Category Archives: Environment

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 »

The Home Archivist – Getting My Hands Dirty

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By Jessica Dunkin In the last Home Archivist post, I described how I came to be in possession of a box of nineteenth-century letters. In this post, I open the box again for the first time. When the MacKendrick letters arrived at my house in early August, they were quickly shuttled into the basement and I assumed that they would… Read more »

Vacating Science and Forgetting History at the Central Experimental Farm

By Peter Anderson On November 3rd, John Baird announced that Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada transferred approximately 24 hectares (60 acres) of the Central Experimental Farm, in Ottawa, to the National Capital Commission. The NCC in turn offered to lease the land to the Ottawa Hospital to build a new Civic Campus. The Hospital then mused about the using this new land… Read more »

‘It’s history, like it or not’: the Significance of Sudbury’s Superstack

By: Mike Commito and Kaleigh Bradley Standing at a height of 1,250 feet, the Sudbury Superstack is the second tallest chimney in the world and runner-up to the CN Tower for the tallest structure in Canada. Until 1987, Sudbury Ontario had the dubious honour of having the world’s tallest smokestack. Today, the Stack is seen by some as a marker… Read more »

Coal-Power with low Emissions: Is Boundary Dam a new Energy Paradigm

By Dr. David Zylberberg Energy sources are interchangeable for many purposes. Pre-industrial people burned various woods, peat, coal, dung and straw for cooking and basic manufacturing. In such societies, fuels varied between communities depending upon local availability and cost in either money or labour. Pre-industrial people cooked with whatever fuel required the least of their effort. Energy has never been free… Read more »