The Meadowlands

I thought this picture did a nice job of symbolizing a fundamental theme in this book. From just glancing at this photo that shows all of the human influence on the meadowlands, it looks chaotic. One of the repeated phrases in this book was “What are we going to do about the meadowlands” or “anything would be better than what it is” or someone just trying to “improve” it, like it was originally some waste of space because it couldn’t provide them with a profit. All these attempts at “progression”, though, just ended up creating more and more problems, and created chaos as a result. Roads cracked and sank, athletes were exposed to dangerous conditions and developed cancer, and pollution created multiple problems. Every attempt to cure this eyesore just damaged the land (and the things living on it) further. I thought the trapper and the fisherman chapter with the conversation between the two environmentalists, Smith and Sheehan, had a lot of cool points, one of which was said by Sheehan. He said “And for us to stand on the banks of the river and do the Moses thing and tap the phragmites three times with the rod and expect the river to do what we want, it’s kind of like an imposition of our human values.” (197) Smith responded by justifying human interference by saying “we’re the ones who screwed it up!” (197) It just illustrates the problem of how can we tell when our “progress”, even if it has good intentions, does more harm than good?

One Response to The Meadowlands

  1. John Krygier says:

    Decent comments, expand a bit though. Pull out most relevant issues or most interesting issues (according to you) and google and include additional information in the blog posting. Include images. You may have tried to include a photo – not sure if that is what you are referring to in the start of the posting. Ask if having technical issues. End with some discussion questions regarding broader issues.

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