Tag Archives: environmental history

The Value of Historical Maps: Solving At Least Part of the Mystery of the Origins of the Acadians

By Gregory Kennedy One of the principal challenges of Acadian history is that we do not have conclusive proof of the origins of the first permanent colonists.  The passenger lists, parish registers, tax records, or censuses that genealogists use for other groups and regions have not been found and may not exist.  There are a few exceptions, and as early… Read more »

A Big Fracking Deal

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By Daniel Macfarlane The recent showdown between Native protestors and police over “fracking” in New Brunswick brought together several contentious issues that have simmering, and periodically boiling over, in Canadian society as of late (an interactive map of New Brunswick fracking can be found here). Obviously one of them, and probably the most prominent, is the Canadian state’s past and… Read more »

Tracking Canada’s History of Oil Pipeline Spills

By Sean Kheraj Last week, CBC News published a series of articles about energy pipeline safety on Canada’s federally-regulated system of oil and gas pipelines, revealing that between 2000 and 2011 Canada suffered 1,047 separate pipeline incidents. Its findings confirm my own earlier research on the history of oil pipeline spills on the network of interprovincial and international oil pipelines… Read more »

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

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 »