The Meadowlands: Wilderness Adventures at the Edge of a City by Robert Sullivan is the book of the week and was a great read to start of the course. This book was not a normal read as you wouldn’t find it in an English class book list and is not making the New York Times best seller. What it manage to do is make you want to explore the Meadowlands page by page. Living in close proximity to the area and driving through it numerous times, I was interested in what he had to say as I had first hand experience and do also accept the idea that the mafia probably dumped a lot of bodies within the area’s confines. What once used to be an area that received lots of attention and drew in the culture that leaked out of the Big Apple is now a place that is (almost) prime real estate development in which firms are capitalizing on due to it being more affordable and available than land 5 miles outside of places like Manhattan. Sullivan aims to try to connect the past with the present in a way that promotes conservation. A main point he makes is that nature was here before us and is still here, although now it has shifted forms into “urban nature”. Through the use of metaphors such as the black snake he brings up the notion that humans are ruining the environment. Deforestation, urban sprawl and things like landfills may have shorter term benefits but long term repercussions.
The Paris Agreement is one of the latest agreements that sets forth efforts to curb climate change. Its objective is to put forth a global action plan prevent long term harm to the environment by agreeing on numerous limitations of carbon emissions in an attempt to keep the global average temperature “well below 2°C”, while also aiming “to limit the increase to 1.5°C”. What this article states is that the governments that agreed to this have no idea what they signed and probably also have no intention of honoring it even if they do. To effectively meet fossil fuel levels then countries would have to curb back production and stop developing future fossils fuels as well. Top government officials and politicians think they can prevent carbon emissions from rising by putting the carbon dioxide that is extracted rom the natural gas at power stations back into the ground. The author states “despite vast efforts to demonstrate the technology, it has not been proved at scale, and appears to be going nowhere. Our energy policies rely on vapourware.”