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A Coffee Conversation in Environmental History
Join us for an informal discussion about new directions in environmental history with Nancy Langston, a leading environmental historian based at Michigan Technological University, past editor of Environmental History and past president of the American Society for Environmental History. Langston recently finished a book on climate change and toxics in the Lake Superior basin titled Sustaining Lake Superior (Yale University Press, Fall 2017). The book will be available in September 2017.
Langston’s next project will explore climate change and animal migrations, focused on the upper Great Lakes. How has climate change affected the movements of three iconic species of the northern forest: woodland caribou, coaster brook trout, and loons? These species were once abundant in the Great Lakes region, but habitat change, toxics, and over-hunting decimated their populations by the early 20th century. Conservation efforts recovered breeding populations of loons, but woodland caribou are now ghost species throughout much of their former range. On a few islands along the north coast of Lake Superior, vigorous populations persist, but climate change threatens their populations. Coaster brook trout are hanging on in a few runs, but their future is equally uncertain. How have the relationships between humans and these other species been influenced by climate change? How do animal migrations influence the mobilizations of toxics into distant spaces, and how does climate change in turn affect toxic mobility? Can restoring these species help in the fight against climate change?
Langston’s previous books include:
- An environmental history of Malheur Wildlife Refuge titled Where Land and Water Meet: A Western Landscape Transformed (University of Washington Press, 2003). Where Land and Water Meet focuses on dilemmas over riparian management in the West, and offers solutions to the conflicts that have paralyzed land management.
- A history of the old growth crisis in the west titled Forest Dreams, Forest Nightmares: The Paradox of Old Growth in the Inland West (UWP 1995). Forest Dreams examines the causes of the forest health crisis on western national forests. It won the 1997 Forest History Society book prize for best book in forest and conservation history published in the preceding two years.
- A history of endocrine disruptors: Toxic Bodies: Hormone Disruptors and the Legacy of DES, (Yale University Press 2010). Toxic Bodies examines the history of synthetic chemicals that disrupt hormones and the struggle for a precautionary principle to protect human and environmental health.