Thoughts on Readings for 8/31

While reading through the Meadowlands, I couldn’t help but think of the persistence of wilderness. Throughout the book, Sullivan discusses the history of the Meadowlands, of all the public works projects, industries, and urban plans for the area. Many of the projects he mentioned fell though, or more accurately, sunk into the swamp. For generations, those who live in and around the Meadowlands have thought of the area as an eye sore or an area of wasted potential. For decades, the area was used for garbage burning and waste dumping from factories that were in the area. One factory dumped mercury into Berrys Creek, making it one of the most polluted tributaries in the entire area. The Meadowland’s resources were reduced, with all of the Cedar trees having been cut down and the salt hay had been harvested. However, despite the pollution, the Meadowlands have fought to stay alive and thriving. Plants such as moss or reeds as well as a few species of fish still live their in spite of the pollution that threatens them. The Meadowlands can not be destroyed that easily. It thwarts all attempts to be tamed. You could probably drop a bomb in the middle of Meadowlands and it’ll be fine.

This description and history of the Meadowlands that Sullivan gives us disagrees with some of William Cronon’s thoughts. Cronon argues that wilderness is not an area that is inherently uninhabited but that it reflects our true desires of what we believe the world should be. However, if this was true, how come the Meadowlands have endured a long history of abuse. Was it because it was so close to New York, a shining beacon of American ingenuity and modernism, that the Meadowlands seemed like a road block rather than wilderness to be respected or romanticized? Does it not capture the imagination like Yellowstone or the hundreds of other protected nature preserves? It sure seems like that is the case when reading Sullivan’s adventures through the Meadowlands.

Ideas for project:

  1. Revitalizing the Meek retention pond project and beyond.
  2. Reducing heat in campus buildings without adding air conditioning.
  3. Promoting and selling non-packaged foods in Thomson (possible extension to student run garden?)

Environmental News

This isn’t necessarily environmental news, but it was a cool video of some recent hurricane activity. I found a video of hurricanes Leston, Madeline, and Gaston seen from space all in one day. It’s just amazing to see the size of these massive storms from a perspective we don’t normally seem them from.

The video can be seen here. (Source)

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