Monthly Archives: October 2013

Holidays…. and Inspiration

I’ve just returned from a holiday to Canada. This is probably the last holiday I’ll take before I submit my thesis next year. It is nice to have a break, but I did end up also thinking a little about my topic.

When I was in the temperate rainforests of British Columbia, I came upon an Ecology Centre, in Lynn Canyon Park. Mainly aimed at school children, it nevertheless contained some interesting things. One wall, dedicated to different biological processes contained information on DDT and with it also information about the effect of pesticides on wildlife. This included, of course, reference to Rachel Carson and Silent Spring.


Also in the forests surrounding the Capilano suspension bridge, there were many quotes about trees. My final chapter deals with environmentalism in the early 1970s. One of the issues I discuss is ‘Plant a Tree in ’73’ where the government encouraged people to plant trees. This was partly due to combat disease, but they also recognised the benefits of trees to the natural environment.


As part of the PGR Symposium here, which involved humanities PhD students presenting papers to our peers, I am tasked with giving a paper in November.

I notice that last August I wrote a piece on here about anniversaries. Well, November 2013 also happens to be the 50th anniversary of the long-running science fiction programme Doctor Who. I’ve already – briefly – blogged about Doctor Who and Silent Spring here. I will also be adding to this, talking about Silent Spring, and another Doctor Who story from the 1970s, ‘The Green Death’. This story does feature in my thesis and is discussed alongside the BBC science fiction series Doomwatch (which aired between 1970 and 1972). This series has many close links with Doctor Who as the creators of it also worked on Doctor Who in the 1960s and it is they who created the cybermen. Doomwatch was popular; many viewers thought it more science fact than science fiction and it covered many contemporary environmental issues.


I am currently writing the concluding chapter of my thesis. This is not an easy task, since I’m not entirely sure how to structure it. Various online sources have helped, and I am applying this information to my conclusion.

My thesis structure currently looks like this:

Chapter 1 – Introduction

Chapter 2 – 1940s & 1950s. I deal with air pollution and the Great London smog, nature conservation and the founding of the Nature Conservancy in Britain, and early environmental television programmes.

Chapter 3 – early 1960s. This discusses the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Silent Spring, and films, television programmes and literature. This is not an exhaustive list, and I am selective in what I discuss.

Chapter 4 – late 1960s. The Torrey Canyon oil spill of 1967, the battle over the reservoir at Cow Green and the founding of the Conservation Society all appear in this chapter.

Chapter 5 – 1970-1975. This concerns the first five years of the 1970s, when the environment had moved to the centre of British society.

Chapter 6 – Conclusion.

I think the biggest challenge now is consolidating everything analysed and evaluated in the individual chapters into one final concluding chapter.