The Trouble with Wilderness/the Meadowlands

The Trouble with Wilderness

People’s views of wilderness and the connotations that go along with it have changed over time. I mean how the westerner cowboys and cowgirls see wilderness? Back before the majority of the United States was urbanized the wilderness was a place of independence and mystery. Surviving in the wilderness meant you were strong and rugged.

  • In the past, wilderness was seen as a negative thing, being described as savage, desolate, and barren.
  • People used to and still modernly believe that being in nature or the wilderness can bring you closer to your God.  Wilderness holds a great religious significance.

Another ideal of nature that I hadn’t put much thought into before I read Cronon’s article is the idea that national and state parks are nothing more than nature to entertain people and their mental association. The only reason we keep them around is so we can go there and feel as though we’re actually in the wilderness. In reality we are not going to the parks to survive, but we visit the parks to pretend we are in the “wild” to prove we can survive there.

  • The idea of wilderness has been created by humans.  According to the author, the idea of wilderness is made up…it does not truly exist because people have created it and to this day, people control it.
  • The author believes that the idea of wilderness is bad because it is used to separate us from nature.  We shouldn’t try to separate ourselves from nature because we are a part of the natural world and are connected to everything that is in it.


In the other book, Meadowlands, the author describes his journey into the Meadowlands right outside of bustling New York City which is one of the most degraded ecosystems in the region. Wetlands are an important asset of a healthy environment and ecosystem. The problem is, we have a tendency to disturb, pollute, and even destroy them.

These are some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet that house a wide variety of plants and animals. So why are we destroying these environments? These environments are vital to the survival of regional animals and plant life. It’s in our best interest to save and preserve these lands because they are imperative to a lot of certain areas. We need to be aware of our actions and how we are affecting the world.

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