Nature’s Past – Episode 40: Environmental History of Atlantic Canada

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Episode 40: Environmental History of Atlantic Canada, 5 November 2013 [55:30]

“Mattagami Landing” by George Walker MacKay. Source: Nova Scotia Archives, 1983-262 no. II-67

Canada is a country of regions and from a biogeographic perspective, it can be useful to take a regional approach to exploring its environmental history. In 2004, BC Studies published a special issue on the environment of Canada’s Pacific region and earlier this year, Acadiensis Press published Land and Sea: Environmental History in Atlantic Canada, an anthology of essays edited by Claire Campbell and Robert Summerby-Murray that explores numerous aspects of the environmental histories of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, parts of Quebec, and Newfoundland & Labrador.

The history of Canada’s Atlantic coastal region offers a number of important insights into environmental history that are both representative of the greater nation-state of Canada and unique to the particular biogeographic conditions of the region. In some ways, Atlantic Canada shares much in common with the rest of the country as a British settler colony, formerly colonized by the French, and originally inhabited by a long-standing population of indigenous North Americans. From the sixteenth century to the early twenty-first century, Atlantic Canada experienced significant ecological transformations as different human communities inhabited the region and exploited its resources over the centuries.

This is the broad subject of Land and Sea,  and to learn more I spoke with the editors and one of the authors from this new anthology.

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Works Cited:

Music Credits:


Kheraj, Sean. “Episode 40: Environmental History of Atlantic Canada” Nature’s Past: Canadian Environmental History Podcast. 5 November 2013.

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Sean Kheraj is the director of the Network in Canadian History and Environment. He's an associate professor in the Department of History and associate dean of programs in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies at York University. His research and teaching focuses on environmental and Canadian history. He is also the host and producer of Nature's Past, NiCHE's audio podcast series and he blogs at

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