Category Archives: Environment

The Year of the Flood: Hurricane Matthew, Oral Narratives, and Climate History

By Lachlan MacKinnon The tail-end of Hurricane Matthew battered Nova Scotia and Newfoundland on Monday afternoon and through the evening. Although the damage does not approach the devastation wrought by the system in the Caribbean and other points south, for many in Cape Breton it will be remembered as the storm of a generation. As I drove around the streets… Read more »

‘It Might Have Been Us’: 70 Years since the Windsor to Tecumseh Tornado

By Katrina Ackerman   At the age of ten, my father, two sisters, and I were driving through Alberta when a tornado struck. We were traveling from Trail, British Columbia to Saskatchewan for a relative’s wedding when a storm materialized in High River, a few hours from our hotel. We saw the aftermath of the storm on the news from the… Read more »

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 »