History grad wins Rachel Carson Prize

York history grad Liza Piper has won the 2006 Rachel Carson Prize for Best Dissertation in Environmental History. Piper’s winning dissertation was “Harnessing the Wet West: Environment and Industrial Order on the Large Lakes of Sub-arctic Canada, 1921-1960”.

“This is a tremendous honour,” said Marcel Martel, Graduate Studies director and holder of the Avie Bennett Historica Chair in Canadian History.

Piper earned an MA in 2001 and a PhD in 2005 in history from York. She earned a BA in history from Memorial University in Newfoundland in 1999. She is currently a post-doc at the University of British Columbia. In 2004, she published “Backward Seasons and Remarkable Cold: the Weather over Long Reach, New Brunswick, 1812-1821” in the Atlantic history journal Acadiensis.

The late Rachel Carson was a biologist, ecologist and writer best known for her book Silent Spring, which challenged the profligate use of synthetic chemical pesticides in agriculture and called for a change in the way we view the natural world.

The Rachel Carson Prize was established in 1993 by the American Society for Environmental History. The society fosters cross-disciplinary research in humanistic scholarship and environmental science. It welcomes members who share its interest in past environments and the roles human beings have played in them.