#EnvHist Worth Reading: May 2018

"Don't be afraid its only business! The aftermath of acid rain in Great Smoky Mountains, TN, USA." By The Shared Experience, Flickr Commons.

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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. You can watch all of our #EnvHist Worth Reading videos right here. Here are my choices for items most worth reading from May 2018:

1. The Fading Battlefields of World War I

This gorgeous photo essay took the online environmental history community by storm last month. “Across France and Belgium, significant battlefields and ruins were preserved as monuments, and farm fields that became battlegrounds ended up as vast cemeteries,” Alan Taylor writes, “In these places, the visible physical damage to the landscape remains as evidence of the phenomenal violence and destruction that took so many lives so long ago.” The images demonstrate the way in which time blurs the supposed line between natural and artificial.

2. Whatever Happened to Acid Rain?

In this episode of Distillations podcast they highlight a non-declensionist environmental history story: acid rain. They interview Rachel Rothschild, author of Poisonous Skies: Acid Rain and the Globalization of Pollution, and ecologist Gene Likens.

3. We’re Here. You Just Don’t See Us.

This article by Latria Graham adds to the conversation surrounding the erasure of POC in both contemporary and historical stories involving the outdoors. Graham discusses her personal and familial connection to the outdoors and nature. Graham discusses the historical forces that limited access to the outdoors for African Americans and other minorities. For example, Graham writes that “national parks weren’t especially welcoming, either; many were created as an escape from urban sprawl, at a time when urban was shorthand for blacks and immigrants. The parks were designed to be clean and white, and if we let the data tell the story, that’s how they’ve stayed.” Graham effectively interweaves the personal and historical with contemporary statistics.

4. Remembering the flood that nearly swallowed the Fraser Valley, 70 years later

This is another article that relies on photographs to illustrate the flood that occurred seventy years ago in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley. “More than 16,000 people were forced from their homes, many of which were destroyed. More than 22,000 hectares flooded,” Rhianna Schmunk.

5. Matthew S. Henry – Extractive Fictions: Energy and Environmental Justice in the Anthropocene

This is a talk by environmental humanities scholar Matthew S. Henry. Henry is a PhD Candidate in the Arizona State University Department of English. In this talk, Henry discusses his current research project. “By approaching energy from this perspective of extraction, I hope to advance existing conversations on the cultural significance of energy in anthropocene,” he states.


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

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is an environmental historian of Canada and the United States, editor, project manager, and digital communications strategist. She earned her PhD in History from the University of Saskatchewan in 2019. She is an executive member, editor-in-chief, and social media editor for the Network in Canadian History and Environment (NiCHE). Additionally, she is the Managing Editor for the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines. She is also a working board member of the Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society and Girls Rock Saskatoon and a Coordinating Team member of Showing Up for Racial Justice Saskatoon-Treaty Six. 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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