#EnvHist Worth Reading: October 2020

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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 read all of our past #EnvHist Worth Reading lists right here. Here are my choices for items most worth reading from October 2020:

1. Saving Caribou and Preserving Food Traditions Among Canada’s First Nations

In this article for Civil Eats, David Moskovitz traces Indigenous-led caribou conservation efforts in northeastern British Columbia. Once a reliable and sustainable food source, the caribou population in Canada began to decrease when miners moved into the region and a settler market for caribou meat developed in the 1800s. By the 1970s, mining and logging in the area had led to a drastic decline in the caribou population, with only 1,200 existing today. Moskovitz traces the contemporary caribou conservation efforts of Moberly and Saulteau peoples, providing a vivid portrait of the communities’ efforts to take back control of their land and food sovereignty from colonial control. “On a larger scale, the First Nations’ recovery work reflects the larger movement within their communities to address food sovereignty, cultural survival, and their link to first foods,” Moskovitz writes.

2. Episode 9: Ecofeminism and Queer Ecology

In this episode of The Ecopolitics Podcast, Peter Andrée speaks with Cate Sandilands and Sherilyn MacGregor about ecofeminism, queer ecology, and the links between the two fields of thought. Sandilands and MacGregor discuss how ecofeminism and queer ecology can inform environmental policy and politics, as well as environmental activism.

3. The Desert Keeps Receipts

This Contingent Magazine piece by B. Erin Cole is a comic account of a group of historians’ trip to Nevada to see the site that the United States used for nuclear testing between 1951 and 1992, or as Cole describes it “a seven-hour parade of terrible things.” Cole artfully interweaves the minutiae of the experience with descriptions of the overwhelming sadness and cynicism hanging in the air, demonstrating the power of alternative storytelling mediums. As an environmental historian, I was particularly taken by Cole’s descriptions of the landscape and personal connection to it. “The desert keeps reciepts [sic], it’s really hard to hide your fuck-ups in such a delicate place,” Cole observes.

4. For the Love of Peat

In this episode of 99% Invisible, producer Emmett Fitzgerald explores a landscape that is often overlooked in climate action plans: peat bogs. Although most emphasis is placed on forested landscapes, this episode and accompanying article explores the ‘carbon sink’ character of peat bogs, which they refer to as the ‘British equivalent of a tropical rainforest.” The episode focuses on the bog landscape of the Flow Country of northern Scotland, and traces the way in which this landscape has been damaged by draining and tree planting projects, as well as agriculture. The episode does a great job at illustrating how our ecological biases – a love of trees in this instance – can harm landscapes that are not as easy to love.

5.  Power – Part 1 | APTN Investigates

In the first part of “Power,” APTN explores the damage that Manitoba Hydro and its Churchill River Diversion (1973) caused, and how this damage led to the collapse of the South Indian Lake fishery. This investigation relies on individual, firsthand accounts from community members to illustrate the negative impact this hydro development had on the Indigenous communities in the area.


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


Feature Image: Cariboo Hunting, Lac au Lisle, John B. Wilkinson, 1867. Credit: Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. R9266-426 Peter Winkworth Collection of Canadiana.

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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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