Flood data from 500 years: Rivers and climate change in Europe

A major international research project led by the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) shows for the first time that flooding characteristics in recent decades are unlike those of previous centuries
Overflowing rivers can cause enormous problems: Worldwide, the annual damage caused by river floods is estimated at over 100 billion dollars - and it continues to rise. To date it has been unclear whether Europe is currently in a flood-rich period from a long-term perspective.
Austrian flood expert Prof. Günter Blöschl from TU Wien (Vienna) has led a large international study involving a total of 34 research groups that provides clear evidence that the past three decades were among the most flood-rich periods in Europe during the past 500 years, and that this period differs from others in terms of its extent, air temperatures and flood seasonality. Compared to the past, floods tend to be larger in many places, the timing has shifted and the relationship between flood occurrence and air temperatures has reversed. In the past, floods tended to occur more frequently in cold phases while, today, global warming is one of the main drivers for their increase. The results of the study have now been published in "Nature" magazine.
BLÖSCHL, Günter et al. - «Current European flood-rich period exceptional compared with past 500 years». In Nature, 583, 2020, pp. 560-566. DOI:

2021 Conference of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture

Religion and Environment: Relations and Relationality

2021 Conference of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture

February 19-28, 2021

Hosted by Arizona State University
Tempe, Arizona

* Proposals Due: August 24, 2020 *

(Download a pdf version – revised CFP)

This is a year of pandemic, a year of disruption, a year in which struggles for racial and economic justice can no longer be ignored. In that spirit, and in the interest of protecting the health of our members, the ISSRNC is postponing its in-person conference until 2022. In the interim, in partnership with Arizona State University, we will hold a nearly-carbon neutral virtual conference in February 2021. As our first step toward our commitment to low carbon conferences, our 2021 gathering will feature numerous opportunities for networking and informal conversation among our members, in addition to a select group of virtual sessions. We look forward to continuing the networking and informal conversation, along with a full slate of paper sessions, in the full conference in 2022. 

For our 2021 conference, the ISSRNC welcomes pre-arranged session proposals from all disciplines that address the intersections of religion, nature, and culture. We are especially interested in engaging questions of relationality: relations between human and other-than-human beings (including animals, spirits, gods, places, etc.), among cultural groups, among academic disciplines, etc. There is no unidimensional way to understand these troubled times: environmental crises are closely linked to social, racial and political inequities, and knowledge about the links between social systems and earth systems science is relevant to work in community organizing. Concepts of the human person as an interdependent element within complex systems of social and ecological relations are challenging the dominant norms in the social sciences and humanities. To meet the challenges we collectively face, we invite and encourage scholarly reflections on integrative, holistic, and radically plural ways of knowing. 

Possible paper and panel proposals topics include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • concepts of kinship, reciprocity, and relational ontologies across cultural traditions, especially Indigenous cultures;
  • multispecies ethnography and relations between humans and other-than-human-beings, including creatures, plants, and inanimate beings;
  • environmental jurisprudence, the rights of nature and the legal personhood of other-than-human entities; 
  • the religious and ecological dimensions of immigration, migration, and asylum;
  • structural racism and anti-racism in environmental movements and religious imaginaries;
  • religion and environment in critical race theory, Black studies, Asian studies, and Latinx studies;
  • interdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity in the environmental humanities and sustainability research;
  • religious imaginaries and religious responses regarding the COVID-19 pandemic;  
  • as always, papers examining other aspects of the religion, nature, and culture nexus are welcome. 


Proposals and Deadlines

To sustain the kinds of active, thoughtful engagement that make ISSRNC conferences successful, and with hopes of having a full-sized, in-person conference in 2022, our upcoming conference will be smaller and more structured. This means that, with regret, we will not be accepting individual paper proposals for the online conference. We encourage you to use social media—including the ISSRNC Facebook page, the ISSRNC listserv, and the members’ forum on—to connect with other scholars and form engaging session collaborations. Additional information and inspiration for online conference participation can be found here: 

For this fully online conference, the ISSRNC invites proposals for pre-arranged sessions. We welcome creative proposals for 90 minute sessions (45 minutes of which will be apportioned to any number of speakers and 45 minutes of which will be apportioned for audience participation and discussion). Sessions can feature any number of speakers in any configuration (e.g. traditional three paper panels, multispeaker roundtables, lightning round sessions with abbreviated papers from numerous speakers, debates, documentary shorts, etc.). 

Some sessions will consist of pre-recorded presentations with live discussions between presenters and conference attendees. Other sessions will be fully live. All sessions will be recorded and posted online for continued conversation and exchange. 

