I found the tale of the many forms of attempted use of the meadowlands to be quite interesting. For two hundred years, men using increasingly more sophisticated technology, set out to tame a tract of nature that did not wish to be conquered. New breakthrough met new adversity, time after time, yet new generations, refusing to accept that such potentially profitable land should be left alone, set out to continue the vicious cycle. The portrait of a toxic swamp as beautiful wilderness in its own right, is initially difficult to accept. However, the sense of adventure flows freely in a land that has such a rich history of human aspiration, success and failure. From the tours in the later part of the book by the old detective, we gain a picture of what more recent generations have accomplished on the meadowlands. However, with the end of the industrial-centric economy in this county, what will come of the meadowlands? Will our generation fall into the same traps developers have fallen into for two hundred years?
The Trouble With Wilderness
Cronon’s thesis is that modernized, upper class humans have idealized the concept of wilderness into something that it, in fact, never was to begin with. Though his arguments are plausible, they are seemingly more of a debate over semantics. Cronon seems only to consider lands set aside by state or federal governments as his “wilderness”. However, there exist numerous parts of the country that are not state owned that fall into the definition of undeveloped and scarcely populated. I also disagree with the assertion that the feeling of romantic grandeur when faced with a mountain is something society has created. It is the feeling of humbling insignificance invoked when faced with something seemingly constructed to a scale in which we are the scale of mere dust that is so attractive.