Category Archives: Environment

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 »

The Biggest Oil Pipeline Spills in Canadian History

By Sean Kheraj In March 1950, four Alberta “pipeline walkers” spoke with a reporter from Canadian Press about their tireless work. Each worker walked twelve to fifteen miles per day, checking on pipeline facilities in the Edmonton district and looking for leaks, a consistent problem for Alberta’s booming oil industry in the mid-twentieth century. A day’s work was long, exhausting,… Read more »

Planting the Seeds of Citizenship

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By Conrad McCallum, A sample of Canadian headlines about school gardens from the past few months: A two-year school garden project in Vancouver will contribute to fresher produce in the cafeteria and food literacy skills. Students at an ethnically diverse school in Windsor, Ontario will use a new community garden as a “living classroom” for discussions on healthy eating and… Read more »

Burrard Inlet, Beaches, and Oil Spills: A Historical Perspective

by Sean Kheraj Last week, British Columbians once again witnessed the effects of oil on Burrard Inlet. Local authorities cautioned residents to avoid the water along the shores in Vancouver and West Vancouver after a large slick of bunker fuel oil appeared on the surface of Burrard Inlet. Around 5pm Wednesday, April 8, 2015, a boater notified Port Metro Vancouver… Read more »

An (Ice) Bridge to the Past: Niagara Falls has Frozen

by Daniel Macfarlane [Originally published on the Otter] Niagara Falls has frozen. Well, not really. The entire water flow of the famous Horseshoe Falls doesn’t actually freeze, despite ‘polar vortexes’ (more commonly known to most Canadians as ‘winter’). Water keeps flowing underneath the ice. The American Falls does occasionally dry up due to ice jams upstream (and this has happened once… Read more »

Willkommen im Anthropozän (Welcome to the Anthropocene)

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By Jim Clifford I recently visited the special Willkommen im Anthropozän exhibition at the science and technology Deutsches Museum in Munich and was very impressed by the museum’s efforts to convey the history and science of the anthropocene in a complex but accessible manner. The anthropocene thesis, introduced about fifteen years ago, argues that humans are transforming the global environment at an unprecedented scale. The Deutsches Museum exhibition is the first major… Read more »

Saskatchewan Farmland: A Bargain?

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By Merle Massie Last week, the Saskatchewan government (led by Brad Wall and the Saskatchewan Party) reset a course direction that had veered off target. That course redirection affects who – along with what – is allowed to purchase Saskatchewan farmland. A Canadian citizen? Come on down. A Canadian-owned corporation engaged in the business of farming? Saskatchewan agriculture is open… Read more »

What’s in a Name? Place Names, History, and Colonialism

By Kaleigh Bradley But remember that words are signals, counters. They are not immortal. And it can happen – to use an image you’ll understand – it can happen that a civilization can be imprisoned in a linguistic contour which no longer matches the landscape…of fact. Brian Friel, Translations  Brian Friel’s play Translations takes place in 1833, in the Irish-speaking village of… Read more »

Science in Different States: The Science Council and the Trudeau Government

By Henry Trim The recent closing of research labs and scientific libraries across Canada has generated a heated debate over the proper relationship between science and the Canadian government. The fundamental short sightedness of these policies and their dire consequences for environmental research have been ably discussed on this blog by William Knight, at the Walrus, and by the CBC’s… Read more »

Five Things You Might Not Have Known About Canadian Environmental History

By  Sean Kheraj Canadian environmental history is a burgeoning sub-field of Canadian history, but it is not very well known outside of academia. This is my own research speciality. On many occasions, I have had to answer the question: what is environmental history? Periodically, this is a question that environmental historians ask themselves. There have been several reflective articles about… Read more »