The following abstracts are organized by session and then panel, alphabetically.

Presenters are responsible for uploading their abstracts and papers here. If you don't see something it is because the presenter did not provide the information. Full papers, practice reflections, posters, etc. are available in PDF form to COCE 2015 delegates who are logged in.

Please note that this page will change often leading up to the conference as presenters upload their content.


Session A


1: Teaching sustainability: Education in action

Certificate Sustainability & Journalism: Case Study of a Pilot Continuing Education Program for Journalists
Fischer, Daniel; Marwege, Robin; Michelsen, Gerd

The public and political debate about sustainable development has paved the way for a ‘renaissance’ of environmental journalism in Germany. ‘Green’ issues have conquered the agenda and are fundamentally changing the economy and society. These recent developments pose new challenges to the professional education of journalists in the field. In response to this demand, the Professional School of Leuphana University Lüneburg in Northern Germany began offering a Certificate Program in... more

Intergenerational learning for sustainability: Bridging divides across generations
Hollingshead, Brandon P.

This paper considers the possibility of intergenerational learning to bridge divides in the rhetoric of sustainability across generations in sustainability discourse and between top-down policy initiatives and bottom-up education. Sustainability discourse speaks to aspirations of meeting the needs of present and future generations, but there is little precise language on the meaning, methods, or goals of intergenerationality and intergenerational learning. Through close reading and... more

The Sustainability in Prisons Project: Shifting Public Perceptions of Incarceration through Science and Sustainability Initiatives
Bush, Kelli ; LeRoy, Carri ; Pacholke, Dan ; Trivett, Joslyn ; Elliott, Carl

The Sustainability in Prisons Project (SPP) brings science, nature, and sustainability into prisons. We bridge the divide between prisons and outside communities by forging collaborations that reduce environmental, economic, and human costs of incarceration. Programs include rearing endangered plants and animals, composting, gardening, and environmental education.<!--break--> In a world with increasing environmental challenges, it is important to engage and educate everyone. Prisons... more

Why won’t these students recycle? Making recycling a student priority.
Cunningham, Sheryl

Our university recycling rate has been hovering around 12% for the past two years; as a member of our Sustainability Task Force I am working with students to create a communications strategy to help increase our recycling rates. In this presentation I will discuss the work of the task force overall and issues of student employment and how best to reach students in an era of information overload and limited resources.


3: Communicating Disaster and Risk

Collective memories of Chernobyl in Gävle, Sweden
Aasen Ekstrand, Eva

Collective memories of Chernobyl in Gävle, Sweden Eva Aasen Ekstrand Department of humanities, University of Gävle, Sweden, Eva.Ekstrand@hig.se Abstract Collective memories of past environmental disasters, which could possibly anticipate and prevent similar future accidents, according to the saying 'never again', can be assumed to stimulate advocacy. But when and in what way is it relevant at all to speak of collective memory? In April 1986 the Swedish town of Gävle suffered... more

Encountering Remediated Landscapes: The Divided Risk Society Subject
Bowers, Tom

Drawing from work on the material, I argue that revisioning the remediation of contaminated landscapes can provide a potential space by which to generate a more responsive and contemplative public when it comes to modern industrial practices. Generating such potential requires that toxic waste sites be materially reconsidered so that a toxically-engaged subject experiences toxic waste sites and landfills as monuments and memorials. To further develop this argument, this study draws from... more

Photography’s Time Lag: Challenging the Pastness and Passivity in the Representation of Climate Change and Other Environmental Disasters
Peck, Julia

This paper argues for a sustained ecological approach to be developed in relation to the photographic representation of climate change and other environmental disasters. Following Jane Bennett’s thesis in Vibrant Matter (2010) that we need to find ways to acknowledge the agency of all factors that are relevant to understanding ecology, I wish to propose that photography can foster an understanding of the agency of the environment in which we live and produce thoughtful, reflective practice... more

Risk symbolism, decision-making and wildfires: a reflection on the risk-communication process from a fire analyst and fire communicator.
Steffens, Ron

