The Meadowlands and Today

“Hey Becca what are you reading?”

“A book called The Meadowlands

“Way would you read a book about that dump? That is the crappy place that separates me from New York.”

This was my first encounter with The Meadowlands, and my friend’s response confirmed the assumptions concerning the area.  The overall feeling that these lands have never really been appreciated for what they are. The history of The Meadowlands, as Robert Sullivan tells, is full of interesting and complex stores. The Meadowlands and The Trouble with Wilderness complement each other – both concentrating on the idea that humans are the ones who make wilderness into what it is. The community around the Meadowlands has made the wetlands into some thing that induces fear and is seen as a place only good for dumping trash. The feeling from my friend was that of discontent, for this smelly, gross trash pit. When asked if he ever have stepped foot into this area, my friend replied that he had only see it from the New Jersey Turnpike. 

            My question is this, if we were to clean up the Meadowlands, could be changed into a destination for ecotourism? It is true, similar to the themes of The Trouble with Wilderness, that I might have a romanticized feeling about these wetlands, thinking that they could be transformed into a place for canoeing and viewing the local flora and fauna. Plants and animals are unique to this habitat and are seen at this part of the world. Is there always the potential that animals have adapted to how the land has changed, and does it follow logic that cleaning the area would hurt these organisms?

Or, has the feeling of The Meadowlands run to deep? Are the people with in the community unwilling to change their perspectives of this place? Lastly and most importantly, where are we going to get the money to undo years and years of pollution and waste (let alone the number of bodies they would find)?  Has this “wilderness” permanently turned into the negative synonym that we read of the first day of class?

One Response to The Meadowlands and Today

  1. John Krygier says:

    A bit brief but really good comments. In particular the idea of the Meadowlands as potential ecotourism site. There is some effort towards this with urban environmentalism, but I believe (but may be wrong) that the focus tends to be on parks and other more naturey places in cities. So a potential project topic would be to look at less pristine locales for ecotourism – like the Meadowlands. Such projects may make us more aware of the nature around us, since non-pristine places are so common.

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