen my community up in arms the way they have been for the past year. The unrest stems from plans to build an expansive new home for the elderly in the middle of this neighborhood’s 60-acre land. The Baltimore Country Club owns 45 acres of Roland Park land, currently used for sledding, tennis, kids playing, grown-ups letting their dogs romp about, and some wildlife. They plan to sell the land for $12.5 million to the Keswick Multi-Care Center to build 225 independent-living units, 58 assisted-living units and a 40-bed skilled-nursing facility, plus a 403-space underground parking garage. The club believes it has the right to sell the property to whomever it wants — no matter the historic ties it cuts off in the process. In the past few years, the neighborhood association has made three specific offers — $4.25 million — to buy the property, but says it has never gotten a response from club officials.

While the Baltimore region’s population showed a modest increase of about 4 percent from 2000 through 2007, the number of residents ages 55 to 64 and those 85 and older increased by about a third, according to an analysis of census data released this month.

I think this is prized open space and should be preserved for the community’s use. As a kid, I used to sled down that big hill when it snowed. It’s still a part of what makes this such a livable city. You can’t walk through my neighborhood without seeing signs reading “Save the Park in Roland Park” or “Keep Roland Park Green.”

Reading Response

January 28, 2009

The Meadowlands

In the book the author talks about how the meadowlands are supposed to be a place for beautiful animals and wildlife to live in. However, the New Jersey meadowlands are the complete opposite to what a real meadowlands should be. Who knows what you can find there? The water is filthy and disgusting and sometimes takes on the color of anti-freeze. Sullivan goes on to talk about the many serious issues surrounding the problem. He says that people should start to pay better attention to nature around cities. Currently these areas are being abused by what is being dumped and flows into the meadowlands. Unfortunately a lot of people take nature for granted when actually they should start to look into ways of preserving the meadowlands.

The Trouble with Wilderness

I thought this article was quite interesting. Cronon went back hundreds of years and talked about many views of the wilderness. Cronon took his wilderness accounts from Willliam Wordsworth, John Muir, and Theodore Roosevelt. Towards the end of the article Cronon talks about how people should look at trees as natural and how these remote areas of land are limited so people should cherish the wilderness instead of using an ax or saw to cut trees down. Even though trees (wilderness) stand apart from humans, they need to realize how trees can help us solve some of the environmental dilemmas today. Not only that but figure out a way people can include city and wilderness as part of home.

Meadowlands response

January 28, 2009

As a New Jersey Native, I was already quite aware of the pollution problem our fine state has suffered without reading this book. As a fan of the New York Football Giants and the New Jersey Devils, for a long time I frequented the very part of New Jersey that the book focuses on: the Meadow Lands. It is easy to imagine how it became the way it did today, as the book makes clear. Three professional sports teams made their homes in the region, brigning in hundereds of thousands of people and cars a week into the area. With that comes litter, air pollution, and noise pollution. It is also geographically significant. It is a low lying marsh land that sits between the Hudson and Hackensack rivers, just east of New York City in New Jersey. The commuters alone bring ample pollution. Waste from New York City and New Jersey have permanently damaged the area and, while it remains “wild”, it can never be truly classified as wilderness. The human ifluence on the area has scared the area to the point where it is practically a part of the habitat- piles of garbage and waste have accumulated and stayed for so long that they are normal and assimilated. The actual physical appearance of the land is altered not only by garbage, but by building. The construction of roads, railways, and structures such as stadiums have brought more people and still stand. While this is all good to know, I found the book was more interesting in its interpretation of the history of the area. It was informative as to the history of the area, but between the lines I believe there is a hidden theme to the Meadowlands. Such a geographically significant area can show the results of building and progress. Trains, stadiums, super-highways, cars, and cities are all a testament to our ability to make progress and prosper. The Meadowlands functions to connect New Jersey with New York City as well as demonstrate our capabilities. Upon a closer look, can interpret the growth of the tri-state area for what it was- chaotic and larger than life. It was so chaotic that the function of the Meadowlands quickly and carelessly overlooked in favor of progress. Ultimately, I think the book and the Meadowlands show how damaging we can be to the environment, as well as provides historical context to understanding it.

