Camoflauged Wilderness

(Aerial View of the Meadowlands)

As a native of Colorado, I have never been nor heard of the Meadowlands. Located just 5 miles west of New York City, the Meadowlands is a half-developed, half-wild, heavily dumped on area of swampland. Throughout New York and New Jersey’s history, this area has been under constant siege to urbanize, yet somehow nature has won the war. Throughout the book, Sullivan is captivated by the complexity of how vital this land has been to urban development, exploration, history, and science.It seems no matter how much waste dumps in, or how many communities are built up in the area, nature takes back what it is theirs and preserves this half-wilderness, half-dump site as a truly unique place. Over and over people have tried to harness its land for mechanical use and envisioned utopian living accommodations, but to little or no avail.

There is an important distinction between the Meadowlands as a wilderness and a more traditional wilderness, viewed more as a place isolated of human existence. Almost everyone views places like Yosemite or the Grand Canyon as sublime and would enthusiastically support their preservation. The Meadowlands however has already been abducted, and does not demand salvation. If the general populace is taken on a tour of both the Meadowlands and the Everglades, the difference would be clear. With this book, Sullivan has ultimately highlighted a way to put into perspective the alteration of modern life on the natural world.

Raphael

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