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Ghost forest panorama in coastal North Carolina. Image by Emily Ury, CC BY-ND.

Ghost Forests

Sea level rise is killing trees along the Atlantic coast, creating ‘ghost forests’ that are visible from space. Trekking out to my research sites near North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, I slog through knee-deep water on a section of trail that is completely submerged. Permanent flooding has become commonplace on this low-lying peninsula, nestled behind North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The trees growing in the water are small and stunted. Many are dead…

Wild rice and the 1833 Survey of Menominee’s Reservation. Image by Elan Pochedley.

Restorative Cartography of the Theakiki Region: Mapping Potawatomi Presences in Indiana

This article explores what decolonization can consist of—and be envisioned as—when we recognize how settler colonial governance, policies, industries, and structures have affected both Indigenous peoples and nonhuman relatives within their respective homelands. I assert that analyses of settler colonialism must address the environmental dislocations and degradations experienced by both humans and nonhumans.

Climate Land Leaders are learning that soil health is needed for healthy waters. Image courtesy of Sharing Our Roots.

Creating Our Water Futures

This issue of Open Rivers invites us all to envision the kind of future we hope to have with water. It encourages us to see the possibilities. By imagining the relationships we want with water, imagining the water conditions we want to see in our future, we begin to see both the challenges and potentials in our present and the steps necessary to move us to these desired and desirable water conditions…

Illustration of major rivers for ‘Confluence: The History of North American Rivers’ courtesy of Robert Szucs, www.grasshoppergeography.com.

Teaching the History of American Rivers

Like Open Rivers, I have long tried to answer the question of the value of river history and how can it be put to work to achieve environmental justice. While we each have a home or favorite river that captivates us, there is a broader, if unspoken, understanding of rivers and the role they play in shaping our history. Last fall I organized a conference that attempted to address this challenge. Called All Water Has a Memory: Rivers and American History, the conference featured presenters from academia, nature writing, and environmental and community activism who shared their history and experience of individual rivers in three sessions: Slavery and Freedom, Indigenous Resistance, and The Environmental Movement…