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1 INTRODUCTION Marianne E. Krasny My motivation for this book was simple. I am inspired by community gardening, litter cleanups, tree planting, oyster gardening, mangrove restoration, and similar civic ecology practices. Together with my colleague Keith Tidball, I have explored where and why these practices occur and their local outcomes, including provisioning ecosystem services and fostering learning, health and well-being, social capital, and sense of community among participants. We have published papers and two previous books—Civic Ecology: Adaptation and Transformation from the Ground Up (Krasny and Tidball 2015) and Greening in the Red Zone (Tidball and Krasny 2014). I also practice civic ecology. I started a group called Friends of the Gorge to address stewardship needs in the Cornell campus gorges, and I help out at Friends of the Ithaca City Cemetery cleanups and jog in their Halloween Spook Run fund-raiser. Yet in exploring civic ecology practices, I was constantly nagged by the fact that these practices are small, perhaps even insignificant, while the problems facing the planet, its people, and other organisms loom large. In an age where humans are a planetary force, seemingly mostly of environmental degradation, do community gardening, tree pruning, litter cleanups, and restoring oysters or mangroves in cities like New York, Shenzhen, and Bangalore make any difference ? So you might say shepherding this book was an attempt to justify my enthusiasm—my passion—for these small, community-based environmental stewardship actions in light of my concerns about the future of our planet. 2 INTRODUCTION In short, bridging small, self-organized environmental action with larger governance and management impacts is the reason I brought together a group of scholars and practitioners to write this book. The results of our collective efforts are the chapters you are about to read. But before you do, I will introduce you to our authors and to their definitions of civic ecology. And I will share three pathways through which civic ecology can have the kind of broader impacts that emerged through the chapters of this book. What Is Civic Ecology? When asked to define civic ecology at the workshop that launched this book,Veronica Kyle had this to say: “When I think of civic ecology I think about engagement of people in their natural environment. That can be everything from engaging in their community park to a local beach to a forest preserve. I think about science and nature; people and nurturing of their environment coming together.Hands-on learning, multigenerational community stewardship. I think about no books, no scientific lectures, no homework. Just lifework in the environment where they live, work, and play”(Veronica Kyle, Outreach Director, Faith in Place, Chicago). Keith Tidball from Cornell University responded to the same question by stating his long-standing conviction that Aldo Leopold’s land ethic serves as the basis for civic ecology. He went on to describe the land ethic as “thinking about the community as more than just the people in the neighborhood or the people on the block. It includes the other life, from the soil to the birds to the bees and the wildlife, the trees, the atmosphere. All of that is the community that we live in.” And Zahra Golshani, a researcher and volunteer with Nature Cleaners in Iran, talked about civic ecology as “activity that connects people to nature and also helps people to build a sense of community and social capital together.” How can we make sense of these disparate perspectives on civic ecology? And how do we take these and other insights to answer the question posed in this book: In what ways do small-scale civic ecology practices—milkweed planting for monarch butterflies in Chicago, tree planting in Detroit, community gardening in the Bronx, or litter cleanups in Bangalore and Tehran—make a difference beyond the small spaces that they immediately transform? To answer this question, I invited a group of twenty-five civic ecology practitioners and scholars to a workshop at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center in Annapolis, Maryland. During our three days together in February 2015, we explored the definition of civic ecology that Keith Tidball and I had proposed in earlier publications within the context of the practices and disciplinary lenses represented at the workshop (text box 1). The goal was to generate understandings of the broader impacts of civic ecology practices by exploring specific stewardship INTRODUCTION 3 and restoration actions through the lens of academic theories and disciplines. The understandings generated at the workshop and...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781501714993
Related ISBN
9781501714979
MARC Record
OCLC
1013988671
Pages
276
Launched on MUSE
2018-05-13
Language
English
Open Access
No
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