The role of environmental placemaking in shaping contemporary environmentalism and understanding land change

Related GLP Member: Amrita Sen, Harini Nagendra


It is important to understand environmental and conservation consciousness, commonly referred to as ‘environmentalism’, considering the crisis of global environmental change. Environmentalism of the North has been characterized as focused on ‘pristine’ landscapes of wilderness. In contrast, discussions on environmentalism of the South focus on indigenous and long-settled communities with intrinsic associations to nature, keeping social justice at the core. In an increasingly globalized world characterized by migration, teleconnections and changing ecologies, environmental placemaking helps us move beyond these dichotomies to understand the dynamic process by which diverse social and ecological practices, meanings and attachments to nature can be collectively harnessed for conservation. We discuss the growing body of literature that examines environmental placemaking and argue that this literature contributes significant explanatory power to land change science, by helping understand the motivations that act as precursors to shape both proximate drivers of land change, and responses to them.

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