Daniel Delatte: Intro, Reading, and Article

 

Intro: So, my name’s Daniel and I’m from New Orleans, LA. I’m a junior that is trying to double major in Environmental Studies and International Studies with a minor in Spanish. I really enjoy being out in the wilderness which is why I guess I’ve spent the past couple of years working for the Forest Service trying to see as much of whichever part of the country I’m in each time (also because it’s stupid hot at home honestly.)  I really just hope to learn from everyone else’s experiences and learn how to think differently since it is a seminar type course.

Environmental Issue: Well, Houston is flooding right now because of Hurricane Harvey which is on the anniversary of Katrina. There’s been a lot of talk about the mandatory evacuation notice that was not given, but because of the amount of people in Houston people would have drowned on the freeway all trying to leave at once. It’s also kind of a big deal in Louisiana since just a month ago New Orleans was flooded due to a scandal. Sewage and Water Board (SWB) runs the pumping stations in New Orleans since the city’s below sea level. They pumps are for draining the streets during tropical storms and hurricanes. On July 22, there was a tropical storm and there was about 4 feet of standing water in many parts of the city. SWB repeatedly said that the drains were working when in fact they weren’t since everyone could tell because the water was not moving. After a couple of days of lies, they finally informed the city that the pumping stations were not working/functional. The worst part about that was that they had received funding to fix the pumps since Katrina and had not done so. So, a couple of people have been fired, as well as couple who have resigned. There’s also an ongoing investigation that is being done to find out where the money went. Below is just a link on a post I found about the flooding.

http://www.theadvocate.com/new_orleans/news/weather_traffic/article_7378fb40-6f25-11e7-9646-43231f3af841.html

Ideas:

  1. How about having a program that promotes environmentalism to the youth? I never really knew about environmental sciences and forestry until I was well in high school. It’s kind of a low-key study at a young age, especially for a minority in the southern part of the states. That way we get the newer generation thinking of ideas earlier.
  2. A blog where people can post really neat places they find in nature that they can share through GPS. They can load pictures and things like that to kind of give a description of the place. I think it’s really cool because in the summer when I worked in California I’d find out about swimming holes by talking to people and sometimes I’d find them through directions they gave, sometimes not.
  3. Bike sharing at school? I know a lot of people drive their cars to class sometimes because their either lazy or late (or both, I do occasionally as well.) We could eliminate some of that if their was an affordable bike sharing program that could be paid at the beginning of the semester and you access through your student ID.

Reading: I really like how Sullivan chose to write the book. One of the ways were by doing a lot of identifying of things that could have been and why those things did not happen. On page 17, he writes how “shopping malls and office complexes and future parks threaten to eat up even more of the old meadows every year.” But the meadows just wont let it happen. There’s a “physical and psychic” power that will not allow new constructions to stay. Roads sink and revert back to the old swamp. It is also intriguing on why the place is dubbed a meadow or “The Meadowlands.” I can see why because of the previous use of it for hay farming, but a meadow by definition would not have standing water, yet it has a swamp. Sullivan also points out how negative human interaction (environmental abuse) has led to living organismic communities. He says, “The big difference between the garbage hills and the real hills in the Meadowlands is that the garbage hills are alive.” (96) For one, the fact that he said real hills in the Meadowlands is interesting because he then goes on to say the garbage hills are alive, but doesn’t give it that same emphasis as though they are real, or that there are fake hills in the meadows. Secondly, I just thought the fact that he pointed this out as though it were a positive that there were garbage hills in existence in such a place that he raved about. He found a way to make human impact look like a good thing that we provided habitat for a new organismic community that would then eat our litter (but what a slow rate.)

“At one point very recently in history the Meadowlands was the largest garbage dump in the world.” (16) I think this is kind of the example we were looking for when trying to connect wasteland to wilderness when we got that definition from dictionary.com describing it as such.

“In 1977, an architectural critic appraised a home and office development built in the Meadowlands as “a new kind of place, either urban nor suburban. It is not a real city, he added, it is not a small town, but something strangely in between. The Meadowlands has physical power too. The new roads rarely stay smooth for long in the Meadowlands. They buckle and sink and eventually begin the long journey down into the depths of the old swamp.” Has the ability to reverse human development on it’s own.

Article: I’m with this article. Cronon gives thought through multiple lenses. He gives points of views from a religious, philosophical, rational, biased, and agnostic which really had me thinking again like where do I stand because some of the views overlap. I really like how Cronon simply put it. “If nature dies because we enter it, then the only way to save nature is to kill ourselves.” The wild is not a place where people shouldn’t be since it was a place where human’s once were all the time. There are just of course some things that we cannot due when dealing with nature. We cannot go back in time as he writes, “The flight from history that is very nearly the core of wilderness represents the false hope of an escape from responsibility, the illusion that we can somehow wipe clean the slate of our past and return to the tabula rasa that supposedly existed before we began to leave our marks on the world.” We have to control what we can control now. One thing I know for sure that needs our attention is the construction of roads that are built each time there’s a newfound gem of nature.

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