A second massive earthquake overwhelmed Nepal on Tuesday. The quake registered at a magnitude of 7.3, killed 96 people and injured more than 2,300. These unfortunate numbers add to the already high tolls from the magnitude-7.8 earthquake that hit on April 25. By comparison, the first quake killed more than 8,150 people, injured tens of thousands more and left hundreds of thousands homeless. Yet the treacherous circumstances may worsen, as relief efforts stretch beyond capacity and incoming monsoon rains loom large. The sheer power of nature in such circumstance provides a grim reminder of the fragility of life. Our thoughts and well wishes certainly go out to all persons affected. Today, considering how nature is central to all human affairs, we reflect briefly on the growth and evolution of environmental history.Read More
Today we use maps with an ease. Google Maps or other such programs allow us to find directions to any place and virtually anywhere at the tap of a finger. Using Google Earth we can fly above the world and explore our world's coastlines and mountains or even the still waves of the open ocean's vast kilometres. The accuracy of these maps would have astonished someone even twenty years ago – let alone a visitor from the pre-digital age. Maps are more than just a set of directions or a hunt for accuracy. They are forms of communication as much as writing. Today we look at maps and the worlds they create for us.Read More
In the first part of this series, we broadly touched on environmental and medical history as new (to us) areas of discussion. We examined the impact of poor policy on lead regulation and the “silent epidemic” of lead poisoning in the 1960s. We wonder what silent epidemics afflict us today as we look for lessons from these fields. So today we turn to what could be a modern day epidemic that has far reaching consequences, chemical contaminants and environmental sensitivities.Read More
Clio's Current has wandered widely in its foray into online history, but there are some topics which we have avoided. Some because we know nothing about them, and others because we know just enough that we know we have nothing worth saying. Environmental and medical history fall into the second category. In a two part series, we touch on these unfamiliar fields while exploring the history of lead use in North America.Read More
In this post, we offer some reflections about the use of water as a weapon during the Second World War, and specifically its use in the southern Netherlands. The battle for the Scheldt, which took place between October and November 1944, began by flooding large swathes of Dutch territory in an attempt to dislodge Nazi occupying forces. In the end, and because of the mobilization of water as a weapon, this particular region in the Netherlands doesn't necessarily subscribe to the "sweetest spring" narrative typically associated with Dutch-Canadian relations in 1945.