A paper exploring how the perception of rivers has changed over time has just been published in a special issue of the international journal River Research Applications, entitled The meaning of rivers in Aotearoa New Zealand – Past and present”.
I was recently alerted to this interesting graph showing the various drivers in landscape transformation in Aotearoa New Zealand over the past two centuries. The graph appears in Eric Pawson’s chapter ‘Sustainability and management of the environment’ in The physical environment: A New Zealand perspective, edited by A. Sturman and R. Spronken-Smith (Oxford University Press, 2001). It would be an intriguing to see how the graph looks beyond 2000.
“Reading this book will likely change your perception of the New Zealand environment. It is a must-read for all New Zealand landscape architects, planners, resource management lawyers and indeed all New Zealanders that want to achieve a better future for their children and their children’s children.”
This was the conclusion of Peter Kensington, planner and landscape architect in a recent review of Beyond Manapouri: 50 years of environmental politics in New Zealand (Canterbury University Press).
Madi Kensington, aged 11 years old, also reviewed the book, and concluded:
“This book perfectly explains how New Zealand has changed its view on the environment many times over the past 50 years. In the early days, our environment was regarded as something our government didn’t need to worry about, but as the years wore on, things started getting more serious. Knight has explained these issues with perfectly-worded descriptions and given real examples, making for convincing reading.”
In a recent article published in George Washington University’s online journal History News Network, I argue that New Zealand may be on the cusp of a tipping point – not in the state of our environment, but rather, in terms of New Zealanders’ awareness of the gravity of environmental issues we face and the need to make meaningful interventions.
I conclude my article with the hope that a future historian will be able to reflect back on this period, and identify it as a watershed era in terms of environmental awareness and action – a ‘tipping point’ in environmental history, much like the Save Manapouri Campaign was half a century ago.
Has New Zealand failed its environment? is the question asked by Jamie Morton, Science Reporter at the New Zealand Herald, in his piece published yesterday about Beyond Manapouri: 50 years of environmental politics in New Zealand (Canterbury University Press) [read article here].
In his interview, one of the questions Jamie asked me was:
‘Looking into the near future, what do you think will be the big issues of contention? Is there anything on the horizon that might prove New Zealand’s next Manapouri?’Continue reading →
Long-time envirohistory NZ followers may remember I had a fairly regular post introducing the most popular posts for the quarter or year. It’s been a while since I have done this so I thought as a celebration of envirohistory NZ’s ‘rebirth’, I would present the top 5 posts of ALL TIME (well, since 2009). So here they are:
Long-time envirohistory NZ followers may remember that back in mid-2016, I decided to ‘retire’ envirohistory NZ and transition to a new website and blog with a slightly different focus (see envirohistory NZ lives on! (but somewhere else)). Since then, I have only blogged intermittently on envirohistory NZ, to mark big happenings, like the release of books. This move coincided more or less with some big life changes (good ones, I hasten to add!) (see Life changes). Continue reading →
A new book, Beyond Manapouri: 50 years of environmental politics in New Zealand,traces the history of environmental governance in Aotearoa New Zealand since the heady days of the 1969 Save Manapouri campaign and tackles the reasons for our failure to address our biggest environmental issues.
Dr Catherine Knight, an environmental historian, says her book – published by Canterbury University Press – suggests there are key cultural shifts New Zealanders need to make if real progress is to be made in the environmental sphere. Catherine draws on her own insights as a government ‘insider’ having worked at the coalface of environment policy for nine years.
“We’re on the cusp of significant shifts in our environment and our attitudes towards it – Continue reading →