Nature’s Broken Clocks
University of Regina Press / 13 August 2020

Nature’s Broken Clocksby Paul HuebenerPublished by University of Regina PressReview by Michelle Shaw$24.95 ISBN 9780889777125 For someone who has always regarded time as primarily linear or cyclical, Paul Huebener’s book Nature’s Broken Clocks is rather mind-bending. Weaving together science, history, narrative and the natural world, Huebener—described as one of the leading figures in the field of ecocritical time studies—challenges the reader’s perceptions of time, particularly within in the context of the environmental crisis. He discusses varying concepts of time, from the sun (humanity’s “original clock”) to the politics of time—and points out that even so-called natural time is a lot more complex than we might think. I was especially fascinated by the various examples of the natural world he used. From the grolar (global warming has caused grizzly bears to wake from hibernation earlier in the season and come into more frequent “friendly” contact with polar bears) to what ecologists call “mistiming”. This is “the process whereby warming causes animals to fall out of step with a critical food source, particularly at breeding times, when a failure to find enough food can lead to rapid population losses.” Canadian boreal ducks have been facing this exact dilemma. Yet Huebener notes that…

Man of the Trees
University of Regina Press / 7 December 2018

Man of the Trees: Richard St. Barbe Baker, The First Global Conservationist by Paul Hanley Published by University of Regina Press Review by Keith Foster $34.95 ISBN 978-0-88977-566-4 Americans have Johnny Appleseed as one of their folk heroes; Saskatchewan has Richard St. Barbe Baker, a real-life action hero. Although Baker is not as well known, he is the original tree hugger, so well documented in Paul Hanley’s biography, Man of the Trees: Richard St. Barbe Baker, The First Global Conservationist. Born in 1889, Baker was an eccentric Englishman obsessed with trees. As a youngster, he wandered through a forest, lost but thoroughly enjoying the trees’ embrace. It was as if they’d adopted him. He felt born again. Enthralled with stories he’d heard of Canada, Baker migrated and in 1909 took the train to Saskatoon. He was one of the first 100 students to enrol in the new University of Saskatchewan, taking out a homestead at Beaver Creek, fifteen miles from the campus. He then worked as a lumberjack north of Prince Albert. The nearby sawmill at Big River was the largest in the world at that time. Appalled at the wastage in the cutting process, Baker determined to save trees…. by Mercedes Montgomery Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Joan Givner $12.95 ISBN 978-1-894431-29-3 When Angela returns from holiday on her thirteenth birthday, she finds her room transformed into an arctic setting, complete with murals of polar bears. She has “had a thing” for polar bears ever since a family holiday in Jasper National Park. Subsequent chapters explain the source of her preoccupation, and take the form of an animal fable. The polar bears of northern Manitoba have begun to have prophetic dreams of disaster. Led by a young bear called Nanuq, they convene to discuss the cause and remedy. The cause is global warming, melting ice, and the disappearance of their food source. They decide that the hope for saving their habitat lies with the children of the world, and resolve to find children and make them aware of their plight. Nanuq makes the arduous journey to Jasper, where he sees Angela. They are brought together when he rescues her from an accident on the ski-slope. From that moment on, she is converted to the cause of saving the polar bears and joins forces with others converted to activism by the traveling bears. Like most animal…

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