Category Archives: Environment

A’Se’k – Boat Harbour: A Site of Centuries’ Long Mi’kmaw Resistance

By Colin Osmond On October 4th, hundreds of people gathered at Pictou Landing First Nation and marched to A’Se’k (Boat Harbour, N.S.) to demand that the governments of Nova Scotia and Canada live up to their promise to stop the flow of toxic waste into the tidal lagoon. A’Se’k is the site of an effluent treatment facility handling wastewater from… Read more »

Of Energy and the Need for Electoral Reform: Déjà-vu and the 1979 and 1980 federal elections

  Editor’s Note: This post is the third in our special series on elections. Matthew Hayday Energy taxes. Housing affordability. Deep regional divisions in Canada, exacerbated by the first-past-the-post electoral system. Oh wait, you mean we’re talking about 2019, and not about the pair of federal elections from forty years ago? This election season is offering us a great deal to… Read more »

In Praise of a Nondescript Government Facility (or, The Most Canadian Title Ever)

Alan MacEachern As I drove deeper into a suburb in the small town of Matane on Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula, things got busier instead of quieter. More and more parked cars lined the streets. There were no sidewalks, so the many people walking were all in the street, all of them headed toward the same low-slung, nondescript office building in the… Read more »

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More Voices, New Sources: Using Historical Documents to Diversify a Survey Syllabus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