In my work as a wildland fire analyst, I am asked to convey the risk of wildfires impacting values at risk, which range from viewsheds to key watersheds, rare species and habitats, firefighters working the line and the homes and lives of the general public. In the United States, our risk analysis is rooted in 50 years of wildland fire science and predictive services work, though the development and launch of a federal Wildland Fire Decision Support System has integrated these tools within... more

Risk, Failure, and Hazard Narratives in Local Media Coverage of Natural Disasters: Can We Learn from our Mistakes?
Crow, Deserai; Berggren, John; Lawhon, Lydia; Huda, Juhi; Koebele, Elizabeth; Kroepsch, Adrianne

In public policy scholarship, a natural disaster that has significant impacts on human interests is considered a focusing event that can lead policy actors to pay attention to previously ignored problems, frame those issues, and potentially develop solutions to such problems. Natural disasters are also often considered policy failures because the interaction between humans and their environment has resulted in loss of life or property due, in part, to the past decisions made by governments... more


4: Collaborative Resilience Assessment: theory and Practice

Collaborative Resilience Assessment: Theory and Practice
Moderators: Bruce Evan Goldstein and Leah Sprain, CU Boulder; Allyson Quinlan, Senior Fellow, Resilience Alliance; Molly Mowery, Wildfire Planning Internatiional; Tom james, University of Exeter

There is a growing interest in both understanding and promoting social-ecological resilience through resilience assessment. Not simply a scientific and analytic process, resilience assessment is collaborative and reflexive, engaging the very people who are part of the social-ecological system under examination in the assessment procedure. These efforts to practice resilience assessment raise a host of questions about who we are assessing for, what are we assessing, and how should we assess.... more


5: Art, imagery and performance: Diversifying communication contexts

At Last Which Thrives: 3D Printing Native Plants Significant to a Region
Farris-LaBar, Darlene

I hope to present my recent work that involves the designing and 3D printing of native plants and flowers that exist within protected and preserved places of the Pocono Region. My work serves a diverse community that provides education and awareness about a changing culture and vulnerable natural environment. My overall predominant theme requires research concerning the health of our natural surroundings and the vulnerable species that influence our future existence. Historically, my art... more

Between dread and delight: artistic renderings of climate change futures
Nurmis, Joanna

During the last decade (2005-2015), artists from all over the world have taken on climate change as the subject matter of their work. Encouraged by activists (most notably Bill McKibben), artists have appropriated climate change as a social problem and decided that they too, alongside journalists and scientists, could do something to heighten public engagement with this pressing issue. Several major exhibitions, most notably in Boulder (2007), London and Copenhagen (2009), Paris (2012), New... more

Virtual worlds and real world concern
England, Jennifer

This paper argues that video games are a viable research area for the discipline of environmental communication, specifically by contextualizing game studies research by drawing on the rhetorical nature of video games and connecting video game rhetoric(s) to the use of rhetoric in environmental communication. Through a discussion of how video games can help us to explore representations of nature and the environment, this paper suggests that as a discipline environmental communication should... more

“It gets tricky.” Activism and journalism in conservation photography
Schwarz, Elizabeth

Visual material continues to play a key role in communicating about environmental issues and its role will likely continue to grow with the proliferation of photographic equipment and the sharing affordances of ever-expanding internet technologies. This study contributes to literature on media production, social movements, and environmental communication by focusing on the production of visual material by conservation photographers – photographers who focus on addressing environmental and... more


6: Representing the 'Wild'

Environmental Epideixis: Rhetorics of Scale and Magnitude in Chasing Ice
McGuffey, James Coleman

In November 2012, the award winning documentary Chasing Ice was released displaying the impact that global climate change is having on glaciers throughout the world. The film captures the exploits of James Balog and his project the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS). The EIS is a “long-term photography project that merges art and science to give a ‘visual voice’ to the planet’s changing ecosysystems. EIS imagery preserves a visual legacy, providing a unique baseline…for revealing how climate change... more

Pain and Murder as Voice: Understanding Alternative Symbolics Through the “Blackfish Effect”
Schutten, Julie K.; Burford, Caitlyn

