By Mathew Scammell
On May 17th, 2022, my colleagues and I attended a book launch presentation for the edited collection In Our Backyard: Keeyask and the Legacy of Hydroelectric Development where the co-editors Aimée Craft and Jill Blakley were joined by Councillor Robert Spence for a casual conversation about its contents.
There was a mixture of emotions evoked by the words of each presenter, and they ranged from joy and laughter, anger and resentment, to sadness and deep reflection. From personal stories of loss being told by Councillor Robert Spence, to Jill Blakley speculating on what this book could mean for the future of environmental assessments, the attendees were left constantly intrigued and interested by what was being said. Aimée Craft did a wonderful job of hosting and facilitating the conversation, ensuring that the members of the audience were left not only with more answers, but also with questions.
Many of the contributors to the book were also in attendance sitting in the audience, since the book itself is a compilation of both academic publications and community voices, all weaved together beautifully in a way that truly embodies two-eyed seeing. Poems and testimonies from hydro-impacted community members complement some of the more technical writings by economists and environmental assessment experts, all of which allows for a more in-depth analysis of the Keeyask dam project because it incorporates these diverse perspectives.
I would highly recommend both reading the book in its entirety and watching the book launch event. The book can be found at McNally Robinson and the video of the event can be found on their YouTube channel as well, or at this link: https://youtu.be/wg4XXyh1zds