Session proposals will be submitted online. Requested materials include: 

  • Session title
  • 500-word (or less) description of the session that clearly describes the session’s topic, organizational format, and relationship to conference themes; 
  • Individual paper titles (if necessary) 
  • 200-word (or less) abstracts that articulate the central argument and findings for each presenter;
  • Names and contact information for each presenter;
  • Preference of live or pre-recorded session (with brief explanation as to why this would be the best format). 

Timeline and logistics: 

  • The session proposal deadline is 24 August 2020; please submit using the online form here: 2021 Conference Submissions 
  • Those proposals that are accepted will be announced 22 September 2020; proposals will be anonymously peer-reviewed by an international scholarly committee and decisions will prioritize proposals that are creative and engaging in the online format, and that feature presenters who are diverse in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, seniority, etc.
  • Registration will open 1 October 2020, all presenters must be registered for the conference and be members in good standing of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture by 29 October 2020. Registration will be $10 for graduate students and contingent faculty and $25 for permanent faculty 
  • Video presentation deadline 1 February 2021.

Presenters and session organizers are encouraged to submit their articles for publication, or their sessions for special issues, to the official publication of the ISSRNC, the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture. Further information about the society and journal can be found at Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any questions.

Interested scholars are also encouraged to connect with us via social media:


CfP: 11th Biennial European Society for Environmental History (ESEH) Conference

CfP: 11th Biennial European Society for Environmental History (ESEH) Conference
Same planet, different worlds: environmental histories imagining anew
Bristol, United Kingdom | 5th-9th July 2021
The European Society for Environmental History (ESEH) is pleased to invite proposals for our upcoming conference at the University of Bristol, UK. We want to host a conference for a post-plague world. Right now, our old ways of living have been interrupted, disrupted and ruptured by the COVID-19 outbreak. This devastating global pandemic carries an undeniable message of our entanglement across continents, species, societies, and bodies. Yet the virus hits us differently. We are all on the same planet but we are experiencing radically and divergently altered worlds. We thus draw inspiration for our conference theme from Arundhati Roy’s observation: ‘But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality. Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next’. The conference will provoke questions and conversations that can help us through the gateway. After all, our conferences have always been meaningful reactions to global conditions. Twenty years ago, at St Andrews we held the first ESEH Conference on ‘Environmental History: Problems and Potential’. Two decades later, we are now long past ‘potential’ – we need urgent intervention from historians in the crises of our times.
We embrace history that matters and our discipline’s ability to create ‘useable pasts’ for unusual times. This conference moves from the premise of an entangled world: first and foremost enmeshed in a global pandemic, a shared ecological crisis and climate catastrophe, as well as cultural connections from past colonial and postcolonial histories. Understanding entanglements and challenging boundaries has been important in bringing us together over the years. In Prague, we considered the boundaries of ‘diversity’. In Zagreb, we tackled boundaries as ‘contact zones’. In Tallin, we explored the boundaries ‘in/of environmental history’. In Bristol, we cross the boundaries into a new world.
Thus this conference resists a ‘return to normality’. These are extraordinary times and this will be an extraordinary conference. At this critical moment, as historians we need to look without and within. Certainly, we need to engage with the wider world: environmental historians are vital in today’s biggest planetary emergencies. Yet at the same time, we need to engage within our own discipline to rethink our academic practices in terms of environmental realities. This means thinking about writing ethical history, sustainable history and history that matters.
We want to use this opportunity to imagine anew: both how we have conversations (the conference format) and what the conversations are about (the possibilities of our discipline). This conference thus will be engaging in experimental new ways of sharing and generating knowledge, including a blended and collaborative co-learning environment.