The documentary film Blackfish (2013) follows the story of Tilikum a captive SeaWorld prisoner-orca responsible for the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau and two others. The film has had a profound effect on public perceptions of orca captivity, orca health as an apex predator, and related environmental issues, creating the “Blackfish Effect.” This e-tactic movement has had a detrimental impact on SeaWorld’s revenues and influenced public policy regarding cetaceans. We analyze the film using... more

Searching National Geographic
McGaurr, Lyn

This paper considers some of the implications for the public sphere of aggregating content across mastheads, mediums, genres and subject categories in an era of digital promotion. My data are the first 10 results returned from each of four searches of the website NationalGeographic.com, where each of the search terms is a place name associated with debate about the proposed construction of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline between Alberta and British Columbia. Environmental conflicts... more

we are the walrus
Desire-Tesar, Clive

As an Arctic environmental communications specialist, there is a constant tension in my work, shared with those who communicate about the value of conserving the world’s remote spaces; how do we make this place meaningful to those who never have and never will experience it? The problem can be framed in terms of ecological economics, as one of existence/bequest value. In the Arctic, even tangible benefits are spread thin among the region’s four million people, and few tangible benefits... more


7: Communicating / Questioning Health and Toxicity

Species Boundaries in Genetic Engineering: The Case of Aedes Aegypti and Dengue Fever
Hartzog, Molly

The publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species notably disrupted how natural philosophers (and today, biologists) understand the species concept. While evolutionary theory has become an indisputable central tenet of biology, debates on how to classify and categorize living organisms have persisted. In the mid-twentieth century, the field of phylogenetic systematics, or “cladistics,” emerged as a preferred method for taxonomy development, competing with the long-used Linnaean... more

Toxic Trespass: Breaking the Law for an Unfracktured Future
de Onis, Kathleen

This paper explores environmental activist Sandra Steingraber’s recent discourse on fracking. To defend her decision to trespass on private property in 2013, Steingraber deploys “toxic trespass” to evince the personal wrongs she endured and the broader injustice confronted by humankind, as fracking threatens human and environmental health with legal impunity. I consider the term’s mutability and potential for shaping legal and extralegal fracking controversies by studying Steingraber’s role... more

Worldly Encounters: Microbes-Humans-Milieus
Núñez Casal, Andrea

Debates on immunity tend to concentrate on the self/nonself dichotomy, giving priority to biochemical pathways and molecularity of biological phenomena and thus rendering the immune system and thereby biology as placeless and universal. Since little attention has been paid to the body-environment dyad in relation to the immune system, the microbiome is of particular interest for the social sciences and environmental communication. Research on 'the microbiome' (i.e. the... more


Session B


11: Building Bridges Between the Environmental Movements and Other Causes (workshop)

Building Bridges Between the Environmental Movement and Other Causes (Workshop)
Freeman, Carrie

SUMMARY & RATIONALE: In the spirit of the conference theme of building bridges, this workshop helps communication scholars and practitioners brainstorm and identify opportunities for the environmental movement to gain needed strength and support by partnering with other social cause movements. Many social movements are also anti-exploitation movements working toward fairness and wellbeing by facilitating major systemic changes from governments, industries, and the public. Why continue... more


12: Environmental education: Constructing disciplines, contesting practices

Is Media Literacy a Lost Cause?
Hadl, Gabriele

On the improbable (though necessary) greening of media education It is troubling to be an educator today. We stand in front of young people who will likely have to cope with sudden and abrupt climate change (Hansen, Sato et al 2011) and other civilization-threatening environmental crises. What can we teach them, given our and previous four to five generations are responsible for creating (or at least not addressing) these? In the field of environmental communication, we try to tackle... more

Marketing Thornton Burgess
Oehlkers, Peter

The author Thornton W. Burgess mediated the natural world for several generations of Americans during the 20th century. Although there have been efforts (e.g., Brooks, 1980; Lowrance, 2013) to assert his centrality in the history of American environmental communication, he is rarely mentioned in such accounts. This paper explores one possible explanation for his omission from the history: the commercial motives underpinning Burgess’s environmental work. Despite being cited as a significant... more

Teaching and practice of Environmental Communication in Brazil: notes from a field under construction in University
Lima, Myrian D. V. de; Loose, Eloisa B.; Nogarolli, Aparecida de Fátima

