Cronon “The Trouble with Wilderness” and Sullivan The Meadowlands

The discussion in these two books over the true measure of “wilderness” and the place of humans and human things in consideration with nature. The common theme between both of these books revolves around this idea that humans are both separate from nature and ‘wilderness,’ and yet innately intertwined with it simultaneously. The argument that Sullivan makes through his book captures this meaning of nature in a way many people overlook. This idea that humans can be apart of nature, they can create a new kind of wilderness, and that wilderness is itself hard to define.

I particularly enjoyed the approach Sullivan had to the Meadowlands, the place itself, and how he was pulled back to this landscape of trash without really understanding what it was exactly that caught his imagination. The idea that this landscape of trash offered just as many discoveries, adventures, and sights as national parks I found to be interesting. I am a one of those individuals who idealizes nature and wilderness, and prefers the both without human impact. However, when people live in harmony with the environment, and instead of destroying it choose to live along side it I find it compelling to do the same.

Cronon’s approach to this concept of wilderness as he recaps the history of the word, and discusses the many connotations associated with the ‘wilderness’ throughout history. It is amazing to see how humans went from seeing wilderness as this dark, mysterious, dangerous, and scary place to now considering it to be majestic, beautiful, peaceful, and serine place.

-Ashley Tims

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