#EnvHist Worth Reading: June 2015

Theodore Roosevelt. Source: whatitmeanstobeamerican.org

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Every month I 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. We are taking a break from our #EnvHist Worth Reading videos over the summer; look for their return in the Fall. Here are my choices for items most worth reading from June 2015.

1. How A Historical Blunder Helped Create The Water Crisis In The West

In this interview, Abrahm Lustgarten discusses the research that he has conducted for the project Killing the Colorado (a fascinating project that I encourage others to explore). He argues that today’s water problems in the American West can be traced back to an agreement made between the western states in 1922. The great folly of the agreement was that each state was promised more water than the river can provide, leading to generations of mismanagement. It is primarily this mismanagement, not necessarily climate change or natural drought, that has led to the water crisis in the west, Lustgarten concludes.

2. The Christian Roots of Modern Environmentalism

Few figures loom as large in conservation history as Theodore Roosevelt. In this article, Mark Stoll argues that “Roosevelt’s colorful life and accomplishments distract us from an essential part of him: the profoundly moralistic worldview that fired his progressive zeal.” Stoll, author of Inherit the Holy Mountain: Religion and the Rise of American Environmentalism, looks at Roosevelt’s Presbyterian background and connects it to the similar Presbyterian backgrounds of many Progressive Era leaders. Stoll connects the zeal of Presbyterian evangelicalism to the fervor needed to the moral courage and conviction needed to spur on American environmentalism.

3. Decline of Glaciers in Western Canada Chronicled in Family Photographs

In this visually striking article, photographs of the Canadian Rockies taken in the early twentieth century are compared to contemporary photographs to demonstrate the decline of the Western Canadian glaciers. The original photographs, 2,000 in all, were taken by the Vaux family between the years 1887 and 1915. The more contemporary photos were taken by Henry Vaux, Jr., who hiked to the locations of each of the photographs to recreate them and to capture changes in the landscape after a century.

4. “Discovering” Dog Mess in 20th Century Paris

Chris Pearson explores the history of dogs on his blog Sniffing the Past. In this post, Pearson writes about the history of dog poop based on a paper in which he “discussed the “messy modernity” of dog mess in 20th century Paris and the ways in which the city’s authorities have tried to manage the problem through educational campaigns, issuing fines and the creation of dog toilets.” Pearson demonstrates that dog faeces is a topic that has caused debate and concern throughout modern history.

5. Matthew Evenden on Allied Power

In this video from the UBC Geography Department, Matthew Evenden talks about his new book, Allied Power: Mobilizing Hydro-Electricity during Canada’s Second World War.

6. Podcast: The Great Plague of London with Sean Munger

In this  podcast interview, conducted by the Groovy Historian, Sean Munger discusses the history of the Great Plague of London, focusing largely on its connection to environmental history.

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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is an environmental historian of Canada and the United States, editor, and digital communications strategist. She earned her PhD in History from the University of Saskatchewan in 2019. She is an executive member, editor, and social media editor for the Network in Canadian History and Environment (NiCHE). She is also a working board member of the Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society and Girls Rock Saskatoon. A passionate social justice advocate, she focuses on developing digital techniques and communications that bridge the divide between academia and the general public in order to democratize knowledge access. You can find out more about her and her freelance services at jessicamdewitt.com.

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