Current Context

Teaching current events provides a particular challenge in the history classroom.  The most readily available sources - news articles - are geared toward recent events and do not provide the long-term historical view necessary for students to understand why an event unfolds the way it does, and how it relates to their history class.  Current Context helps students understand today by putting current events in their appropriate historical context. Each report includes a background reading, a primary source activity & links to useful resources.

Salton Sea, Lithium, and Environmental Justice

April 14, 2021
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Abstract: As the country replaces deteriorating and outdated infrastructure and adds new items like electric vehicle charging stations, it is worth keeping in mind that even “green” technologies have environmental and social impact. Few places better exhibit this than the Salton Sea - California’s biggest lake – and the location of what may become one of the world’s largest sites of lithium extraction for rechargeable batteries.

Biden vs Trump: The Environment

January 04, 2021
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Abstract: Biden has promised to treat climate change as a serious threat to our nation and world. His administration faces an enormous challenge in setting the country on course for zero greenhouse gas emissions, especially after Trump's rejection of climate science.

The Future of Cars?

November 13, 2020
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Abstract:  Governor Newsom recently made headlines when he issued an executive order that all new passenger vehicles sold in California by 2035 must be zero-emission – a remarkable development in a state responsibl

The Election and the Environment

October 05, 2020
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Abstract:  Some argue that the 2020 U.S. presidential election is critical for slowing the effects of climate change. Heading into the election are two candidates who see the issue in starkly different terms.

Fire in California - 2020

August 26, 2020
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Abstract:  Every year we hear about fires burning throughout California and the arid West. This year’s destructive fires are happening in the midst of a pandemic. Two of California’s still-burning infernos - sparked from lightning during a heat wave - have already ranked among the top three largest fires in state history. Experts tell us that we should expect fires of such ferocity to continue well into the future.

Green Space and Public Health

May 29, 2020
Download Current Context: The Many Benefits of Parks

Abstract:  Persistent structural racial inequalities have prompted activism and protest for as many generations as inequality has blighted the United States. Deaths from police violence are part of a larger lethal pattern affecting certain sectors of our population. The coronavirus has revealed just how dangerous it is for communities to be structured in ways that compromise the health and well-being of certain residents.

The Coronavirus, Animals, and Human Health

March 05, 2020
Download Current Context:  The Coronavirus, Animals, and Human Health

Abstract: The coronavirus, known as the COVID-19 disease, began in China at the end of last year and is now a worldwide health concern. The term “coronavirus” is broad and encompasses viruses such as the common cold. COVID-19 did not exist in humans prior to its recent outbreak. To date, nearly one hundred thousand have become sick and over three thousand have died.