December 17, 2017

Environmental History January 2017, 22.1

TABLE OF CONTENTS January, 2017 | Vol. 22, No. 1



Forgotten Paths of Empire: Ecology, Disease, and Commerce in the Making of Liberia’s Plantation Economy: President’s Address by Gregg Mitman

“A Catastrophe Happening in Front of Our Very Eyes”: The Environmental History of a Comet Crash on Jupiter by Dagomar Degroot

“A Fighter Pilot’s Heaven”: Finding Cold War Utility in the North African Desert by Gretchen Heefner

Engaging and Narrating the Antarctic Ice Sheet: The History of an Earthly Body by Alessandro Antonello

The Torrey Canyon Disaster, Everyday Life, and the “Greening” of Britain by Timothy Cooper and Anna Green


History allows us to journey to the far off, the unfamiliar, the umapped, and unexplored. Each of this issue’s essays examines a place that may be nearby and well known to some readers, but to those inside these narratives—to those about whom they are written—the landscapes were new and, depending on perspective, full of promise or peril. For us, the readers, these essays may introduce novel environments or places, or they may reintroduce familiar landscapes through unique lenses, methodologies, or sources. In either case, they offer original insight into the ways in which human societies interact with and perceive the non-human world. …Read the full Editor’s Note by Lisa Brady here.


Gallery Editors’ Note by Finis Dunaway

Protesters sit in front of the White House in Washington, DC, opposing the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, August 2011. Frame capture from video by Tar Sands Action, “Tar Sands Action: Phase One,” 2011.

In 2011 the proposed Keystone XL pipeline suddenly, and somewhat surprisingly, became the subject of a high-profile environmental controversy. Activists in, Tar Sands Action, and other groups argued that the pipeline, which would transport synthetic crude oil from the Alberta tar sands to the United States, posed tremendous ecological risks, including exacerbating the climate crisis. In this issue’s Gallery essay, Robert Wilson looks at one video produced by Tar Sands Action in September 2011. Posted on YouTube, the video sought to encourage viewers to join the massive demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience taking place that summer and fall. Wilson considers why the video focuses so closely on individual faces. He reads this source against broader histories of environmentalism—from the limits of green consumerism through ongoing efforts to diversify the movement. Rather than examining how these protests were framed by the mainstream media, Wilson explores how Tar Sands Action tried to represent itself. His essay illuminates contemporary environmental activism and shows how the Internet and social media offer inviting new landscapes for environmental history.

Read the full Gallery Essay “Faces of the Climate Movementby Robert M. Wilson