Monday, 12 August 2013

Eco-Images and the Canadian Environmental Movement

The Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society "is an international, interdisciplinary center for research and education in the environmental humanities and social sciences" based out of Munich, Germany. Among its regular activities is the publication of the Perspectives series. A recent edition of this journal published my article, "Advertising the Environmental Movement: Vickers and Benson's Branding of Pollution Probe." You can read it, along with a number of other fine essays on the topic of "Eco-Images," here.

Thanks again to all those who commented on various drafts of this paper, and Gisela Parak, who edited this particular volume.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Brothers and Sisters of Cornleius Howatt Gathering

If you're an enthusiast for Prince Edward Island history, you've likely heard of the Brothers and Sisters of Cornelius Howatt. (If you're not familiar with the group, I wrote an op-ed about the organization, and their namesake, that you can read here.) This year marks the fortieth anniversary since the Brothers and Sisters waged their year-long campaign to address major issues affecting Island society. In order to mark the occasion, former members and supporters of the group will be gathering on August 8th. Founders Harry Baglole and David Weale will be present, and I'll be giving a talk titled "The Pie-Faced Kid at 40: The Legacy of the Brothers and Sisters of Cornelius Howatt." This being a celebration, there will also be music. (I've been told that both Roy Johnstone and Allan Rankin will be performing, but don't quote me on that.)

Stories will be shared, and hopefully some photographs and memorabilia will surface. If you're in the Charlottetown area on August 8th, do stop by the Irish Cultural Centre and join in the fun. There is no admission charge, and the event begins at 7:30 PM.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

A New Clayoquot Summer?

The battle to protect Clayoquot Sound, the old growth rain forest on Vancouver Island, was one of the defining campaigns of the Canadian environmental movement during the early 1990s. Thousands participated in protests to halt clearcut logging in the area, all the while launching a new generation of environmental leadership within this country. (One of these figures was Tzeporah Berman, whose memoirs are discussed elsewhere on this site.) After environmentalists won major concessions to protect the area, Clayoquot Sound more or less faded from the public consciousness.

A recent story in the Globe and Mail reveals renewed concern for the area's ecological integrity. Continued logging, fish farming, and the threat of mining on Catface Mountain have led Dan Lewis and Bonny Glambeck, veterans of the earlier protests, to form Clayoquot Action. Described on their website as "a frontline conservation organization committed to peacefully protecting the biocultural diversity of Clayoquot Sound," they aim to take on Imperial Metals, which has acquired mineral rights to the area.

Lewis and Glambeck suggest that they have no plans to orchestrate the massive protests that characterize the earlier campaign. As Berman's book demonstrates, the activists learned a great deal about working behind the scenes during the nineties. Protests are great at showing that people care, she notes, but without carefully defined objectives such activities can result in little progress. Likewise, Berman also notes the importance of forging alliances and finding common ground with other interests in order to make gains. In short, a cause such as this requires not just passion and idealism, but also a healthy dose of pragmatism.

Clayoquot Sound is an irreplaceable environmental treasure. It will be interesting to see how much Lewis and Glambeck's work will be informed by the earlier campaign.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Review of John Turner biography

My review of Paul Litt's Elusive Destiny: The Political Vocation of John Napier Turner can be found in the latest edition of the Journal of Historical Biography. You can read it by clicking here.

Monday, 15 April 2013

New Journal Article About "The Air of Death"

My article, "An Ecological Call to Arms: The Air of Death and the Origins of Environmental Activism in Ontario," was published in the Spring 2013 edition of Ontario History. You can read the article by clicking here.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

"Pollution Probe and the Not-So-Secret Beginnings of Environmental Activism in Ontario" lecture at Trent University - April 18

I'm delivering a public lecture titled "Pollution Probe and the Not-So-Secret Beginnings of Environmental Activism in Ontario" on Thursday, April 18 at 7pm. The lecture will occur at Bagnani Hall, Traill College (Trent University) in Peterborough. For more information, please check out the poster or send me an email.

All are welcome!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Canadian Coalition on Acid Rain paper at the ASEH 2013

This past week I had the opportunity to present at the Annual Conference of the American Society for Environmental History. My panel, "Transnational Environmentalism and the Creation of a Canadian Movement," featured four papers. The papers, in order of presentation, were:
  • Henry Trim, University of British Columbia 
    • "Expert Advice: Environmentalism and Canadian Energy Policy"
  • Ryan O'Connor, Trent University
    • "Regional Fissures and International Interests: Building Support for the Canadian Coalition on Acid Rain, 1981-1990"
  • Mark Leeming, Dalhousie University
    • "Friends in Far Places: Cape Breton's Herbicide Trial"
  • Jonathan Clapperton, University of Saskatchewan
    • "Reconsidering Indigenous Environmentalism: Culture, Nature, and Ecological Stewardship on the Northwest Pacific Coast"
I'd like to thank all those who came out to hear our panel. A special thanks goes out to Michael Egan for expertly chairing the panel and for sharing his keen insights.