Fostering Healthy Communities
through Connection with Nature
Climate Change Mitigation refers to efforts to reduce or prevent emission of greenhouse gases. Mitigation can mean using new technologies and renewable energies, making older equipment more energy efficient, or changing management practices or consumer behavior. It can be as complex as a plan for a new city, or as a simple as improvements to a cook stove design. Climate change adaptation refers to adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or harnesses opportunities.
Civic ecology practices are community-based, environmental stewardship actions taken to enhance green infrastructure, ecosystem services, and human well-being in human-dominated landscapes. Civic ecology brings together my two passions – caring for people and caring for the environment, within the context of specific communities. When people are engaged in civic ecology practices such as creating community gardens, planting trees, and restoring natural areas they are likely to develop authentic attachment to both their social and ecological community and to develop a belief in their ability to accomplish activities.
Many communities struggle with complex environmental problems that require long-range planning and engagement with multiple stakeholders, such as climate change and sustainable adaptation and mitigation efforts. Communities often lack the technical expertise, environmental knowledge and community capacity to address these risks. The Community Ecology Institute supports communities in understanding a community’s specific concerns with attention to both ecosystem and human health and well-being and how they come together to create community health.
Nature connection integrates the physical place with the psychological and social elements of creating meaning and attachment, and with political economic dimensions of place engagement or citizenship action. Research has consistently shown that a connection with nature is an important motivator for environmentally responsible behavior. As a result, fostering a strong connection with nature is of interest to a variety of fields including conservation, education, community organizing, psychology and sociology for its potential to understand and motivate human behavior.
The Community Ecology Institute