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The Nature of Hope focuses on the dynamics of environmental activism at the local level, examining the environmental and political cultures that emerge in the context of conflict. The book considers how ordinary people have coalesced to demand environmental justice and highlights the powerful role of intersectionality in shaping the on-the-ground dynamics of popular protest and social change.
Through lively and accessible storytelling, The Nature of Hope reveals unsung and unstinting efforts to protect the physical environment and human health in the face of continuing economic growth and development and the failure of state and federal governments to deal adequately with the resulting degradation of air, water, and soils. In an age of environmental crisis, apathy, and deep-seated cynicism, these efforts suggest the dynamic power of a “politics of hope” to offer compelling models of resistance, regeneration, and resilience. The contributors frame their chapters around the drive for greater democracy and improved human and ecological health and demonstrate that local activism is essential to the preservation of democracy and the protection of the environment. The book also brings to light new styles of leadership and new structures for activist organizations, complicating assumptions about the environmental movement in the United States that have focused on particular leaders, agencies, thematic orientations, and human perceptions of nature.
The critical implications that emerge from these stories about ecological activism are crucial to understanding the essential role that protecting the environment plays in sustaining the health of civil society. The Nature of Hope will be crucial reading for scholars interested in environmentalism and the mechanics of social movements and will engage historians, geographers, political scientists, grassroots activists, humanists, and social scientists alike.
About the Author
Char Miller is the W. M. Keck Professor of Environmental Analysis at Pomona College. He is the author, coauthor, editor, or coeditor of more than thirty books and a regular contributor of essays, commentary, and reviews to professional journals, newspapers, and online media. He is a Senior Fellow at the Pinchot Institute for Conservation and a Fellow of the Forest History Society.
Jeff Crane is the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington, where he also led the creation of Our Common Home Farms, a community farming program. He is the author of three books and various journal articles and lectures on river restoration, climate change, and food justice.
“The Nature of Hope makes a strong statement about the empirics and history of environmental justice in the United States. . . . The book provokes critical questions and raises political answers about our shared environment.” —Kevin T. Smiley, University at Buffalo
"This book is unique in providing a wide variety of experiences from the eighteen contributors. . . . Their efforts have brought together stories that show the true nature of grassroots organizing, environmental justice, and political change." —Electric Green Journal