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Water Is Wealth
A Place in Flux: Memory and Futurity in the Hackensack Meadowlands
From the middle of the Hackensack River, sweltering in the heat of an early summer day, I peered up at the New Jersey Turnpike from my seat on the pontoon boat. I usually see this place from the view of my own car—or occasionally, the train, from which an expansive view of the estuary is even easier to take in: billowing stands of common reed (Phragmites), glistening mudflats at certain times of the day, and looming cityscapes on the horizon. I’d never before found myself in the landscape quite like this, from the view of the water…
Teaching the History of American Rivers
Like Open Rivers, I have long tried to answer the question of the value of river history and how can it be put to work to achieve environmental justice. While we each have a home or favorite river that captivates us, there is a broader, if unspoken, understanding of rivers and the role they play in shaping our history. Last fall I organized a conference that attempted to address this challenge. Called All Water Has a Memory: Rivers and American History, the conference featured presenters from academia, nature writing, and environmental and community activism who shared their history and experience of individual rivers in three sessions: Slavery and Freedom, Indigenous Resistance, and The Environmental Movement…
Hidden Waterways: Bassett Creek
Bassett Creek, a meandering waterway separating North Minneapolis from the rest of the city, was ignored, piped, and hidden from the landscape over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The creek’s main stem begins downstream of Medicine Lake. The North Branch and the Sweeney Lake Branch join it in the 1.7-mile long tunnel that runs through Minneapolis (Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission, n.d.). Unlike many of the other water features in Minneapolis such as the Chain of Lakes and Minnehaha Creek, Bassett Creek was not seen as an amenity…
Misi-zaaga’iganing (Mille Lacs Lake)
Mille Lacs Lake is the second largest lake in Minnesota and archaeological evidence suggests that it was one of the first areas that humans settled in the region. Many different groups of people have called the area around the lake home. A number of Native American tribes have lived around the lake throughout time.
Whitewater State Park: 100 Years in Paradise
This year, 2019, marks the Centennial Anniversary of Whitewater State Park located in Winona County in the southeast Minnesota blufflands region. The story of how this place evolved into the popular tourist destination it is today is both fascinating and frightening and the park naturalists are working to make sure that story is not forgotten.
Vintage EPA photos reveal what US waterways looked like before pollution was regulated
The Perils and Promise of Using Short-Term Media to Teach Long-Term Climate Patterns
A concern for climate change has burst onto the national media, scientific literatures, and other discourses over the past year. As someone who teaches in design- and natural resource-oriented fields, I feel an obligation to equip my students with critical awarenesses of the patterns, as well as a sense of what they can do, professionally and personally, to face this crisis.
Paradoxes of Water: A Reading List
Questions about water are often implicitly about systems of power. The benefits and impacts of how water is used, distributed, and accessed are unevenly distributed. Water thus becomes a site where the inequalities in society are made visible and contestation arises. The readings listed here offer a sample of some of the ways water is implicated in systems of inequality and work toward social justice.