“A Double Dose of Ecological Backfires”: Rat Control, Barry Commoner, and Early Environmental Justice in St. Louis

by Josh Levy In 1968 the St. Louis Health Division determined that around 70 percent of the rat bites reported in the city came from the same corridor, a roughly two-mile strip of predominately Black neighborhoods stretching west from downtown, between Delmar Boulevard and Natural Bridge Road.[1] The same year Barry Commoner, founder of the […]

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Recreation and Reclamation of the “Richest Hill on Earth” 

Editor’s note: This is the eight and final post in our theme for January 2022, Urban Environmentalism. Additional entries can be seen at the end of this article. By Gwendolyn Lockman Butte, Montana, is currently known for its biggest eyesore and toxic waste site: the Berkeley Pit. It is part of one of the largest […]

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“The Abyss”: Erosion and Inequality in the Urbanization of Amazonia

Editor’s note: This is the seventh post in our theme for January 2022, Urban Environmentalism. Additional entries can be seen at the end of this article. By Adrián Lerner Great rivers can seem capricious. In the Amazon rainforest, home to the Earth’s most powerful riverine system, river shifts can radically transform vast expanses in a […]

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The Greening of Detroit History

Editor’s note: This is the sixth post in our theme for January 2022, Urban Environmentalism. Additional entries can be seen at the end of this article. By Brandon Ward Mildred Smith was fed up with bulldozers in 1966. She had twice been forced out of homes to accommodate urban renewal developments in Detroit, and officials […]

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Choosing Perpetual Management: Urban Runoff and the Origins of its Mitigation

Editor’s note: This is the fifth post in our theme for January 2022, Urban Environmentalism. Additional entries can be seen at the end of this article. By Amanda K. Philips de Lucas Regulating Urban Runoff  Presently, cities across the United States battle a microscopic foe. The particulate matter of urban existence, during wet weather events, […]

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The Racialized History of Philadelphia’s Toxic Public Schools

Editor’s note: This is the fourth post in our theme for January 2022, Urban Environmentalism. Additional entries can be seen at the end of this article. By Erika M. Kitzmiller and Akira Drake Rodriguez The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred national conversations about the substandard conditions in our nation’s public schools. Research shows that indoor air […]

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Writing from Away: An Environmental Historian’s Dilemma

Editor’s note: This is the third post in our theme for January 2022, Urban Environmentalism. Additional entries can be seen at the end of this article. By Claire Campbell When the COVID-19 pandemic closed in, almost two years ago now, it threw our usual academic routines and practices into disarray. Classes “pivoted” to asynchronous, online […]

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Opposing Urban Energy Landscapes: Petitions and Letters against Coal Yards, Wood Yards, and Gas Stations in Montréal (1940s-1960s)

Editor’s note: This is the second post in our theme for January 2022, Urban Environmentalism. Additional entries can be seen at the end of this article. By Clarence Hatton Throughout the twentieth century in North America, the material presence of energy has tended to disappear gradually from cities. Following evolutions in transport technology and changes […]

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Driving into Environmental Law: Thurgood Marshall, Highway Construction, and the Overton Park Case

Editor’s note: We kick off our January 2022 theme month on Urban Environmentalism with an exploration of how opposition to interstate highway construction through Overton Park in Memphis, Tennessee, provides a window into the nation’s development of environmental law. It is followed by a bibliography on urban environmentalism. “We stand now where two roads diverge. […]

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