Possible topics to be discussed under the umbrella concept of ‘Same planet, different world’, include, but are not limited to the following:
- Pandemics: Politics, panics and panaceas
- Environmental histories of public health and public policy
- Industrial and agricultural impact on disease
- Resisting the return to normality: the activist historian and strategies for sustainable research
- Environmental histories of ‘wicked problems’
- Edge effects: the uneven fallout of climate change
- Other knowledges: vernacular histories and indigenous knowledge systems
- Burning issue: fire histories
- Justice and the past: writing history in the time of Black Lives Matter
- Technology and envirotechnical systems in natural resource protection and conservation
- Environmental justice: the legacies of colonialism and post-colonialism
- Writing more­-than-­human histories
- Creativity and the historical discipline
- The possibilities and pitfalls of interdisciplinary research
- Imagining other futures
We also welcome papers/provocations/presentations on environmental history outside the conference theme.
Digital Dimensions
We acknowledge the uncertainty of our times and the sustainability issues relating to international conferences. The ESEH believes in the value of a physical conference. Post-COVID, being in place together will hold new significance. But we also recognise that it may not prove possible – or desirable for some – to meet face-to-face. Our conference will therefore offer some online possibilities for those delegates who cannot make it in person, including keynote and plenary livestreams, poster sessions, and opportunities to connect with each other online. Planning a large international conference in these COVID-19 times is a difficult business. While acknowledging our gratitude to the Local Arrangement Committee in Bristol as they on the uncertainties of this situation, the ESEH is also making preparations for a fully digital conference in case major disruptions in international travelling will impede the materialization of the in-person conference.
An Inclusive and Diverse Conference
Commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion is at the heart of ESEH. We recognise the unique contributions of every member of our society and seek ways of ensuring that people of all identities and in all circumstances can contribute to our biennial conference and to the wider life of our society. We strive to promote equality and diversity at our conference, in relation to conference participation,  and the composition of topics comprising the conference program. We also endeavour to create a platform to encourage active and sustained debate on issues of marginalisation and accessibility amongst our members.
We want to create a set of inclusive conference practices and ‘resist the normality’ of hierarchies and silos. In this different world, new conference practices are available to us. We will consider all historical periods, all geographical areas and all disciplines. To bolster diversity at the event and promote new forms of networking, we are hoping for panels/interventions where the presenters come from different regions, generations, genders, different institutions or different disciplines. We also encourage demographic balance and the use of emergent scholars as facilitators/session chairs. Graduate students will be offered a special reduced fee.
Conventional Discussions
We are looking for session suggestions, individual papers, roundtables, posters and other, more experimental sessions. Of course, panels and roundtables are indispensable and constitute much of the conference, but we need new modes of conversation. So we encourage submissions that introduce a productive conflict of views, interpretations, or methodologies:
1. Panel sessions
Sessions are 3 papers of 20 minutes each or 4 papers of 15 minutes each. Other formats (debate panels, roundtables) should be submitted under the Roundtable or ‘Different World’ session categories. Session proposals will include a session title and session abstract of 200-300 words; list of contributors and a chair; and individual paper titles and abstracts of around 200 words each. Session proposals may also include a commentator/discussant in place of the fourth paper – or not. Please remember, all sessions should include sufficient time for general discussion.
2. Individual papers
Contributors may also submit individual papers of max. 20 minutes, which will be combined into sessions of three to four papers in case of acceptance. However, the scientific committee prefers session submissions, and cannot guarantee thematic coherence for the combined sessions. Paper proposals are to consist of an abstract of 200-300 words.
3. Roundtables
Scholars can also propose 90-minute roundtables, consisting of panels ranging from 3-6 people and a chair who speak to a common question or theme. Successful roundtables involve interaction between the panelists, an active chair who shaping the conversation, and time for the audience to interact with the panel. Roundtable proposals are to consist of an abstract of 200-300 words.
4. Posters and Virtual Posters
Poster proposals will include an abstract of 200-300 words. There will be a designated display area, and a special plenary session for all poster authors to present their research in 5 minutes time per poster. The Environment & History Poster Prize sponsored by The White Horse Press is awarded to the best poster (€100 award) and the 2nd place poster (€50 award). We will also permit short videos in lieu of posters, to enable digital dissemination of research For ideas on presentation see
“Different World” Sessions
In the spirit of rethinking the conventional, we welcome proposals for unorthodox sessions with creative formats. To submit a proposal for a special session, please provide a 200 word abstract, describing the activity, including any special logistics you might need. Ideas include:
 – Workshops and new research tool demonstrations
Teach others your skills at GIS, writing, offer mentorship or field-work tips.
 –  “Difficult conversations”
Presenters address sensitive issues within environmental history within a safe space. We use what we call Chatham House Rule 2.0: The discussion is not tweeted and remains within the confines of the room.
  – “Flipping the panels”
Papers will be made available in advance as draft papers or even short video presentations. Rather than just summarize their paper, presenters come to the panel with questions they need answered to improve their research. Instead of just listening to presentations, audience members come with their own questions/suggestions. The panels become conversations between presenters and the audience in collaborative research efforts. This is also an inclusive way of extending the peer-review process.
 – History Cafes
A facilitator provides a question on a pre-determined topic or proposes a problem that needs solving. The group divides into smaller groups, discusses, and submits feedback for the larger group at the end. Conversation and participation are the key processes and collaborative projects are stimulated.
– PechaKucha presentations.
In this rapid “chit chat” format invented in Tokyo, speakers show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and speakers talk along with the images. It is like an “elevator pitch meets karaoke!”
 – Soundclash debates
We import this idea from the music industry too. Soundclashes normally occur when two different bands or djs play against each other on either side of the stage. The conference encourages intellectual frisson by debating opposing points of view over contentious issues (methodology, theory, historiographical model) in environmental history.
  – Book lounge
We encourage authors to offer a reading from their recent book. Also welcome are shared discussions of a single book, major paper, movie or even primary source is the subject on which other presenters are focused.
 – The Historian in the Mirror
Reflective roundtables that examine our own academic practices, activism and ourselves.
Each person can be a primary presenter in only one session proposal, but can also serve as a chair/commentator in a second session proposal. The conference language is English; no submissions in other languages will be accepted. All proposals will be reviewed by the ESEH Program Committee. All proposals should be submitted through our online submission system:
The submission deadline is 31st October 2020.
Those who have secured a place on the programme will be advised of this by the end of the calendar year. They will be asked to pay a non-refundable deposit of 50 Euros (which will be subtracted from the overall conference registration fee) by mid-February 2021 to secure their place on the programme. In light of the financial damage that can be wrought on scholarly societies in these unprecedented global circumstances, we hope that you understand why we need to ask for this.
Questions about proposals should be directed to the Programme Committee, Professor Sandra Swart, through the email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
For more information about the conference and the venue, visit