The Meadowlands, Wilderness, 7 Things

January 28, 2009

The Meadowlands:
I was very skeptical of reading this book because I figured it would be boring, like most of the books I have had to read for classes at OWU.  However I was informed by a previous student that most of the books in this class are actually interested, and said why not give it a shot plus I’ll just charge it to my parents so if it does suck I’m not out 15$.  I found this book to be very very easy to read, no challenging words or methods, and pretty much flew through it with enjoyment.  The thing that made this book so easy to read was that every chapter brought something new to the table, either being a journey through a toxic swamp or a run in with a crazy local.  The Meadowlands in visioned in my mind initially was a swampy area, but that’s about it, never really learned about New Jersey in school, only from TV as the Garbage state or Dirty Jerzey.  It never came across my mind that this state was beautiful nor all the rich history it has, expcept for Jimmy Hoffa being buried at Giants Stadium saw it on mythbusters and they busted this myth. My favorite part of this book was the canoe trip with Leo through the Kearney Marsh because I was fond Leo and the thought of them finding treasure made me want to read more, but had too high of hopes.  I couldn’t imagine the smell while on the Marsh or what I would do if some of it got in my mouth.  I was hoping at the end that Sullivan would go to a bio-chemical place and get tested for any diseases he may have picked up from drinking the water, let alone being exposed to everything he did.  All in all I hope that the rest of the books are as good as this.


I found this article to be hit and miss, as some parts were interesting and others had me falling asleep.  I liked the parts about how nature is only what we perceive it to be, because in reality humans can’t survive in nature.  I also was intrigued by the argument around the whole proving atheists/hippies wrong about some aspects of God in nature.  For the most part I thought this article had to much analytical mumbo jumbo and made it difficult to follow at times, but overall give it a C+.

7 Things Google Jockeying:

Immediately reading this several previous memories of professor/teachers shot into my head, because I don’t know how many times an instructor has had to stop with the presentation and “google” something.  I would like to see this implemented more at our school, perhaps some how rig our projectors to do some kind of split screen or something.  In one of my Roman Literature classes, with Frat, a lot of students surf the web while he talks and google either pictures or small synapses of the people Frat is talking about.

7 Things Blogs

I have a pretty good understanding of blogs, but have only blogged about the NBA and never really thought of it as a classroom activity/assignment.  Last semester I did a research paper on blogs in Media Law.  Some cases that are interesting to look at are Cubby v Robert Blanchard and especially Scheff v Bock, where one person sued for Internet defamation against a blogger and won 11.3 million.

Reading response: The Meadowlands and The Trouble with Wilderness

January 28, 2009

The Meadowlands-

This book was very interesting to me, mostly because I have never really taken an in depth look at the meadowlands as a “wildnerness” type of area. Being from New Jersey and living about 25 minutes away from the meadowlands, I found myself questioning why I had never really seen the meadowlands as anything else but a dirty and smelly area, where New York City likes to dump their trash and waste. The first thing that caught my attention about the book, was the map at the very beginning. I am so used to seeing transportation maps of the greater metropolitan area, that this rough sketch of a map was intriguing. It almost takes you through the author’s narrative all by itself. Overall, the book was extremely easy to read and flowed really well. I found myself reading through it quicker than I had anticipated, just because he offers up his stories in varying tones. It read more like a fiction book rather than a textbook, making it much easier to read. This book made me think in a number of different ways. Since I live very close to the meadowlands and travelled through it frequently when in New Jersey, I only had one perspective on it. I never saw it as more than just a dirty, dump of a place that everyone always associated with the state of New Jersey. On the contrary, almost everything surrounding the Meadowlands in New Jersey is relatively “clean” comparatively. New Jersey is the “Garden State” for a reason. The common stereotype that New Jersey is “dirty” and “smelly” and “uncivilized” is, in my opinion, all fabricated in people’s minds because the meadowlands is what they normally see when they come to New Jersey/New York City. People travelling to New York City by plane, always see the dirty industrial side of Newark and Jersey City, right before they land in Newark or New York City, leading them to think that it is dirty. Driving to the City, it is impossible to get there without somehow first driving through the meadowlands. So in my opinion, it is the meadowlands that people normally associate with New Jersey. In some way or another, people know about the meadowlands just because of its association with New Jersey as being “dirty.” That is just my opinion, but I digress.

