- In Search of a Useable—and Hopeful—Environmental Narrative in the Mid-Atlantic
- Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies
- Penn State University Press
- Volume 82, Number 3, Summer 2015
- pp. 314-328
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- Additional Information
Beyond a survey of some of the most recent traditional and public environmental history scholarship and trends in the Mid-Atlantic, this article—drawing from and reinterpreting the Turner Frontier Thesis—argues that the region both embodies broad currents of US environmental history and helped to establish American attitudes and patterns of behavior that migrated westward and shaped the course of national development. The article suggests that a Mid-Atlantic environmental history marked by such stories as mountaintop removal coal mining, urbanization, industrial disaster, environmental injustice, and the despoliation and ongoing recovery of rivers and watersheds like the Chesapeake and the Hudson is not only “typically” but “exceptionally” American. Further, the author notes that geography, environment, and natural resource history have shaped and informed heritage areas and other important recent work in public history, seeing in those trends the genesis of an era in which regional and subbioregional environmental histories can help inform and inspire new directions toward a more hopeful and sustainable future.