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Chris Turner: The History of Climate Change

Talking History focuses on a wide range of topics in Canadian history, and it consists of articles by Canada's foremost historians and history experts. Our contributors use the power of narrative to bring the past to life and to show how it is not just relevant, but essential to our understanding of Canada and the world today. "Talking History" is a series made possible through a special funding grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Chris Turner is one of Canada's leading writers and speakers on sustainability and the global green economy. His most recent book is How to Breathe Underwater: Field Reports from an Age of Radical Change, a collection of his award-winning essays and feature writing. In 2013, his The War on Science was a co-winner of the Writers' Union of Canada's Freedom to Read Award.

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There is a standard narrative arc to most environmental stories—a more or less tidy progression from discovery to awareness to resolution—that has endured through most of the history of modern environmental stewardship. A problem is identified, most often some grave side effect of industrial activity. The cause is hypothesized and then proven, an alarm sounded—by scientists working with politicians or by a crusading journalist or through grassroots ac …

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