It was interesting to read this book, because I had never really learned about the history of the meadowlands before. It was interesting to read about how the meadowlands had developed throughout history and how its physical geography really kept it from being developed just like the rest of the metro area. Also, another part that made me think, was the fact that the author actually went out and explored this area. Not only have I never seen the meadowlands outside of my car or a train window, but I never really viewed this as a “safe” thing to do. The section where they encounter mosquitoes really made me realize that this place really is a real life swampy wilderness, a lot like swampy wildernesses elsewhere. This made me question myself as to how I had never really seen this area from its natural perspective. I had smelled the awful stench of the meadowlands before, but I had always associated it to the garbage and sludge and dead bodies. I had never thought that maybe it could be because it really is a natural swamp and that the smell could be from swamps, much like the smell that comes from untouched swamps in the south. I thought about it some more, and I realized that in some ways I had noticed that it was a natural environment, as I had seen turtles and other animals running around the area a few times. However, my only thoughts about that was “how could they possibly survive here?” In any case, this book made me really re-evaluate my whole perspective and view of the meadowlands. I had taken it for granted before, and this book reminded me that it is still a natural wilderness, despite all of its downfalls.

The Trouble with Wilderness-

This article, to be honest, was very long and slow reading. It talked a little bit more in depth than we did in class about the different perceptions of nature and wilderness, and how that perception has changed throughout time. One thing I found to be interesting, was the fact that he brought up the issue of the native american’s viewpoint on the changing face of “wilderness.” He points out that these native americans had always seen this land as not only wilderness, but “home.” This perception came mostly from the fact that the land was previously “pristine” and untouched by western settlers. However, once these native americans were forced from their land, our perception of wilderness has changed drastically. National Parks have now been created “with the result that tourists could safely enjoy the illusion that they were seeing their nation in its pristine, original state, in the new morning of God’s own creation. (23)” This is an interesting concept, because the author points out the flaws that this viewpoint has. We can not claim that this land is pristine anymore, so in reality, wilderness is all about an illusion and is all about perspective.

7 Things-

This article was kind of interesting. One of those that I found particularly interesting, was the “second life” part. I had heard about it before, and it reminds me of something that Sony is doing with their playstation 3. They are essentially trying to combine something like that with ps3 gaming, making it more interesting to meet people that play similar games as you. A little weird, but interesting. One thing I had experience with, was the concept of lecture capturing. In high school, my school had “genious boards” installed in their brand new science center. It was kind of like a smart board, but much more intense. Essentially, it was a standard whiteboard that tracked the specially designed markers with sensors in them, all around the board. This data could then be digitally saved, where the teacher could then post the notes on the internet for everyone to access. It performed like a white board, but saved every single marker stroke that the teacher made. It was very helpful for whenever you missed a class due to a “sickness.”

Abandoned Factories in West Michigan

January 28, 2009

Michigan’s unemployment rate has been at the country’s lowest ever since the economy took a dive, due in part because of the big 3.  Several factories have closed down in the Grand Rapids area, or are planning on it in the very near future, and has left several factories abandoned.  Michigan State University land use expert Soji Adelaja has proposed that these factories should now be transformed into producing alternative energy products.  Adelaja’s recent case study demonstrated that developing brownfield sites, in conjunction with revitalizing empty factories, close to 1.5 million homes can be powered by these alternative energy products.  Furthermore, the production of these products will help bring jobs to a state that has been hit hardest by this economic downfall.
Read article here

