Environmental History

Mission Statement

The mission of the Environmental History Department of the Davistown Museum is to continue our exploration of the history of technology by analyzing what we have done with our tools in the decades following the end of the Classic Period of American Toolmaking (1930). The history of technology does not suddenly end with the gradual demise of our ability to make high quality hand tools. 5,000 years of pyrotechnology have now manifested themselves in the Age of Plastics, soon to be supplemented by the Age of Nanotechnology.

Historical Overview

Environmental history begins with a biohistorical timeline of human ecology. The epochs of the Industrial Revolution (1745 – 1945) have now culminated in the Age of Chemical Fallout (>1945), also noted as the Age of Plastics, the prime mover of a rapidly growing global consumer society. An important component of the Age of Chemical Fallout is the development of nuclear weapons and nuclear power, which pose a continuing threat to the finite resources of the biosphere we inhabit. A number of museum publications explore the post-1945 environments created by the rapidly expanding technologies of the Age of Pyrotechnology.

The Center for Biological Monitoring

Before the museum was established in 1999, a number of publications pertaining to Maine Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in Wiscasset, Maine and anthropogenic radioactivity in general, were published by the Center for Biological Monitoring (CBM), now part of the museum. During the 1990s, CBM compiled extensive information about anthropogenic radioactivity on the internet (RADNET: Nuclear Information on the Internet). After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, the museum extracted the most important protection action guidelines and other information and published Fukushima Daiichi: Nuclear Information Handbook. This handbook is intended as a guide for understanding both the accident in Japan and any future nuclear accidents in any location. The museum has a blog devoted to the Handbook, and the text is also available in pdf format. The CBM archives of RADNET are available to any visitors seeking more information about the wide variety of anthropogenic radioactivity source points documented in this now ancient online file.

Biocatastrophe Alert

The Environmental History Department also maintains a separate website, biocatastrophe alert (biocalert.org), which explores in detail the phenomenology of biocatastrophe as it is now evolving in the age of a global consumer society in a world populated by in excess of 7.2 billion people. Originally published in one volume, Biocatastrophe was re-titled Phenomenology of Biocatastrophe and published in three volumes. We are now compiling two additional volumes Volume 4: Antibiotic Resistance: Bacteria, Viruses, Fungi and other Pathogens, A Threat to World Health and Volume 5: Nano- and Microplastics as Vectors of Environmental Contaminants. Visitors interested in the following research citations please note that new citations, abstracts, and essays are added weekly. Additional information, citations, and comments welcome and may be directed to: curator@davistownmuseum.org.
The Environmental History Department also maintains a page on Severe Solar Storms and Space Weather. We are particularly concerned about the impact a severe solar storm could have on the safe functioning of nuclear power plants, not to mention the potentially catastrophic effect on the electrical transmission capacity of our highly interconnected banking and consumer society. This page provides links to important information about these subjects provided by the US Department of Homeland Security and US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Additional information on this subject is also solicited. The environmental issues discussed and documented in the text are public safety issues of compelling contemporary interest to all concerned citizens.

Publications and Essays

2022 Earth Day Essay

Special Publication 62: Fukushima Daiichi: Nuclear Information Handbook: A Guide to Accident Terminology and Information Sources (Kirkus Review)

Severe Solar Storms: Geomagnetically induced current could severely disrupt the electrical grid and damage or destroy nuclear power plants

Biocatastrophe Blog -- Open for Comments!

  • Phenomenology of Biocatastrophe Publication Series

    Kirkus Review of Biocatastrophe

    Volume 1: Essays on Biocatastrophe and the collapse of Global Consumer Society

    Volume 2: Biocatastrophe Lexicon: An Epigrammatic Journey Through the Tragedy of our Round-World Commons

    Volume 3: Biocatastrophe: The Legacy of Human Ecology: Toxins, Health Effects, Links, Appendices, and Bibliographies

    Volume 4: Antibiotic Resistance: Bacteria, Viruses, Fungi and other Pathogens, A Threat to World Health (This document is a perpetual work in progress)

    Volume 5: Volume 5: Where Have All the Plastics Gone?

  • Introduction
    Paradigm V: Maine History and the Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company

  • Center for Biological Monitoring Archives
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