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New memberships active for the rest of 2015 and all of 2016

Space is limited for the January 2016 session of

Environmental Communication:
Research Into Practice

"This isn’t just another course on effective communication. It’s not about how to write compelling copy or design a stunning advocacy ad. It’s deeper than that.

This course will help you to understand the unique and sometimes near-impossible challenges of communicating well around environmental affairs and sustainability.

We’ll show you why much environmental communication today is not as effective as it could be, and is all too often counter-productive.

And we’ll give you the information and critical perspective you need to make better communication choices."


What's Happening

Featured Posts

Overcoming Cognitive Dissonance: Multimedia Community Engagement Around Sea Level Rise

“Cognitive dissonance” is a term I am using more frequently. I first heard it as a graduate student learning about communication theory, as we studied the stress people experience when new information confronts deep-held beliefs and attitudes. We are rational creatures, right? We want harmony between our lived experiences and what we believe to be true.
So, as someone who works in research and education dealing with climate change communication, I often now must invoke this phrase. It helps me understand those who deny climate change, in a context of overwhelming climate science consensus; it gives me a phrase, in part, for explaining a building boom in South Florida, the world’s most vulnerable region (economically speaking) to sea level rise; as well as processing, in part, U.S. Congressional resistance toward working toward a sustainable and viable future for humankind in the face of this enormous challenge.

A State of Emergency & Latent Exigence During COP21

(Note: This blog post is part of a series that will be shared over the next two weeks as IECA members observe and participate in COP21 in Paris.)

Today, I attended a security briefing and helped set up the IECA booth with Prof. Juliet Pinto & Suzanna Norbeck, JD, from Mediators Beyond Borders (with whom we’re sharing the booth). Despite the state of emergency, the security was nothing compared to the airport in Indianapolis. Honestly. (For an excellent book on U.S. security performances from an intersectional cultural studies perspective, see Rachel Hall’s *The Transparent Traveler*.)

Nevertheless, today was a striking juxtaposition between those inside COP21 and those outside. Outside, as I have tweeted and posted on Facebook (for those that want pictures), there were three main events worth noting: a sunrise ceremony by Indigenous environmental activists, a display of thousands of shoes instead of people in lieu of current law, and a human sidewalk barricade that stood peacefully on the sidewalk where the marching was to occur.

Glocal news and COP21

The week before I left for the COP21 talks, I spent a considerable amount of time driving around my local neighborhoods in Miami and watching water pool on the streets. It bubbled up rapidly through storm drains, spreading across streets, turning green grass into yellow stalks, sloshing across roadways as cars splashed through and people held their shoes in their hands to gingerly tiptoe across.


No, it wasn’t a water main break or a storm: It’s higher sea levels, combined with a rainy year and the passage of annual king tides, which together mean that the infrastructure that was constructed decades ago to deal with flooding is simply being overwhelmed. And it means a glimpse into our future, as seas continue to rise at accelerated rates, when such flooding will be the new normal.

So more than ever, as a scholar who studies interfaces of news media and democracy, as well as a citizen who experiences climate change at a local level, I wonder: What will the news narrative of the COP21 talks be? If you view, as I do, news a social construction, then how media translate these talks for global audiences has particular urgency. It certainly does for those like me, who live on coastlines that are rapidly transforming, as it does for others, who live where the forests are disappearing, or where the rain has gone away, where the storms are more ferocious, or where once ubiquitous species are disappearing at alarming rates.


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