Climate-change damage called irreversible

January 28, 2009

I found this article in the Columbus Dispatch about the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration’s (NOAA) reports that claim that the effects of climate change are irreversible at this point in time. In other words, we are past the point of no return. The paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claims that we are past the stage in climate change where whatever we do, will not have an impact on the atmosphere until a long time from now. It claims that even if humans were to stop emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere immediately, the climate change would not cease to affect the earth until around 1000 years from now. They also stress that while this climate change is now irreversible, we must still work to curb carbon emissions in an effort to keep climate change from getting worse and working faster. This is important, as the longer we wait to do something, the higher the levels of irreversible climate change we must adapt to. This may include long lasting droughts in some of the most important areas in the world for cultivating crops to a gradual sea level rise. It is predicted that sea level will rise anywhere from 1-9 meters by 2100. If sea levels rise even 1 meter above current levels, it could encompass an area of 2.2 million square kilometers of land, displacing almost 200 million people. Nearly 634 million people live within 9 meters of the current sea level and 2/3 of the world’s cities with over 5 million people are located in these low lying areas. Climate change may be irreversible now, at least for our generation, but the strides we make today will slow the current rate of climate change.

Project Ideas, or Lack Thereof

January 27, 2009

Really, I guess I’m sort of unsure what I could do a project on.  I tried to look over Molly Verhoff’s project statistics, however I think that it is a little odd that she weighed each specific category rather than counted them. Paper cups weigh significantly less than plastic bottles (for example) and therefore it is hard to determine which products people at OWU are using the most.

I think that it is weird that there are no outside recycling bins around campus, but there are plenty of trash cans scattered throughout campus. Perhaps a project where recycling cans are obtained and placed around campus would be a good idea?

Other than that I am currently unsure. I will try and think more about project ideas tonight and tomorrow, as I will have more free time tomorrow before class.

Any project idea suggestions are welcome!!

The Meadowlands, Trouble with the Wilderness, Google Jockying and Blogs

January 27, 2009

The Meadowlands– Robert Sullivan

I found Sullivan’s The Meadowlands very interesting. I had no clue that “a thirty-two-square-mile wilderness, part natural, part industrial” existed “…five miles from the Empire State Building” (18). I liked learning about the history of the Meadowlands and also learning about the different histories of the people who were involved in the Meadowland’s history. To me this was the best part of the book: I could care less about Sullivan and Dave’s own personal adventures with their canoe.

Some of the “history side stories” that I enjoyed included the story about the great inventer Seth Boyden; General Robert Swartwout’s obsession about trying to develop the Meadowlands; John Schmidt aka Smith’s mosquito work; and lastly the story about Leo Koncher who lost his wife and devoted his time to searching in the Meadowlands.

I think that it would be very interesting to go exploring in the Meadowlands or a place similar to it. It seemes to be filled with so much polluted history that you would never know what you would find.

The Trouble with the Wilderness- William Cronon

This article was, eh, sort of interesting? I felt that it was a little bit long and hard to hold my attention. Some of the things that interested me the most in the article were simple small facts that the author mentioned. For example, I never really thought about how 250 years ago no one wanted to voulentarally go to the wilderness. I also thought that it was interesting that American wilderness aren’t preserved as they way that they were, because technically there used to be Native Americans living on the land. Another one of my favoite facts that Cronon mentioned in the article was that “The very men who benefited from urban-industrial capatalism were among those who believed they must escape its debilitating effects.” I find it very humurous that Cronon mentioned that rich urban men preach about how they need to go to the wilderness in order to become more manly, and how they knock the society that made them who they are.

7 Things You Should Know About Google Jocking- Educause Learning Initiative

I had never heard the term “Google Jocking” before reading this article, but I find that the concept and the term make complete sense. I would find the idea of a “Google jockey” to be very annoying, however. I would feel that the Google jockey wouldn’t be able to pay attention to the presentation, as they would have to find appropriate websites to cooralate to the presentation. I think that the idea of looking up sources on the internet is a good idea, but I would not want two different people doing two different things at once. I feel like it would hinder the presentation rather than enhance it.

7 Things You Should Know About Blogs- Educause Learning Initiative

I didn’t really learn anything new upon reading this article. I believe blogging is well known, and I have used blogging for another one of my classes before at OWU.