What was the Silsoe Conference and why should we remember it?

Forty eight years ago, in July 1969, a conference was held at Silsoe Agricultural College in Bedfordshire. It was jointly organised by the RSPB, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), The Wildlife Trusts, the National Conservancy Council (now Natural England) and the Agricultural Development Advisory Service (ADAS), and it aimed to bring farmers and conservationists … Continue reading What was the Silsoe Conference and why should we remember it?

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A visit to the Pliocene Forest

Earlier today I travelled up to Sutton in Suffolk to visit 'the Pliocene Forest', a project managed by GeoSuffolk. We are exploring options for ecotourism on the farm and with our own Pliocene/Pleistocene heritage, Sutton seemed like an interesting model. We were met by Barry, who runs the site with a team of loyal volunteers. … Continue reading A visit to the Pliocene Forest

Do we need to reinvigorate Environmental History?

‘‘Many people believe that the humanities are retreating, that they are irrelevant, and students—especially in the emerging world—are encouraged to study subjects that are considered to be more useful for the labour market. The task of the humanities, according to Wilfrid McClay, is to be distinctive from the natural and social sciences, by grasping ‘human … Continue reading Do we need to reinvigorate Environmental History?

The Need for Food Education – not a new issue

A few days ago I had a conversation with a local historian about a subject matter relevant to some research that I have been doing for a few years now regarding my local area. One of the themes that we discovered as a result of this conversation is that ideas tend to repeat themselves in … Continue reading The Need for Food Education – not a new issue

What is animal studies?

Last week I was lucky enough to be able to attend a BIRTHA funded symposium at the University of Bristol Department of Historical Studies on the subject of 'Animals and Empire' - involving a cross disciplinary approach to research in the form of animal studies. The day included papers on subjects as diverse as 'Mules … Continue reading What is animal studies?

Bill Cronon on Environmental History

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=lGAtus2iA7c Whenever anyone asks me about what era or 'typology' of history I most enjoy studying I generally respond with two small words: 'environmental history'. Those of you who regularly read my posts will know that environmental history forms a profound base in my interests and my study and indeed I hope to write many … Continue reading Bill Cronon on Environmental History

The notion of space in environmental history

I have just been reading the introduction to 'Alaska's Place in the West: From the Last Frontier To the Last Great Wilderness' (Lawrence, 2010) by American environmental historian Roxanne Willis. One particular aspect of this short essay grabbed my attention: the notion of geographical space when it comes to constructing frameworks and, particularly in this … Continue reading The notion of space in environmental history

The English Wine Industry (a history of) – a neglected opportunity?

In recent years there has been a rising amount of media interest in English wines and the English wine trade. Hits on English wine websites have been increasing and sales in the shops rising. Why might this be? Certainly a general shift towards localism and regionalism regarding food and drink choices is one factor. Growth … Continue reading The English Wine Industry (a history of) – a neglected opportunity?