One-Planet Talking blog

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Alison Anderson's picture

Angela Smith (University of Sunderland, UK) and Philip Drake (Edge Hill University, UK) authors of "Belligerent broadcasting, male anti-authoritarianism and anti-environmentalism" provide a timely analysis of anti-environmentalism in Top Gear, the hugely popular UK television series.

Top Gear is the BBC’s most-watched and most profitable programme, with extensive franchising of both format and associated merchandise. It was, conversely, the BBC’s most controversial show, with repeated official complaints to the broadcasting standards authority (OfCom) and, eventually, widespread media disdain for the main presenter, Jeremy Clarkson. In the end, this all built up to a climactic crisis in late 2015 after Clarkson hit a member of the production team off-camera when filming. Clarkson’s contract had been due for renewal at this point and so, in the face of mounting media pressure, the BBC was left with little choice but to not renew that contract nor that of the two co-presenters, Richard Hammond and James May. A new presenting team emerged, including US actor Mat LeBlanc, German racing driver Sabine Schmitz, F1 racing team owner Eddie Jordan, and lesser-known motoring journalist Chris Harris, and after a public audition, Rory Reid. Headed by TV and radio presenter Chris Evans, the team seemed to represent many of the topics that had been the ‘soft’ target of Clarkson’s Top Gear: race, gender, xenophobia. The show was also split into two sections, with the online TV station BBC3 showing Extra Gear in which Harris and Reid reproduced the more in-depth car reviews and the ‘news’ section that had previously formed part of the main show’s format. The six-episode series that was first broadcast in 2016, with Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc as lead hosts, was alternatively criticized for being ‘too similar’ to the Clarkson era show, or ‘not at all like’ this. This leads us to the conclusion that there is a certain invisible factor at work in the show that led to its global popularity and widespread derision. 

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Richard Doherty's picture

As the IECA Vice Chair, one of the cool tasks I have is to encourage members to self-nominate for the Board of Director positions. I would like to encourage you to do that now.  Here are a few thoughts you might consider:  

- My late husband could always find the good in something. When I would get frustrated and say how I hated something (say, the way the media reported on the environment) he insisted I say five things that I loved. Sometimes it was hard to find five related things that I loved. It made me realize how much we can focus on the negative and it makes us blind to the positive things.

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Stephen Depoe's picture

IECA colleagues and others who teach environmental communication:  I have now required students in my COMM/EVST 4067 (Environmental Communication) class at the University of Cincinnati to become members of IECA for a couple of semesters.  We leverage members-only content, including the membership list, the "EC list" newsletter, and the journal ENVIRONMENTAL COMMUNICATION, throughout the course.  This practice also teaches students what it means to join a professional association.  The students and I have gained significant value from this required class element at a very reasonable cost to students (currently $76 including journal subscription).

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Alison Anderson's picture

Environmental Communication, Volume 10, Issue 5, October 2016 is now available online on Taylor & Francis Online.

This new issue contains the following articles:

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Alison Anderson's picture

As the upcoming presidential election in the U.S. highlights major divides on climate change, Alison Bowers reflects on the challenges and possibilities.

The recently-released, annual State of the Climate report, led by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, describes a set of record high temperatures. In 2015, greenhouse gases were at their highest levels on record, as were global surface temperatures, sea surface temperatures, and global sea levels. The report also detailed disturbing changes in the Arctic, a large algal bloom in the Pacific Ocean, continued glacial retreat, and above average tropical cyclone activity. Clearly, climate change continues to be a major global issue demanding decisive and immediate action.

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clive tesar's picture

You’ve likely seen it by now – the sculpture of a polar bear transfixed by a towering line representing the rise in Global carbon dioxide emissions. The sculpture by Danish artist Jens Galschiot was first shown in Paris, and has been used since in some other settings, including a square in front of the Danish parliament.
What you may not know is that the story of the sculpture’s creation can be partly traced back to the Conference on Communication and Environment (COCE) in Boulder, Colorado last summer. It was my first IECA Conference, and I was eager to get as much out of the event as possible, presenting some of the WWF Arctic work, but also learning from others.

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Mark Meisner's picture

I have just finished up grading and other final tasks for the January 10-week session of IECA's online course Environmental Communication: Research Into Practice. I almost called it the Winter session, but I am not sure we had winter here in the northeast US and I know it wasn't winter in other parts of the world where some of the participants live.

