By Lisa Rumiel
Note: Again, the author would like to thank Linda Richards for her helpful comments and suggestions in preparing this article.
It is time to stop claiming that a nuclear renaissance is the solution to the current environmental crisis. I’m talking to you, Stewart Brand. A sort of Nostradamus of technological and environmental thought, Brand is one of the most prominent environmentalists-turned-nuclear power proponents in the United States. He is an incredibly influential public intellectual and the founder of the Long Now Foundation, an organization that celebrates stuff like this and promotes thinking along these lines. He even invited Frank Gavin to give an inspiring lecture on the important things historians have to contribute to pressing policy discussions, which, to this historian, is pretty cool. None of these things sits comfortably with the praise he continues to lavish upon nuclear energy technology. Continue reading
A reminder to our readers that you are all invited to the second lecture in the Mississauga Library System’s ‘History Minds’ series, co-hosted with ActiveHistory.ca. The second talk will be on Thursday, April 14th at 7:30PM in Classroom 3 at the Mississauga Central Library (see below the cut for directions).
“From a Pastoral Wetland to an Industrial Wasteland, and Back Again? An Environmental History of the Lower Lea River Valley, the Site of the 2012 London Olympics.” [part of the pan-Canadian NiCHE Speakers’ Series]
With Dr. Jim Clifford.
The Lower Lea Valley, currently undergoing a massive redevelopment project in perpetration for the next Summer Olympics, underwent a number of equally remarkable transformations as London’s heavy industry migrated to the city’s eastern periphery in the second half of the nineteenth century. In this talk, Jim Clifford will explore some of the findings of his recently defended PhD dissertation on the environmental problems created by half a century of urban-industrial development and discuss some of the challenges this posed for redevelopment. Continue reading
WhatWasThere and Historypin are websites which emphasize history’s connection to geography. Last August, Teresa Iacobelli wrote a great post on Historypin, its predecessors, and location based history. WhatWasThere is a similar site that has been gaining popularity in recent weeks.
Both sites are based on the idea of attaching historical photographs of buildings, landscape, and landmarks to present day maps. Both sites perform essentially the same function and provide a similar level of user interaction. The layout, interface, functionality, and photos uploaded to each site varies. Continue reading
Roderick Benns, The Legends of Lake on the Mountain: An Early Adventure of John A. Macdonald, foreword by Brian Mulroney (Fireside Publishing: 2011).
“It’s a dangerous thing to let just any common man have enough power to make decisions without a sober educated voice of reason.” [said the colonel] “Sometimes the common man doesn’t know what’s good for him.”
“Why does change have to happen all at once?” asked John. “Just because I’m a British subject and I’ll die a British subject some day, doesn’t mean we can’t grow. Not everything happens overnight.”
– excerpts from The Legends of Lake on the Mountain
Canadians, particularly young Canadians, do not know much about Canada’s past. Such has been the cry coming from the likes of the Historica-Dominion Institute’s frequent surveys of Canadians’ knowledge of history, seen as well through the Conservative government’s recent attempt to rectify gaps in our historical knowledge through a rather controversial re-vamping of the Canadian immigration guide, Discover Canada: the Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship (with a youth version published jointly with a youth history magazine, Kayak). Roderick Benns, Senior Writer with the Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat of the Ontario Ministry of Education, has attempted to contribute to these and other efforts to raise the profile of a particularly nationalist strain of history in Canadian public life as the series editor and author of the first two instalments of the new Leaders and Legacies series. Continue reading
Simon Enoch reviews Manufacturing Meltdown: Reshaping Steel Work by D.W. Livingstone, Dorothy E. Smith and Warren Smith:
I approached the new Fernwood release Manufacturing Meltdown: Reshaping Steel Work by D.W. Livingstone, Dorothy Smith and Warren Smith (Fernwood Publishing, 2011, paperback: $27.95) from a rather different perspective than I approach most other historical works. Manufacturing Meltdown details over thirty years of research into the steel industry in Hamilton Ontario, my hometown. As the son of a boilermaker, growing up in a working class community and surrounded by the families of steelworkers throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, the material in this collection is particularly poignant as it revealed to me the driving macro-economic factors that shaped many of the events that characterized my childhood. READ MORE
Six Nations' protest at Caledonia
It’s been five years since members of the Six Nations began their protest and occupation at the site of the Douglas Creek Estates housing development in Caledonia. The events at Caledonia garnered national attention and caused heated confrontations between both sides. Five years later the land is vacant expect for one finished house, a burnt-out tractor trailer and Haudenosaunee flags, remnants of the Six Nations occupation. The Ontario Government has purchased the land from the housing developer and provided financial assistance to residents of Caledonia affected by the protest and occupation.
