Annie Prue is Unable to travel because of her book on wetlands. She envisioned her journey to the vanishing Siberian quagmire or the English Fens, but they are all but lost already. She visited biologists, examined crackling fires beneath Arctic peatlands, and explored swamps in the southeast. There, her feet were bouncing on a raft of sphagnum moss. She compared her sensation to walking on a water bed. But in the midst of a global pandemic, her 87-year-old, Proulx, was confined to her home. Instead, as she explains Fenn, Bog, Swamp, Released today, she drew from a vast personal treasury of books, conversations, and memories of bog appreciation lessons. Growing up in eastern Connecticut in the 1930s, Prue learned how to navigate overgrown bushes around waterlogged waterways and flooded ground waterways. Even inaccessible and frightening realms of bugs, mud and stench were opened to her as places of wonder, places of delight.
It is unlikely that many of the places Prue recalled are still there. At least not in the way she remembers it. The swamps of southern New England, like much of America’s wetlands, have been eroded by nearly a century of suburban development and centuries of drainage and dredging before that. People have always hung the natural sponges to dry until the land was hard enough to support farms and strip malls. It’s been around for so long that you have to go back thousands of years to get any perspective on the loss. Or as Proulx puts it:
Prue, who has previously tracked the human instinct to destroy nature in works of fiction such as barkskin, is the latest in a long line of swamp enthusiasts, many accounts of which have been published in the book. She was inspired by what she called the “rare novelty and eerie beauty” of the landscapes she saw. Lepidopterologists and ornithologists have found delight in exploring the unique miasma of nutrients and flora that allow insect and bird species to evolve and thrive alone. did not forestall the relentless wave of “ecological violence,” as it calls it. People fought the wetlands and tried to tame them for uses that they considered productive. Little did they realize how productive these places were already through services such as filtering water. flood protection and carbon storage.
As a result, there has long been a confused drive for wetlands that is deeply ingrained in American colonial culture. Even our kindest impulse is less to save them than to “fix” them.Prue articulates this well, but the TV show developmental arrest When a qualified scion of a tract home developer’s family decided to enter the auction block for a “Save the Wetlands” charity date event.
As Prue writes, it’s a difficult task to get people to appreciate places that give them “discomfort, irritation, confusion, frustration.” Understanding that is a lot of work, and understanding its value in a way that transcends the wants and needs of our species is even more difficult. is.
in a little while Lawyers will meet in the Supreme Court for oral arguments in the coming weeks. Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, The case concerns how the United States perceives the value of many of its remaining wetlands. In 2004, the Sacketts, then in their late 30s, purchased a vacant lot in a subdivision near Priest’s Lake in the northern Panhandle of Idaho. This lake is known as an ideal environment for fish. One reason for that is that it’s fed from neighboring Kalispell Bay his fens, a type of mineral-rich wetland that’s chock-full of nutrients. Previously, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers investigated Sacketts’ prospective property and included it as part of a wider network of wetlands in areas protected under the Clean Water Act. Federal legislation passed in the 1970s was intended to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation’s water bodies.”
A few years later, the Sacketts began building their home. Neighbors complained, and soon the couple was visited by a federal inspector who ordered them to stop packing their land with gravel and sand, threatened with heavy fines, and applied for a federal permit. rice field. Thus began a 15-year legal battle. In court filings, Sacketts’ attorneys argued that the permitting process was an undue financial burden and a violation of property rights. is a view shared .