Engaging in “civic ecologies”

How do you care for the place where you live? Do you know very much about the land? About the indigenous connection to the land? Do you know how to forage in your neighbourhood? Are there people committed to nurturing the place and land where you live?

These are some questions that The Green Square Atlas of Civic Ecologies gets us thinking about.

The “Atlas” was put together by Mapping Edges at University of Technology Sydney and it’s purpose is to be a resource to help the neighbourhood of Green Square on nadunga gurad , sand dune country become more sustainable. It’s a great model for anyone who wants to care for the place where they live.

“Civic ecologies” is a term that encompasses “stewardship activities that combine care for the environment and care for the place” Examples are when people “tend to verge gardens, share produce with neighbours, set up community gardens and contribute to habitats for wildlife or become urban beekeepers.” The hope is that “local sustainable practices can drive small-scale environmental change.”

We went on a Civic ecology walk with some guides from Mapping Edges around Green Square recently and it was wonderful to see the way nature was pushing through any design that humans had imposed. There were also lots of instances of human design and nature working beautifully together. It was fabulous to hear some local stories and also learn the names and functions of indigenous plants.

So what are some ideas on what you can do to care for you place?

1.Save and exchange seeds

2.Follow plants while walking

3.Get to know the Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub

4.Make and maintain a verge garden

5.Start or join a community garden


7.Observe and conserve water

8.Create habitat for urban wildlife

9.Reduce waster

10.Look for special trees and find relief from urban heat.

What does it look like to activate civic ecologies in your neighbourhood?

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