Category Archives: Environment

Grounded: Academic Flying in the Time of Climate Emergency

By Dr Jaymie Heilman “I don’t like harming others, so I don’t fly” climate scientist Peter Kalmus explained, noting that airplane emissions heat the planet, imperiling humans and non-humans alike. The IPCC warns that we have only eleven years to radically reduce carbon emissions or face ever-more devastating effects of climate change, and it is time for academic flyers to… Read more »

More Voices, New Sources: Using Historical Documents to Diversify a Survey Syllabus

By Dr. Bathsheba Demuth I came to teach environmental history circuitously: trained as a Russian and American historian, the field was not part of my comprehensive exams. I was never a teaching assistant for an environmental history course—as close as I came was grading for a summer class on the history of energy. I read and wrote my way into… Read more »

Trees as Historical Markers and Holders of Memory

Two pine trees and a chapel building in the distance

Krista McCracken There are two pines trees on the front lawn of Algoma University. The trees sit off centre on the east side of the lawn, partially hidden behind the historical Chapel building from the road. To the casual observer these trees might seem relatively ordinary, perhaps a bit oddly placed, but not of any clear significance. The pine trees… Read more »

Early Globalization: Exploring British Imports 1856-1906

By Jim Clifford [The visualizations in this post do not render very well on a small screen.] The British were at the centre of the globalizing economy in the second half of the nineteenth century. British cities and their industrial economies were growing fast and the country increasingly relied on trade to supply food and raw materials. During the past… Read more »

Canada Docks and Quebec Pond

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By Jim Clifford [This post was originally published on the Network in Canadian History & Environment site.] Canada Water is a small lake and wildlife refuge in the heart of Rotherhithe in South London. It is one of the few remaining parts of the once extensive Surrey Commercial Docks that covered much of the Rotherhithe Peninsula during the nineteenth century…. Read more »

Colonialism, Maple Syrup, and Ways of Knowing

Krista McCracken [1] Visit any Canadian tourist shop and you will likely find shelves filled with maple syrup, often branded with red maple leaves in an attempt to invoke feelings of national pride. Canada makes over 71% of the world’s maple syrup and there are more than 8,600 producers of maple syrup across the country. Given these stats it is hardly… Read more »

Repurposing a Map of Greater London’s Industry (1893-5)

A few years ago, I worked with some students to develop a database of all the factories we could find on very detailed 5 feet to the mile maps of London from the second half of the nineteenth century. This database is central to my academic research on the environmental history of industrialization in Greater London. I created maps using… Read more »

Culpability and Canada’s Anthropocene: A Response

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NiCHE ran a series on “Canada’s Anthropocene,” with posts and a roundtable by Pamela Banting, Ashlee Cunsolo, Alan MacEachern, and Joshua MacFadyen. Last week Sean Kheraj’s responded to the series, and specifically MacEachern’s post “The Alanthropocene.” We are reposting Kheraj’s response and MacEachern’s response to the response. We hope this will lead ActiveHistory.ca readers to discover the original series on the NiCHE website. Alan MacEachern is not… Read more »

“The great climate silence” and Historians

By Jim Clifford The great climate silence: we are on the edge of the abyss but we ignore it | Clive Hamilton https://t.co/QYjeWzpjyh — Clive Hamilton (@CliveCHamilton) May 5, 2017 Are historians contributing to downplaying the dangers of climate change by our silence? Clive Hamilton published a provocative extract from his new book in the Guardian titled “The great climate silence:… Read more »

More than a Few Acres of Snow

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By Elizabeth Jewett and Andrew Nurse This past weekend, Mount Allison University hosted Quelques Arpents de Neige for the first time. Arpents is a conference that takes a workshop-like feel. Its goal is to bring people together to discuss different trends in Canadian environmental history. And, in so doing, it provides an opportunity to think about the development and direction… Read more »