Cox (2010) considers that the causes of contemporary environmental crisis should be the communication focus. So, people can have information and knowledge to be aware and acting on environmental issues, rather than just watching and commenting on the effects of conflict man/nature or raise awareness for the images of environmental disasters. As professionals working in the teaching of environmental communication in Brazil, we aim for the theory to become the practice, especially in the field... more


13: Food Matters: Agriculture, sustainability and communication

The Meme is the Message
Friedlander, Judith; Riedy, Chris

The negative impacts of meat consumption and production receive limited media coverage. Social media communication strategies offer novel ways to raise the impacts of meat on the public agenda. This paper explores how strategic use of frames, messaging and rhetoric can engage social media audiences in a meat reduction advocacy campaign. Meat Free Mondays Australia ran a social media poll to test the popularity of different infographics for building or “melding” a broader aggregate audience... more

The role of communication in scaling up sustainable development in Zambia: COMACO's Farm Talk
Young, Carrie

The pressures of climate change and population growth in Africa make the scaling up of sustainable development an important focus of initiatives hoping to reach as many people as possible with appropriate innovations for improving human and environmental health. However, resource limitations and infrastructure challenges often limit the ability of programs to scale up through the use of extension and other forms of in-person training. While technologies, such as radio, television, and mobile... more


14: Cultivating and Communicating Crisis in Ecopoetics

Depictions of Environmental Crisis in William Carlos Williams's Paterson
Nolan, Sarah

Reading the environmental crises in William Carlos Williams’s Paterson allegorically allows us to recognize present day environmental concerns more readily and highlights the losses that lie ahead if we continue to ignore environmental threats. Williams’s ecopoetics throughout Paterson, which imaginatively depicts the effects of environmental disasters within the language and form of the poem, shows us the consequences of inaction and the true threat that disaster poses. This poetic example... more

The Anthropocenic Crisis in Contemporary Ecopoetics
George Bagdanov, Kristin

Anthropocene: a word that denotes a new geological epoch precipitated by human impact; a word that reveals what happens when we humans over-exert our agency and fail to understand the world via the perspective of deep time. Just as the mere naming the “Anthopocene” has enabled productive discussions across academic fields and even popular culture, naming a new category of ecopoetry suited to this epoch will encourage reflection—both popular and academic, both creative and critical—on the... more

Touch, Not Sight: Touch Perception in Aristotle’s De Anima and Touch Imagery in Forrest Gander’s Poetry
McCarroll, Gracie

Touch, Not Sight: Touch Perception in Aristotle’s De Anima and Touch Imagery in Forrest Gander’s Poetry Gracie McCarroll Colorado State University — gmccarroll1@hotmail.com Abrstract In this paper, I use Rebecca Goldner’s “Touch and Flesh in Aristotle’s de Anima” (2010) as a tool to further understand Aristotle’s discussion of the senses. After establishing the idea that sight was never necessary privileged over touch in Aristotle’s philosophy of the senses, I will then apply this idea... more


Session C


15: Environmental Voice Across Divides

Absence of Latino/a Community Voice in Agriculture Reporting
Robinson, Sandra; Belanger, Patrick

Today’s agriculture industry is acutely linked to environmental affairs. In the United States, farm operators and workers are charged with stewardship of more than 900 million acres of land, as well as the air and water that circulates throughout. At any point in time more than 1 billion animals are in the care of farmers and ranchers. Conservation and land use, pesticide and herbicide use, and the well-being of livestock are all areas of concern for modern agricultural producers. When news... more

Cultural Foundations of Environmental Communication
Carbaugh, Donal

Given our current conditions of diversity in places, among peoples, and between languages, we will benefit by enlarging our capacity to express various views of nature. This essay does so by bringing together concerns that are often kept apart including people and their places, nature and culture, human and spiritual matters. Such an enhanced view is a place-based and cultural perspective on environmental communication. The view is offered through colleague's similar works and in a way... more

“Ma’iingan is our brother”: An Ojibwe way of speaking about wolves
Cerulli, Tovar