Portuguese Parks to the world/Parques Portugueses no Mundo

In this heading we highlight some of the main Portuguese natural parks, valuing their contribution to the environmental heritage outreach.

This month – Montesinho Natural Park (Portugal)

The Montesinho Natural Park is located in the Upper Northeast of Trás-os-Montes, extending through the mountains of Montesinho and Coroa, and covering the northern region of Bragança and Vinhais. The Park's ground presents an altitude landscape, with great horizons and uses conditioned by the climate, with a mainly agricultural profile in the plains and alternating morass and black oak woods. Its classification is justified by the existence of animal populations representative of the Iberian and European fauna, still in relative abundance and stability, including many of the endangered species of Portuguese fauna, as well as a natural vegetation of great importance at national and world level.

More information at


Nesta rubrica destacamos alguns dos principais parques naturais portugueses, valorizando o seu contributo para a divulgação do património ambiental.

Este mês – Parque Natural de Montesinho (Portugal)

O Parque Natural de Montesinho situa-se no Alto Nordeste transmontano, estende-se pelas serras de Montesinho e Coroa, e abarca a parte setentrional dos concelhos de Bragança e Vinhais. O território do Parque oferece uma paisagem de altitude, com grandes horizontes e usos condicionados pelo clima, com um perfil predominantemente agrícola nas zonas mais planas e alternando lameiros e matas de carvalho negral. A sua classificação assenta na existência de populações animais representativas da fauna ibérica e europeia ainda em relativa abundância e estabilidade, incluindo muitas das espécies ameaçadas da fauna portuguesa, bem como uma vegetação natural de grande importância a nível nacional e mundial.

Mais informação em



Naturae theatrum et mundum/ The theatre of nature and the world/ O teatro da natureza e o mundo

This month – “What Will He Grow To” or the lessons of past pollution, by José Rafael Soares pdf.EN


Este mês - “What Will He Grow To” ou as lições da poluição passada, por José Rafael Soares pdf.PT

José Rafael Soares, CICS.NOVA.UMinho - Grupo de Investigação: 3: Cidades, Ambiente e Desenvolvimento Regional


Novo número (14.1, Junho de 2020) da HoST

HoST — Journal of History of Science and Technology é uma revista de acesso aberto com arbitragem científica, disponível em linha, publicada em inglês pela De Gruyter/Sciendo, em resultado de uma parceria de quatro unidades de investigação portuguesas (CIUHCT, CIDEHUS, Instituto de Ciências Sociais, e Instituto de História Contemporânea). 


·  Número temático “Standards: Taming Knowledge?”, com introdução pelos editores convidados Javier Ordóñez e Antonio Sánchez aos quatro artigos que o compõem. São estudos de caso que se debruçam sobre questões epistemológicas e institucionais do estabelecimento de standards no período contemporâneo desenvolvidos a partir da história e filosofia da matemática, história e cultura visual da biologia e história e filosofia da ciência e da tecnologia

·  Um artigo adicional ao número temático publicado na HoST 13.1 “Before the Silent Spring: Pesticides in Twentieth-Century Europe”

·  O artigo da Distinguished Lecture (CIUHCT) de David Pantalony, que discute a importância das colecções de artefactos científicos através da apresentação de exemplos do seu trabalho como Curador no Ingenium – Museu da Ciência e da Tecnologia do Canadá e da sua pesquisa recente noutras colecções (nomeadamente alemãs)

·  Um “work in progress” do doutorando Breno Albuquerque B. Borges sobre o seu trabalho em curso, “A New Approach to the Concepts of Conservation to Identify and Evaluate Railway Heritage through Indicators

·  Três recensões de livros


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