Tag Archives: environmental history

Ten Books to Contextualize Global Warming

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By Stacy Nation-Knapper, Andrew Watson, and Sean Kheraj Last year, Nature’s Past, the Canadian environmental history podcast, published a special series called, “Histories of Canadian Environmental Issues”. Each episode focused on a different contemporary environmental issue and featured interviews and discussions with historians whose research explains the context and background. Following up on that project, we are publishing six articles… Read more »

Understanding the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report from the Perspective of a Climate Historian

By Dagomar Degroot (this post originally appeared on Degroot’s personal website) Established in 1988 by the UN and the World Meteorological Organization, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a scientific body that periodically summarizes the scholarly understanding of the world’s climate. In 2007, the panel’s fourth assessment report outlined in stark terms the likelihood of anthropogenic global warming. Since then,… Read more »

Ripple Effects: Great Lakes Water Levels

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By Daniel Macfarlane Lake Huron and Lake Michigan recently reached record lows. The other Great Lakes are also below average levels. Headlines such as “Two Great Lakes hit lowest water levels in history” or “Low water levels in Great Lakes cause concern” have been splashed across browsers and newspapers. Docks barely reach water, boats can’t get out of marinas, and… Read more »

A Quarter Millennia of Local Food

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By David Zylberberg It is currently spring in Ontario, plants are blooming and many people are expectantly awaiting the cherries, strawberries or tomatoes. Yesterday a pamphlet arrived in my mailbox advertising the home-delivery of seasonal organic produce, which emphasized the virtues of it being locally grown. At the same time, I see others suggesting that eating local food is morally… Read more »

The Politics of Place: Local History and the Megaproject

By Pete Anderson Sensing Changes: Technologies, Environment, and the Everyday, 1953-2003 Joy Parr University of British Columbia Press Paperback, 304 pages, $32.95 Just as all politics can be viewed as local, so, too, can history. Joy Parr’s Sensing Changes: Technologies, Environments, and the Everyday, 1953–2003 (UBC Press, 2010) explores local reactions to a series of “megaprojects,” with a focus on… Read more »

Historical Roots: Sandy, Skeletons, and Elm City

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By Jeffers Lennox Having spent four years living in Halifax, I’ve experienced my share of Nor’easters. During my MA year, a huge snowstorm forced the university to close on the day scheduled for my first comprehensive exam.  The entire class considered this a divine gift. Having now returned to the east coast after two years in Montreal and two years… Read more »

London’s Great Smog, 60 Years On

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When did the modern environmental movement begin? Did one event mark its beginning? Earlier this year we commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, which is often identified as bringing about the environmental movement. While this book’s importance is without question, focusing on it as the birth of environmentalism ignores the importance of urban environmental problems, from unsafe drinking water to severe air… Read more »

Hurricane Sandy: A Teachable Moment

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By Dagomar Degroot As this is published, so-called “Frankenstorm” hurricane Sandy is flooding large swaths of the American east coast. The deaths of more than sixty people in the Caribbean will likely represent this historic storm’s most direct and poignant toll. However, as reports of devastation come in from across the most densely populated regions of the United States it… Read more »

The Historical Roots of Today’s Climate of Apathy

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By Dagomar Degroot In recent weeks widespread outrage over the publication of Kate Middleton’s topless photos has existed in strange parallel with a decidedly muted response to a shocking acceleration of Arctic melting. While every day brought new stories of royal indignation and litigation to the front pages of major newspapers, concern over the plight of our increasingly topless planet… Read more »

The Raccoons

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By Daniel Macfarlane The Raccoons “Run with us – we got everything you need!” Does that line from a certain theme song jog any memories for Canadians between the ages of about 20 to 40? What about Ralph, Melissa, Cedric? If not those names, then surely Bert or Cyril Sneer? The theme song, and the aforementioned characters, are from The… Read more »