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The IECA's picture

Taylor & Francis and the International Environmental Communication Association (IECA) are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Matthew Nisbet as the new Editor-in-Chief of Environmental Communication, starting from 1 January 2017, succeeding Dr. Alison Anderson of Plymouth University, UK. Dr. Nisbet is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Northeastern University, USA.

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The IECA's picture

The IECA's 2017 Conference on Communication and Environment will be hosted by IECA founding member Anders Hansen at the University of Leicester in Leicester England. The conference will take place June 29 to July 2, 2017 with pre-conference events on June 28.

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The IECA's picture

When it comes to talking about the environment, the Pope’s message of compassion stood in clear contrast to Volkswagen’s fraudulent marketing in 2015.

Experts in communicating about environmental issues have voted Pope Francis the “Environmental Communicator” of the year for 2015, and chosen Volkswagen as the “Environmental Miscommunicator" of the year.

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Alison Anderson's picture
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Alison Anderson's picture

Francis Lee (Chinese University of Hong Kong), author of ‘Economic Conditions, the Policy Cycle, and Media Visibility of Environmental Organizations’ provides a timely analysis of the factors that affect media visibility of environmental groups in his latest article published in Environmental Communication.

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Alison Anderson's picture
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Marianna Poberezhskaya's picture

The Paris deal generally got a very good press. Most reporting in the immediate aftermath had a similar focus on a few key headline points: this was a “landmark victory”, albeit one with a few cautionary notes. Yet a closer look reveals some telling differences.

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Anabela Carvalho's picture

On Saturday morning, as the COP continued past schedule with successive postponements of the release of the agreement text, which was going to be, in all likelihood, a watered down, strategically vague version of what the world needs, I found myself wondering what to do. Having been all week at Le Bourget conference centre as an observer representing IECA, I decided to spend that day on the other side of history, the side of the citizens in the streets of Paris who defiantly organized several demonstrations to express their resolve in struggling for a better planet (eventually authorized by the police the day before).

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Gregg Walker's picture

As I begin to write this, I am sitting a COP 21 plenary room, La Loire, on Saturday 12 December 2015 with two thousand others; from both country delegations and civil society organizations.  We gather in an “overflow” room, watching events taking place in the adjacent plenary room, La Seine.  In that room, French Foreign Minister and COP 21 President Laurent Fabius is highlighting key parts of the “Paris Agreement.”  After more than two decades of negotiations, 196 countries have apparently agreed to a legally binding document to collectively confront the causes and impacts of climate change.

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Chui-Ling Tam's picture

During the 4th Paris Committee meeting on Wednesday Dec 9, as individual countries and regional coalitions responded to the “ambitious” draft text that would be the almost penultimate version of the agreement coming out of COP21, an increasingly powerful and repeated refrain was the “red line” of 1.5 degrees Celsius. Delegate after delegate asserted that 1.5 was the deal-breaker, the line of last defence, the line that defined possibility and certain death for numerous Small Island Developing States and the many states bordering on the oceans.

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Anabela Carvalho's picture

The Conference Centre where the COP21 is being held has seen a plethora of side events in the last two weeks. There are the “official side events”- over 200 according to UNFCCC’s website - and a much greater number held in the national and thematic pavilions. All sorts of topics have been discussed, from agroecology to children’s rights and the “Work of the LEG in supporting the LDCs on NAPs and NAPAs” (that’s a good display of COP lingo for you). And of course business, lots of business.

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Stephen Depoe's picture

I have been reading with interest the many and varied blog posts published by our intrepid IECA colleagues who traveled to Paris for the COP-21 meetings.  Their stories and insights, along with their active participation in various events and side-sessions, have galvanized me anew as to the value and importance of IECA as a stand-alone professional organization.

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Chui-Ling Tam's picture

Sat today by some giant translucent animal figurines for that most furtive and fleeting of COP21 activities – eating lunch – I was approached by a graduate student distributing a questionnaire that has made the annual round of climate change negotiations since COP13 in Bali in 2007, an event that some identify as the pivotal point at which The Blue Economy entered the global lexicon, with its emphasis on oceans.

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