Books: “Sustaining Lake Superior”
Posted on: November 14, 2017
Sustaining Lake Superior
Nancy Langston’s new book, “Sustaining Lake Superior” examines several major issues which have affected Lake Superior, along with the power of communities to overcome these issues.

A new book by Nancy Langston entitled, “Sustaining Lake Superior” is available from Yale University Press and Amazon.

Go directly to the book’s website –

The book asks how communities can, “help sustain the health of Lake Superior in the face of mining, climate change, forest change, invasive species, and emerging chemicals of concern?” At the same time the book notes that communities throughout the Lake Superior watershed have overcome “enormous” challenges in the last century.

The book is divided into the following chapters:

  • Ecological History of the Lake Superior Basin
  • Industrializing the Forests, 1870s to 1930s
  • The Postwar Pollution Boom
  • Taconite and the Fight Over Reserve Mining Company
  • Mining Pollution Debates, 1950s Through the 1970s
  • Mining, Toxics and Environmental Justice for the Anishinaabe
  • The Mysteries of Toxaphene and Toxic Fish
  • The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreements
  • Climate Change, Contaminants and the Future of Lake Superior.

While noting environmental sins of the past, Langston puts the process of restoration and recovery of the last 50 years front and centre. She asks what can be learned, both from from past environmental transgressions, and from more recent efforts to rectify these transgressions. The author of “Sustaining Lake Superior” pins hope on community-based advocacy and notes the following successes:

Lake Superior has witnessed several significant conservation success stories in the past half century:

  • the recovery of forests after the devastation of the cutover era
  • the recovery of fisheries after the collapse of fish populations from overfishing, industrialization, habitat loss, and invasive species in the second half of the 20th century,
  • the substantial cleaning up of many toxic waste sites

Langston lives on the Keweenaw Peninsula and teaches at Michigan Technological University. As you’ll see from the photos on the book’s website, Langston is also an ardent kayaker. Her previous books include:

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Lake Superior Makes Legal History

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