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vii Foreword As I write this foreword, Washington, DC, our nation’s capital and for a time my home (and for a time the home of the editor of this volume, it turns out), is in turmoil. As when the leaves seem to turn over and show their white undersides as the wind picks up announcing the arrival of a thunderstorm, outbreaks of senseless violence are escalating in the United States and throughout the world, such as the shooting of members of Congress and their staffs today while playing baseball, perhaps portending greater disturbance to come in the atmosphere of our politics and our society. But as I think these thoughts, I gravitate to the stories of strangers opening doors to the folks fleeing a deranged shooter bent on destroying, on tearing down. And I am reminded of so many stories where small acts of grace make big differences in contexts such as battle zones, disaster areas, and places Marianne Krasny and I have called “red zones” and “broken places.” This book is about those small acts of grace, and asks whether or not they make a difference beyond the people involved or the patch of landscape they transform. The book is also decidedly about building. It’s about “culture building ” through changing social norms through civic ecology practices. It’s about “knowledge building,” via its focus on learning while engaged in civic ecology practice. And it’s about “movement building,” about deploying civic ecology as strategic action. The sum of this focus on building is a decidedly progressive and forward-leaning message of optimism and hope, building upon earlier conceptions of civic ecology as a reflection of the bonds between the traditions of engagement in civil society and of a land ethic based on humans’ deep connection to the rest of nature. True to the theoretical origins of these perspectives (Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America and Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac, among others), this book expands on those earlier notions of civic ecology by opening the conversation to new disciplines, voices, and contexts and illustrates in compelling case studies how civic ecology practices cross traditional notions about social change and institutional boundaries, leading to inspiring new ways to envision the interaction of practices, organizations, networks, and social movements. This book is also about a kind of clear-eyed honesty and self-reflection uncommon in much of academia today. The editor and coauthor of many chapters grapples with competing instincts to, on one hand, employ an empirical critique, viii FOREWORD while on the other, offer affirmation and encouragement to practitioners doing laudable work. She charts a course to navigate this challenge by leaning on the tradition of appreciative inquiry, and manages an ecumenical assemblage of chapters that mostly achieve the lofty goals she sets forth to contribute not only to the flourishing of individual civic ecology practice, but also to “understand how such practices contribute to flourishing of the humans engaged, the surrounding community, environmental governance systems,” and the environments in which these different levels of activity occur. When I first offered the term “civic ecology” to Marianne Krasny in 2006, while we were co-teaching and collaborating on an initiative called Science Education for Citizen Participation (which has evolved into the Civic Ecology Lab), I remember saying to her that, someday, civic ecology would be applied and analyzed in national and even international contexts, with global ramifications. This volume brings this prediction into reality, and places Krasny and colleagues at the cutting edge of the science-to-policy-to-practice discussion. I believe that the reader will agree with Krasny that, based on the cases in this book, these practices can and do “make a difference not just to participants’ lives, but to Bangalore, India, the anthracite region of Pennsylvania, cities in Iran and the United States, and to our shared planet.” Keith G. Tidball Cornell University ...


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