In communities across the country and around the world, people are coming together to rebuild and restore local environments that have been affected by crisis or disaster. In New Orleans after Katrina, in New York after Sandy, in Soweto after apartheid, and in any number of postindustrial, depopulated cities, people work together to restore nature, renew communities, and heal themselves. In Civic Ecology, Marianne Krasny and Keith Tidball offer stories of this emerging grassroots environmental stewardship, along with an interdisciplinary framework for understanding and studying it as a growing international phenomenon.
Krasny and Tidball draw on research in social capital and collective efficacy, ecosystem services, social learning, governance, social-ecological systems, and other findings in the social and ecological sciences to investigate how people, practices, and communities interact. Along the way, they chronicle local environmental stewards who have undertaken such tasks as beautifying blocks in the Bronx, clearing trash from the Iranian countryside, and working with traumatized veterans to conserve nature and recreate community. Krasny and Tidball argue that humans' innate love of nature and attachment to place compels them to restore nature and places that are threatened, destroyed, or lost. At the same time, they report, nature and community exert a healing and restorative power on their stewards.