Friday, April 22, 2011

The History of Earth Day in Toronto

Last year I appeared on The Green Majority - "Canada's first environmental newshour" -to discuss the first Earth Day in Toronto. You can find the interview here.

If you liked what you heard you may want to consider listening to The Green Majority on a regular basis. I subscribe to the weekly production via iTunes, and if you live in the GTA you can find it on the dial at 89.5 FM.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Adventures of a Postdoctoral Fellow

Every so often I'm asked what life as a postdoctoral fellow entails. As far as my three-plus months of experience indicate, it isn't much different from grad life, insofar that, while the focus is on researching and writing a new project, there's a plethora of activities on the go. (Of course, there's the wonderful benefit of having your dissertation behind you and no tuition fees to pay.) While postdoctoral positions take a number of forms, the SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship that I hold is two years in duration. I've spent the past month and a half researching my topic - the Canadian Coalition on Acid Rain - at the University of Waterloo archives. I've also begun work on my latest oral history project, which focuses on the stories of children of back-to-the-landers on Prince Edward Island. These interviews will form the basis of a chapter that I will co-author with Alan MacEachern in an edited collection on counterculture and the environment in Canada. (These interviews may also be used to expand our digital exhibit, "Back to the Island.") On top of this I'm revising an article, based on a chapter from my dissertation, for publication, and preparing to teach H483: The History of the Environmentalist Movement, which begins next month at the University of Prince Edward Island.

Things won't slow down this summer. In addition to teaching the aforementioned course I'll be revising my dissertation for publication, preparing a book chapter on the Is Five Foundation's recycling efforts, and, hopefully, completing my long-promised digital exhibit on the small party, which is the predecessor to the Canadian Green Party. Somewhere along the line I hope to put some more work into my history of the Canadian Coalition on Acid Rain, although I suspect writing won't begin in earnest until I relocate to Peterborough in the fall.

I have a few more projects in mind, but I'm hoping to cross a few items off of my "to do" list before beginning anything else. So, if you think life as a doctoral candidate is complicated, I suggest you learn to juggle projects. The truth is, if you're fortunate enough, it's only going to get busier.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Matt and Malachy

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my sixth grade science fair project examined the effects of acid rain. Turns out that was a fairly popular topic for children to study. While researching the role of the Canadian Coalition on Acid Rain I've come across hundreds of requests for information, many of which came from youth working on school projects. The letter posted above came from Matt and Malachy - no surname was provided - of Kansas City, Missouri. As they note, "We are kids and we are writin (sic) to you because were (sic) doing a science project on acid rain. It is such a big proplem (sic) that we don't now (sic) where to start. Please send us some imformation (sic) on acid rain and give us an idea how to start and set it up. PLEASE DOM'T (sic) PASS IT UP". This letter was addressed to Michael Perley, executive coordinator of the Canadian Coalition on Acid Rain, and co-author of two books on the subject. His reply, posted below, included a small kit to test the acidity of rain in Kansas City, bumper stickers, buttons, and some literature "to show how Canadians are trying to get the message across to industries and governments in both Canada and the United States that acid rain is a serious problem and needs a solution soon." I'm not sure how Matt and Malachy's project went, but I'm sure they were delighted with all the free stuff they received.
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