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.