Civic ecology practices: What role for self-organized community environmental stewardship in resilience to multiple stresses?
Civic ecology practices are community-based, environmental stewardship actions taken to enhance green infrastructure, ecosystem services, and human well-being in cities. Examples include tree planting in post-Katrina New Orleans, oyster reestablishment and dune restoration in New York City, community gardening in Detroit, village grove restoration in Korea, and natural area stewardship in the Cape Flats, South Africa. These practices often emerge in communities after a major disaster (e.g., Hurricane Sandy) or following long-term disinvestment and decline (e.g., Detroit). From a social-ecological systems perspective, they represent small-scale, self-organized efforts that address multiple stresses, including poverty, crime, flooding, pollution, and limited open space.
The goal of this workshop is to better understand such practices and the insights they provide in planning for future stresses related to climate change. The workshop will bring together ethnically-diverse community leaders engaged in civic ecology practices and academics from universities, NGOs, and government to address the following questions:
- How do civic ecology practices emerge?
- What role do these practices play in mitigation, adaptation, and transformation in communities facing multiple social-ecological stresses?
- Given climate-associated disturbances (e.g., flooding, heat waves), what strategies can be used to expand the impacts of community-driven practices to foster social-ecological resilience and sustainability?
Three products will result from the workshop:
- An academic review article synthesizing the workshop discussions,
- A video of community leaders describing their “best practices,” and
- A book of case practice descriptions seen through the lens of various social-ecological conceptual frameworks.