Category Archives: Environment

Montreal Walking Tour: Towers of Grain

      1 Comment on Montreal Walking Tour: Towers of Grain

Jim Clifford and Stéphane Castonguay will lead a walking tour on Sunday June 16 at 7pm starting at Victoria Square in Montreal. Towers of Grain: Feeding Edwardian Britain Silo number 1, built in 1902 in the Port of Montreal, linked the burgeoning wheat farms on the Prairies with the urban markets in the United Kingdom. New industrial-scale flour mills were… Read more »

The Anthropocene, Atmospheric Chemists, Geologists and Historians

  By Jim Clifford  Paul Crutzen, who proposed the Anthropocene epoch in 2002, wasn’t a geologist. He was an atmospheric chemist. This fact might explain the decision to reject his proposed new epoch. He wasn’t thinking like a geologist when he suggested the Anthropocene. I’m not a geologist either and have no opinion on whether they got this decision right… Read more »

A Century of Petroleum Extraction at Norman Wells

      No Comments on A Century of Petroleum Extraction at Norman Wells

[Editor’s note: We have slightly altered the original text because our website does not yet support Dene orthographies. For a .pdf version of this post in which Dene words and place names are displayed correctly, click here.] Petroleum Histories Project Team Norman Wells in the Northwest Territories is the site of the first oil and gas operation in the Canadian… Read more »

Did ChatGPT-4 attend my lecture?

      No Comments on Did ChatGPT-4 attend my lecture?

Jim Clifford In the lead-up to my take-home exam last April, I was trying to think of questions ChatGPT could not answer. I hoped that by focusing on details from my lectures that are not available on Wikipedia and other similar online sources, the large language model would fail to provide a strong answer. I was dead wrong:

“Out of the Frying Pan”: The Economist on peasants and climate change”

Jim Handy As summer winds down I have been slowly catching up on reading avoided while happily engaged elsewhere. This includes back copies of The Economist. As always reading The Economist prompts an appreciation for their insightful reporting on some issues and their tone-deaf, ahistorical and simply wrong accounts on others. The July 1st, 2023 edition had a briefing entitled… Read more »

ActiveHistory.ca repost — Decolonizing Cottage Country

Photograph of a calm lake with a brown wooden dock extending away from the viewer. There are red and green leaves on a tree branch in the foreground.

ActiveHistory.ca is slowing down our publication schedule this summer, but we’ll be back with more new posts in September. In the meantime, we’re featuring posts from our archive. Thanks as always to our writers and readers! The following post was originally featured on February 22, 2018. Since then, Drew Hayden Taylor has released Cottagers and Indians in print and directed… Read more »

“We feel left behind:” Ethnographic Perspectives on Just Transition, Re-Training, and Future of Energy Among Oil & Gas Communities in Alberta, Canada

by Anna Bettini A Changing Energy Landscape Driving along Highway 529, two hours south of Calgary, giant wind turbines tower over the fields of canola. Along the road, several signs indicate the local community opposition to wind energy projects [Picture 1]. As I approach the entrance of village of Carmangay, I notice a large wind turbine blade lying near it… Read more »

Drones in Environmental Humanities Research

      No Comments on Drones in Environmental Humanities Research

(Editor’s note: This post is published in partnership with NiCHE – Network in Canadian History & Environment) Mica Jorgenson “Okay Dimitrijs, now go somewhere cool.” Charlotte is wearing a heavy set of white VR glasses, standing in the sunshine on a University of Stavanger football pitch in Southern Norway. Dimitrijs is flying the drone. We are a mixed group of… Read more »

Storms of a Century: Fiona (2022) & Five (1923)

      No Comments on Storms of a Century: Fiona (2022) & Five (1923)

Alan MacEachern Rarely have I wanted so much to be on Prince Edward Island; never have I been so glad not to be there. It’s been hard to watch from a distance the disaster of Hurricane Fiona as it has unrolled slowly, then suddenly, then slowly again. Meteorologists warned days in advance that at landfall it would likely have the… Read more »

Carving out a Collective Identity

      No Comments on Carving out a Collective Identity
U.S. ship Frances sailing near Peru with the common sailor’s saying below ("Death to the living, long life to the killers, success to sailors wives, & greasy luck to whalers") engraved on scrimshaw.

Henry Jacob When artists exist outside of the canon, their names sometimes remain unknown. However, even if their personal identities fade, they may create objects that encourage future generations to better understand the time in which they lived. Occasionally, their artwork can also empower later viewers to reflect upon the collective identity of their own era. The object of this… Read more »