#EnvHist Worth Reading: September 2022

Scroll this

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 September 2022:

1. 5 things to know about Patagonia’s unusual history of activism

Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard’s decision to give away the company in order to support climate change initiatives and other environmental issues made waves across the internet in September. In this piece for The Washington Post, Allyson Chiu outlines why this move by the outdoor-apparel company is not entirely surprising given it and Chouinard’s history of activism. Chiu provides five things that demonstrate this activism from the company’s public lands advocacy to its support of dam removal initiatives.

2. Remembering the ‘Ice Widows’ of a Doomed Antarctic Expedition

This Atlas Obscura interview, Sarah Durn speaks with Anne Fletcher about her new book, Widows of the Ice: The Women That Scott’s Antarctic Expedition Left Behind, which follows the story of three wives of the explorers of the ill-fated, antarctic Terra Nova Expedition. The interview highlights the way that cultural thirst for arctic and antarctic exploration and its desire for the conquering of extreme environments had social impacts that reverberated at the personal and global level. “My approach was to take a great event that we’ve always thought was all about men and see how it changes if you put the women back in. And I think it changes by becoming less glorious. The Terra Nova Expedition is presented to us as this sort of wonderful sacrifice. That’s not the case for their wives and children,” Fletcher comments.


In this piece, republished on The White Horse Press Blog, Claire Campbell takes on one of the biggest challenges faced by parents today: how to address the grim reality of the climate crisis and biodiversity loss without falling victim to the weight of these realities. Campbell describes her son’s fascination with tigers, the way in which they navigated helping their son take concrete steps to help tigers, and why this strategy, ultimately, felt like it fell short and reinforced reductionist and neoliberal approaches to environmental problems. “We need to acknowledge two simultaneous historical velocities: the longer genealogy of human impact and the real-time experience of our children,” Campbell writes.

4. CULTIVATING HISTORY: The Plant Humanities at Dumbarton Oaks

In this article for Perspectives, Yota Batsaki and Julia Fine highlight the work of the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections, focusing on a new focus of the institution: the plant humanities. “Through our new attunement to plants across our living and special collections, we began to see firsthand what historians and anthropologists of science, food, and medicine have long argued: that plants offer an extraordinary lens through which to teach critical subjects, including the histories of imperialism, commodities, and migration, and environmental humanities, as well as the present climate crisis,” they write. Batsaki and Fine discuss the what constitutes the plant humanities and the unique opportunities that a focus on plants can bring to researchers and students.

5. Faculty Favorites: Readings For an Anticolonial Environmental Syllabus

Edge Effects always has the best reading lists! In this list, six scholars were asked to provide recommendations for books and articles that contribute to anticolonial environmental education. Suggestions range from black ecology to climate coloniality. Happy reading, y’all!

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

Feature Image: “Exploring plant/human relationships in the greenhouse” by Amy M. Youngs is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
The following two tabs change content below.
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.

NiCHE encourages comments and constructive discussion of our articles. We reserve the right to delete comments that fail to meet our guidelines including comments under aliases, or that contain spam, harassment, or attacks on an individual.