Category Archives: Environment

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 »

How Should We Measure Climate Change? What the Past Can Tell Us

By Dagomar Degroot Last month, world leaders met at UN Headquarters in New York City for Climate Summit 2014. As protests raged across the globe, diplomats established the framework for a major climate change agreement next year. The aim will be to limit anthropogenic warming to no more than 2 °C, a threshold established by scientists and policymakers, beyond which… Read more »

Graphic Environmentalism: An Interview with Comic Writer-Artist Steph Hill

Previous Active History posts (see here, here, and here) have examined the use of comics in telling – and interpreting – stories about the past. In this post, Ryan O’Connor (RO) interviews Steph Hill (SH), the writer-artist behind A Brief, Accurate Graphic History of the Environmental Movement (Mostly in Canada). RO: This is a really interesting project. What is it that… Read more »

Inventing Stanley Park: An Environmental History by Sean Kheraj

By Lani Russwurm It would be difficult to overstate the significance of Stanley Park to Vancouver’s identity. Visiting the park is obligatory for tourists, and locals from across the spectrum use it frequently for a myriad of activities. But the feature that distinguishes Stanley Park from most other large urban parks is its large forest that serves as a refreshing… Read more »

The Power-Politics of Pulp and Paper: Health, Environment and Work in Pictou County

Lachlan MacKinnon In recent months, concerns surrounding pollution at the Northern Pulp mill in Abercrombie, Nova Scotia have prompted extensive local debate and filled the pages of provincial newspapers with columns and op-ed pieces. Controversy erupted in June, after Northern Pulp announced that the mill was shutting down operations to deal with a wastewater leak. Pictou Landing First Nation chief… Read more »