This blog is about history, the environment, and living sustainably in the modern world. It takes its name from Susanna Moodie’s 1852 guide for new immigrants to Canada, Roughing it in the Bush or Life in Canada. As a historian I am interested in learning from the past how to live with rather than against the environment around me, the Great Lakes region. In the nineteenth century, settlers wrote numerous books about how to live in Canada. From these can be recovered important knowledge about how to cultivate alternative ways of living; how to make the home and the local units of production again rather than simply places of consumption.
This blog is also an attempt to deal with a colonial past and contribute to decolonization in the present. Although settlers often arrived with colonial attitudes, they also had to learn to live with and at least attempt to learn from the Indigenous people who already lived upon and claimed the land. I write as a settler myself, who is deeply imbricated in ongoing colonialism, but seeking to overcome this history of racism, exploitation and theft, even as I learn about it. Indeed, learning about the history of colonialism in Canada is the first step in ending these ongoing processes. I hope this blog will contribute in some small way to decolonization processes, reconciliation between First Nations and settlers, food sovereignty, freedom from petrochemicals, and climate justice.
I hope it will also be fun and interesting, experimental and educational; helpful to others who, like me, want to live more lightly on the planet but aren’t sure exactly where to start or how to proceed.
My name is Tim Pearson and I am a historian, writer, and editor living in London, Ontario on traditional Mississauga land.