(book chapter in On Active Grounds) This book considers the themes of agency and time through the burgeoning, interdisciplinary field of the environmental humanities. Fourteen essays and a photo album cover topics such as environmental practices and history, temporal literacy, graphic novels, ecocinema, ecomusicology, animal studies, Indigeneity, wolf reintroduction, environmental history, green conservatism, and social-ecological systems change. The book also speaks to the growing concern regarding environmental issues in the aftermath of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21) and the election of Donald Trump in the United States. This collection is organized as a written and visual appeal to issues such as time (how much is left?) and agency (who is active? what can be done? what does and does not work?). It describes problems and suggests solutions. On Active Grounds is unique in its explicit and twinned emphasis on time and agency in the context of the Environmental Humanities and a requisite interdisciplinarity.
Ocean systems, and the culturally and commercially important fishes that inhabit them, face growing threats. Increasingly, unconventional data sources are being used to inform fisheries research and management for data‐poor species.
Listed as a species of special concern in Canada, yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus) are vulnerable to exploitation, and have historical and cultural value to Indigenous people. In this study, Indigenous fishers of British Columbia, Canada, were interviewed and asked about observed changes to the body sizes (length) and abundance of this species over the last ~60 years, and the factors driving these changes. Their current and historical estimates of size and abundance were compared with current biological survey data.
Forty‐two semi‐directed interviews were carried out and 89% of respondents observed a decrease in yelloweye rockfish body sizes since the 1980s. The median historical (1950s–1980s) length was 84 cm, compared with the median modern (2010–2015) length of 46 cm. All but one respondent reported substantial decrease in yelloweye rockfish abundance since their earliest fishing experiences (1950s to1980s, depending on participant’s age), with a third suggesting the change was most evident in the early 2000s, followed by the 1980s (21%) and 1990s (17%).
Sizes of modern yelloweye rockfish estimated by participants resembled estimates derived from ecological data recorded concurrently at the study region.
This study illustrates a repeatable method for using traditional and local knowledge to extend baselines for data‐poor species, and highlights the value of integrating Indigenous knowledge into fisheries research and management.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are inherent to international commitments to protect the oceans and have the potential to recognize, honour, and re-invigorate Indigenous rights. Involvement of Indigenous peoples in the governance and management of MPAs, however, has received little attention. A review of the literature revealed only 15 publications on this topic (< 0.5% of papers on MPAs).
Inuit living in the Canadian Arctic have undergone rapid societal changes in the last half century, including moving into permanent settlements, the introduction of formal education, participation in the wage-economy, mechanization of hunting and travel, and increased consumption of store-bought foods. Despite these changes, country foods—locally harvested fish and wildlife—continue to be important in the lives of many Inuit for food security. However, fewer people are hunting full-time and some households are without an active hunter, limiting their access to country foods. This shift has increased reliance on processed foods purchased at the store to meet their daily food needs. These foods are often expensive, less nutritious, highly processed to endure long shelf lives, and less desirable than country foods. An entry point to strengthen Inuit food security is to support the acquisition of culturally-appropriate country foods through subsistence hunting and fishing. This entails supporting the transmission of environmental knowledge and land skills important for subsistence among generations, providing harvesters with necessary resources, and securing reliable cold storage in communities (e.g. community freezers) to preserve country foods during increasingly warmer summer months.