In Defence of Home Places
240 pages, 6 x 9
16 tables, 3 diagrams, 1 map
Release Date:15 Oct 2017
Release Date:15 May 2017
Release Date:07 Jun 2017
Release Date:07 Jun 2017

In Defence of Home Places

Environmental Activism in Nova Scotia

UBC Press

As environmental deterioration became a major political issue near the end of the twentieth century, activists in Nova Scotia stood together to defend the places they called home. Though they worked in concert to protect their unique environments and local economies, they disagreed about the causes of environmental problems, the role of humanity in nature, and the place of environmentalists in the political process.

In Defence of Home Places examines the diversity of environmental activism in Nova Scotia, illustrating how radicals and conservatives combined efforts to achieve early legislative and social success. It also chronicles the debates and disagreements over fundamental principles that then weakened and divided the powerful environmental movement.

Placing the evolution of Nova Scotian environmental activism within a broader theoretical framework, Mark R. Leeming considers its development in national and international contexts. Beyond a simple progress narrative, this volume examines the environmental movement itself as well as the choices and tactics that brought about its greatest successes and failures.

This richly detailed volume will appeal to scholars, graduate students, and upper-level undergraduates in environmental history, environmental development, rural policy, development studies, and environmental activism.

... Leeming has produced an important work that will require environmental historians and others to rethink their approach to the growth of modern environmentalism in Canada. The shift in focus away from the big organizations and from the national to the provincial level, combined with a meticulous mapping out of linkages between myriad groups, culminates in a significant contribution to the burgeoning historiography on environmentalism. Mark McLaughlin, Department of History & the Canadian-American Center, University of Maine, NiCHE: Network in Canadian History & Environment
In Defense of Home Places is a little book that encourages us to think big … The appearance of ‘Home Places’ in the title is telling; it speaks to the concept of environmental localism, that jealous love of place, the intimate, sensory, psycho-social relationship with specific settings that so often underlies environmental activism … In Defense of Home Places posits the notion that there is no single history of environmentalism in Atlantic Canada … Leeming’s admirable study has given us Nova Scotia’s experience. It represents a friendly challenge to others to unearth the remaining Atlantic Canadian experiences. Edward MacDonald, University of Prince Edward Island, Acadiensis
In Defence of Home Places enriches our understanding of politics and society in Nova Scotia, provides a valuable exegesis of the tangle of relations that brought the state, industry, and environmental activists into conflict and collaboration, and illuminates the strength of local environmentalists’ resistance to modernity’s ‘strategy of conceptual encompassment.’ From the Foreword by Graeme Wynn
In clear prose, Mark Leeming has written the history of environmentalism in Atlantic Canada into the larger Canadian and North American narrative. Clear and concise, In Defence of Home Places is a satisfying look at the relative merits of different strategies used by environmentalists over a twenty-five-year period. Bill Parenteau, professor of history, University of New Brunswick
In Defence of Home Places is a pleasure to read. Mark Leeming has produced a comprehensive examination of an environmental movement whose activities have influenced the recent history of the province of Nova Scotia. He successfully and persuasively places the evolution of environmentalism in Nova Scotia within a broader theoretical framework that will serve as a firm foundation for further explorations in the field. Dr. David Freeland Duke, professor in the Department of History and Classics, and coordinator of the Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program, Acadia University

Mark R. Leeming writes and researches in Nova Scotia. He has published on the history of environmental protest music and anti-nuclear activism.

Foreword: Environmental Action and the Question of Scale / Graeme Wynn


1 At Home and Abroad: The Genesis of Environmentalism

2 The Two MECs: Anti-Nuclear Environmentalism

3 Power from the People: The Anti-Chemical Campaigns

4 Two Environmentalisms: Uranium and Radicalism

5 Watermelons and Market Greens: Legacies of Early Activism




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