But little has been settled. On the five year anniversary members of the Six Nations, including the three women who started the protest, returned to the site, the land which they call Kanenhstaton or “The Protected Place.” Many residents of Caledonia are still angry about the ongoing native land dispute, and only a few days ago took their message to Ottawa. The recent book by Globe and Mail columnist Christie Blatchford about the Caledonia protest and occupation, Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed All of Us, has been dogged by controversy. Last November Blatchford’s scheduled appearance at the University of Waterloo was canceled after protesters took to the stage claiming that Blatchford “does not explore issues central to the aboriginal occupation, such as historic land claims and treaties.” The ongoing land dispute at Caledonia, and other outstanding land claims in the Grand River Valley, as well as elsewhere in Canada, speaks to the significance of history and what Laurier Brantford’s Program Coordinator for Contemporary Studies Peter Farrugia calls “the immanence of the past in the present.” Continue reading
This past weekend I watched two movies that were seemingly more different than any two movies could be. They did have things in common. Both films were intriguing and entertaining in their own way and at their heart is a similar theme: reclaiming and uncovering the “true” past. Continue reading
Collecting oral histories can pose significant challenges in crossing between the public spaces of oral history production and the professional space of the university. Bridging this divide can sometimes feel like an impossible task. It has often led me to feel that I’m moving back and forth between two worlds
When I first started doing this, I was surprised to encounter some distrust of academics. One woman shared a story with me that poignantly captured this. She had participated in an academic project once, but she hadn’t found it to be a very positive experience. When she read about a research project in the paper, she was eager to help, and she mailed some of her prized possessions – diaries and other records of her late aunt’s life – to the person conducting the research. And then she never heard from the researcher again. Continue reading
This week, we have announcements concerning Earth Week, a new educational website for Chinese Canadian women’s history, a documentary on Chinese people and the CPR, as well as the Left History theme issue on Active History!
Earth Week Events
NiCHE (Network in Canadian History and the Environment) is hosting a series of public environmental history talks across Canada in the weeks before and after Earth Day. Below are a list of talks being held in public libraries from Vancouver to Halifax: Continue reading
Note: The author would like to thank Linda Richards for her helpful comments and suggestions in preparing this article.
When asked how the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Reactor Complex accident was going to affect the nuclear industry in the long-term, World Nuclear Association Spokesman, Ian Hore Lacey, replied,
short term obviously it’ll be negative, but I think long term, when people sit down and take a good look at things, it should be positive, hopefully, and no more than neutral…If as we have reason to hope there are no fatalities or serious radiation injuries and effects from this incident, then alongside the tens of thousands of people who have been killed by the tsunami, I think people will stand back and say, “what was all the fuss about.” Okay, you’ve written off three reactors, and there’s been plenty of drama in news coverage, but at the end of the day, who has been adversely affected in any real way? 
There are several problems with this statement, not the least of which is Hore Lacey’s use of the devastating effects of the tsunami on Japanese people, families, and entire communities as a way of minimizing the seriousness of the Fukushima accident. But his suggestion that no one will be “affected in any real way” is completely thoughtless and untrue, that is, if you allow yourself to think about actual people.