#EnvHist Worth Reading: June 2014

"Read II" by Daniel Go

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Every month we carefully track the most popular and significant environmental history articles, videos, audio, and other items making their way through the online environmental history (#envhist) community. Here are our choices for items most worth reading from June 2014.

1. Photos of Alaska: Then and Now

Our most popular post on Facebook this month was an article on snowaddiction.org, which juxtaposes historical photographs of Alaskan landscape with current photographs of the same place. The photographs offer rather impressive evidence of the change that has occurred in northern environs as a result of climate change.

2. Hiking While Black: The Untold Story

One of the most interesting environmental history items in June was an article and interview with Carolyn Finney about her new book, Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors. In the article and the book, Finney explores why the American story of conservation and nature is dominated by white figures. This article is particularly a must-read for those of us attending the Environmentalism from Below workshop at the University of Alberta in August. 

3. Environmental History Field Notes

Environmental History introduced its web-only essay feature, Field Notes, this month. The first essay is “New Spaces for Stories: Technical and Conceptual Challenges to Using Spatial Imagery in Environmental History” by David Biggs. Those individuals interested in HGIS and spatial history in general will find this article of particular interest. It is a great example of how online content will enable historians to more fully experiment with digital and other non-traditional content.

4. Undoing Forever

CBC’s radio program Ideas aired an episode called “Undoing Forever,” which examines the ethics, practicality, and science behind de-extinction–bringing back animals that have gone extinct. The program includes an interview with environmental historian Dolly Jorgensen, who argues that society must look at historical species reintroduction schemes to fully illuminate the possible implications of future de-extinction plans.

5. Battlefield Earth – the Geological Legacy of War

The 100 year anniversary of the First World War has resulted in a plethora of content hitting the internet in June. One article dealing with the environmental implications of the war on the European landscape is “Battlefield Earth – the Geological Legacy of War” by David Bressen in Scientific American. Bressen concludes that the earth moved during the First World War represents “another erosive legacy of the Anthropocene.”

Remember to follow #envhist hashtag and NiCHE (@NiCHE_Canada) on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ to keep up with the latest environmental history content.


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Jessica DeWitt is a historian of the American and Canadian environment, editor, and digital communications strategist. She is an editor and social media editor for NiCHE.

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