Ecological restoration integrates the science and art of repairing ecosystems damaged by human activities. Despite relatively little attention from environmental ethicists, restoration projects continue to gain significance, drawing on citizen volunteers and large amounts of public funds, providing an important model of responding to ecological crisis. Projects range from the massive, multi-billion dollar Kissimmee River project; restoring 25 000 acres of Everglades' wetlands; to the number 30 million effort to restore selected wetlands in industrial Brownfield sites in Chicago's south side Lake Calumet area; to the reintroduction of tall grass prairie ecosystems in various communities in the Midwest.
Restored to Earth provides the first comprehensive examination of the religious and ethical dimensions and significance of contemporary restoration practice, an ethical framework that advances the field of environmental ethics in a more positive, action-oriented, experience-based direction. Van Wieren brings together insights and examples from restoration ecology, environmental ethics, religious studies, and conservation and Christian thought, as well as her own personal experiences in ecological restoration, to propose a new restoration ethic grounded in the concrete, hands-on experience of humans working as partners with the land.
Introduction: From Wounded Land and Spirit to Healing Land and Spirit: The Significance of Ecological Restoration for Environmental Ethics
Part I: Restoring Earth
1. "Let There Be a Tree": A Field Guide to Types of Ecological Restoration
2. For the Sake of the Wild Others: Restoration Meanings for Nature
3. Restoration of the Personal Heart: Toward a Spirituality of Environmental Action
4. Regenerating Communities of Place: Public Restoration Values
Part II: Restored to Earth
5. Ecological Symbolic Action: Restoration as Sacramental Practice
6. Re-storying Earth, Re-storied to Earth
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Gretel Van Wieren is assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Michigan State University. She received her MDiv and PhD in Religious Studies from Yale University, where her dissertation was awarded a Louisville Institute Fellowship. She has served as a pastor and worked on environmental issues in the Reformed Church in America.