Category Archives: Environment

Catastrophic Rhetoric: False Enchantments and ‘Unprecedented’ Disasters in British Columbia’s Punishing 2021

Pine and grass ecology Nlaka'pamux land

This article is reposted, in slightly edited form and with permission, from the first issue of Syndemic Magazine: “Neo-liberalism and Covid-19.” Syndemic Magazine is a project of the L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian History at McMaster University. Its second issue, “Labour in a Treacherous Time,” is also now available. By Mica Jorgensen It came suddenly, violently tearing up lives and landscapes, subjecting countless British Columbians… Read more »

Making Private Property in Rural Britain and Canada

Robin Ganev Recently the government of Saskatchewan strengthened existing trespassing law to the benefit of farmers and to the detriment of Indigenous people. The new laws took effect on Jan. 1, 2022. Under previous legislation, land owners had an obligation to put up posting if they wanted to limit access to their land. Now it is the responsibility of “trespassers”… Read more »

Rescuing Historical Data for Climate Science

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Emily Manson [T]hose log books give the wind and weather every hour… spread over a great extent of ocean. What better data could a patient meteorological philosopher desire? – Francis Beaufort to Richard Lovell Edgeworth, 1809[1] Captains of nautical vessels have been keeping logbooks for centuries, for a variety of purposes. In the early modern period, captains described their travels… Read more »

E.P. Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class, Industrial Capitalism, and the Climate Emergency

This is the eleventh post in the series Historians Confront the Climate Emergency, hosted by ActiveHistory.ca, NiCHE (Network in Canadian History & Environment), Historical Climatology, and Climate History Network. By Jim Clifford “If you are a historian, your work is about global warming.” Dagomar Degroot. A few weeks ago Dagomar Degroot provided an overview of the excellent work done by historians of science,… Read more »

Towards a History of Canadian Climate Diplomacy

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Daniel Macfarlane In 2013, Canada was bestowed the satirical “Lifetime Unachievement” Fossil award by Climate Action Network International in recognition of the country’s record of obstructing global climate change talks. This dubious distinction was well-earned by Stephen Harper’s Conservative government. But its Liberal predecessors and successors didn’t do much better when it came to actually reducing the country’s greenhouse gas… Read more »

John E. “Jack” Hammell and the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame

By Matthew Corbeil In January 2007, Canadian mining giant Teck Cominco (since rebranded Teck Resources) donated $10 million to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in what was “the largest corporate gift in the museum’s history.” The donation went toward the creation of three new earth science galleries, allowing the museum to double the number of minerals and gems it could… Read more »

A Reluctant Steward: Alberta and Its Parks

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By Jessica DeWitt [We are publishing this in partnership with the Network in Canadian History & Environment.] This past week the Alberta Provincial Government announced it’s plan to ‘optimize’ its park system. This includes: The full or partial closure of twenty parks. Shortened operating seasons. Fewer groomed cross-country tracks Closures of a few visitor information centres Service fee increases A proposal to partner… Read more »

Half Oil and Half Green: The Southern Roots of the Prairie West’s Anti-Environmental Rhetoric

Louis Reed-Wood This past autumn, Aatash Amir, a Vancouver man concerned about emissions caused by gas-powered leaf blowers, circulated an online petition to have them banned in his hometown of Saskatoon. Upon posting the petition to a local Facebook group, he quickly received a flood of hateful comments, ranging from racist remarks, threats of violence, and calls for Amir to… Read more »

A’Se’k – Boat Harbour: A Site of Centuries’ Long Mi’kmaw Resistance

By Colin Osmond On October 4th, hundreds of people gathered at Pictou Landing First Nation and marched to A’Se’k (Boat Harbour, N.S.) to demand that the governments of Nova Scotia and Canada live up to their promise to stop the flow of toxic waste into the tidal lagoon. A’Se’k is the site of an effluent treatment facility handling wastewater from… Read more »

Of Energy and the Need for Electoral Reform: Déjà-vu and the 1979 and 1980 federal elections

  Editor’s Note: This post is the third in our special series on elections. Matthew Hayday Energy taxes. Housing affordability. Deep regional divisions in Canada, exacerbated by the first-past-the-post electoral system. Oh wait, you mean we’re talking about 2019, and not about the pair of federal elections from forty years ago? This election season is offering us a great deal to… Read more »