New Jersey’s Environments, a new book of essays examining New Jersey’s environmental problems and solutions, was released this month. Edited by Neil Maher, PhD, an assistant professor in the federated history department at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), the book was published by Rutgers University Press. Featured are eight essays and an introduction examining where the state has been environmentally and where it should be going.
“Americans often think of New Jersey as an environmental nightmare,” said Maher. “Seeing the state from the infamous New Jersey Turnpike, it is difficult not to be troubled by the wealth of industrial plants, belching smokestacks, and landfills. Yet people who live and work in the state often experience a very different environment.” According to Maher, New Jersey has a larger percentage of land dedicated to state parks and forests land than the average for all states. “It’s this ecological paradox,” explains Maher, “that makes New Jersey important for understanding the relationship between Americans and their natural world.”
Three essayists whose work is featured in the text will speak April 26, 2006, from 2:30 – 4:00 p.m., in the NJIT Campus Center Atrium. Albert Dorman Honors College will sponsor the event. ATTENTION REPORTERS: To interview Maher or attend the talk, contact Sheryl Weinstein, 973-596-3436.
In the book, historians, policy-makers, and earth scientists use a case study approach to uncover the causes and consequences of decisions regarding land use, resources, and conservation. Nine essays cover topics ranging from solid waste and wildlife management to the effects of sprawl on natural disaster preparedness. “The state is astonishingly diverse and faces more than the usual competing interests from environmentalists, citizens, and businesses,” said Maher.
The book documents the innovations and compromises created on behalf of and in response to growing environmental concerns in New Jersey, which set examples on the local level for nationwide and worldwide efforts that share the goal of protecting the natural world.
Maher was a recent Verville Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, where he conducted research for his second book project about an environmental history of NASA and the space race. This year, Oxford University Press is scheduled to release his first book, Nature’s New Deal: Franklin Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps and the Roots of the American Environmental Movement. Maher received his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and his doctorate in history from New York University.