Category Archives: Environment

Chronic Hunger, Chronic Terror: Agrarian Modernization and the Struggle for Sustainability in Guatemala, 1944-1980

Editor’s Note: This was published on the NiCHE website earlier this week and is a part of a monthly series showing the work of the Sustainable Farm Systems project By Patrick Chassé Blessed with plentiful sunshine and rich soils, Guatemala exports large quantities of coffee, bananas, sugar and more to the United States, Canada, and Europe. Our grocery stores are… Read more »

Climate Change on the Ground

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By Elizabeth Vibert The people of Jomela village in eastern Limpopo Province, South Africa, feel like canaries in a coal mine. The local metaphor features a snail collecting ashes. When I last visited Jomela in April and May, sixty-five-year-old vegetable farmer Daina Mahlaule told me that home food gardens in the village produced “nothing, nothing at all” in the recent… Read more »

“‘Tomorrow Sunny’: The Rise and Fall of Solar Heating in Canada, Part 4”

Henry Trim In the final part of this series on solar energy we will examine the unhappy results of solar advocates’ overreliance on optimistic simulations and the difficulty of commercializing economically marginal technology. Tragically for development of renewable energy, neither solar technology nor the energy market developed as projected. Generous federal funding combined with the installation of solar collectors on… Read more »

When Blue Meets Green: A NiCHE series

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Tina Adcock, an editor of the Otter blog at the Network in Canadian & Environmental history website, organized a series of posts on the intersections between environmental and labour history for the month of November. John-Henry Harter opened the series with his post “When Blue Meets Green: The Intersection of Workers and Environmentalists”. This was followed by Mark McLaughlin’s “Seeing… Read more »

Tomorrow: Sunny’: The Rise and Fall of Solar Heating in 1970s Canada, part 3

By Hank Trim In the third part of this four part series on solar energy we will continue to examine an integral part of energy history: computer simulation. Faced with the combined uncertainty of a unstable oil market and a desire for new solar technologies, the government searched for and a means of managing these risks. In this situation, computer… Read more »

What about the People? Place, Memory, and Industrial Pollution in Sudbury

By Stacey Zembrzycki Much of the industrial ruins resulting from nearly 130 years of nickel mining in Sudbury, Ontario, are now hidden from plain sight, camouflaged under a successful re-greening program that has led to the planting of over nine million trees, and the clean-up of many area lakes and thousands of hectares of soil. And yet, despite this invisibility,… Read more »

‘Tomorrow: Sunny’: The Rise and Fall of Solar Heating in 1970s Canada, part 2

By Henry (Hank) Trim In this installment of my four part series on solar energy in Canada, I examine how small numbers of environmentalists introduced solar technology to North Americans and successfully championed it as the centerpiece of the first sustainable development strategies. (Click here to read part one) Solar energy has a long history. The first efforts to use… Read more »

“Tomorrow: Sunny”: The Rise and Fall of Solar Heating in 1970s Canada

By Henry (Hank) Trim Solar energy seems poised to become a major player in the world of energy. Years of investment have brought down the price of photovoltaics and innovative financing methods have generated unprecedented growth in the industry. According to the Canadian Solar Industries Association solar electric is the fastest growing source of energy in the world.[1]The future of… Read more »

Our Bodies and Inescapable Ecologies: A Look at the Mining Community of Sudbury, Ontario

By Kaleigh Bradley “Where does the body end and ‘non-human nature’ begin? When we recognize that human bodies are directly affected by their environments, we are forced to acknowledge that humans are not simply agents of environmental change, but objects of that change” – Linda Nash, Inescpable Ecologies Last week I was surprised to hear about the toxic leak of… Read more »

Remote Silvertown Transforms Again

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By Jim Clifford Industrial Silvertown is not a standard tourist attraction in London, though in recent years thousands of people have peered down on the remaining factories from the Emirates Air Line cable cars as they descend toward Victoria Dock and the ExCel convention centre. It was nonetheless a really important region of heavy industrial development during the late nineteenth century and… Read more »