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The Hudson River Four Centuries Ago was NOT “the Hudson Before Humans”

October 24, 2011Patrick NunnallyUncategorizedComments Off on The Hudson River Four Centuries Ago was NOT “the Hudson Before Humans”

This really is unacceptable today.  Otherwise bright people at Columbia’s Earth Institute headline a story on the Hudson River four centuries ago, before the advent of Europeans, as “Imagining the Hudson Before Humans”

Really?  REALLY?!?

Let’s leave aside the racism (“But some of my best friends are…”) and just mention a couple of the policy and programmatic problems such an attitude causes:

  • A reliance (thoughtful or not) on “contact period” as a target for ecosystem and river restoration.  See William Cronon’s “The Trouble With Wilderness” for more on this fallacy.
  • A belief that “science” trumps other forms of knowledge, particularly indigenous-based knowledge, in addressing systemic issues such as climate change.
We have to do better.  Don’t we?  Can’t we?


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