In the context of debates over the protection, management, and public hunting and trapping of wolves (ma’iinganag) in Minnesota and Wisconsin, this draft book chapter examines a prominent cultural discourse employed by representatives of Ojibwe communities and governments: that of the wolf as a relative whose fate the Ojibwe share. The chapter shows how contemporary communication practices—and concepts of relevant communication forms—are rooted in historically situated ways of conceiving... more


18: Youth: Environmental Education and Engagement

Developing the Collective Fantasy of Environmental Inclusion Through Colloquium
Goldstein, Emily

The University Colloquium: A Sustainable Future is the course that was developed for the purpose of creating a shared view of the environment by transforming the context into new perspective of dialogue more geared toward sustainability. Florida Gulf Coast University emphasizes the Earth Charter Initiative and its mission to create a sustainable global society based on universal responsibility. This initiative is highlighted throughout University Colloquium in order to encourage the... more

Effective means of communication for children and youth to have a voice in environmental decisions in their city
Derr, Victoria; Yilmaz, Simge

Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child gives children a right to express their views in all matters that affect them, and the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child has ruled that this includes a voice in decisions that impact their living environment. Many cities in Europe the United States have developed initiatives to honor this principle, but Boulder has a unique program – Growing Up Boulder – to integrate the perspectives of children and adolescents... more

Outside Your Door: Young Producers Bridge the Divide between Urban Youth and Public Lands
Reist, Nancy; Pozzoboni, Kristen; Roberts, Nina; Sikand, Tanvi

In 2013, the USFS contracted with an interdisciplinary research team at San Francisco State University (SFSU) to study the question of how the USFS could effectively use media to encourage young people living in urban areas to increase their use of forests, parks and other public lands. Over a period of five months, 24 predominantly ethnic minority youth participated in a media training program creating media about what outdoor spaces and nature mean to them. The videos were then shown to... more

Youth Global Warming Leadership: Influence of Personal and Parent Beliefs and School Exposure
Flora, June; Roser-Renouf Connie; Maibach, Edward; Leiserowitz, Anthony

Today’s youth will bear the brunt of tomorrow’s climate change effects and adaptation needs. Engaging youth early climate issues and building leadership skills is critical. Yet little is known about the drivers of youth climate change leadership. In this study we examine the role of teen global warming beliefs, parent beliefs and modeling of leadership and youth perceptions of learnings acquired at school on youth leadership. We define global warming leadership as issue opinion leadership... more


19: Marketing and Organization Matters

B(e)aring the Burden of Representation: When Marine Masculinity Confronts Breast Cancer Awareness
Lind, Katherine

Water contamination is increasingly becoming a problem in the United States. From fracking sites leaking chemically-contaminated water into ground wells and aquifers to chemical spills like the Elk River Chemical Spill in Charleston, West Virginia, the ground water people have come to rely on in everyday life has become toxic. I explore the ways toxicity became an invisible issue for the U.S. Marine Corps in the context of Camp Lejeune, a toxic military facility in North Carolina that is... more

Celebrating the Green Corporation or Greenwashing It? An Epideictic Analysis of Corporate Sustainability Reports
Courtright, Jeffrey L.; Smudde, Peter M.

Over two-thirds of Fortune Global 500 companies now produce some form of sustainability report. Business research shows that organizations frame sustainability along multiple lines, including financial, employee engagement, and social impacts. We propose a holistic, systematic examination of environmental sustainability reports’ messages. The present study applies Smudde and Courtright’s (2012) epideictic typology of public relations discourse to analyze the top five businesses’ corporate... more

Coping with Sustainability: what behaviors during eco-innovation implementation are most likely to be viewed as resistance
Deline, Mary Beth

Advocates of organizational change, including sustainability campaigns, seek to promote behavioral change, yet research shows that efforts to implement these changes have consistently resulted in 50-70% failure rates. This may be because of a lack of research into resistance to change, which is a different phenomenon than change itself. In addition, research has failed to examine resistance as an interpretive, interactive communication process, traditionally conceiving of resistance as... more

Helping the Army Understand Complex Social-Ecological Systems
Ward, Heather

Imagine a U.S. Army commander newly assigned an area of responsibility (AOR) in a global hotspot. Chaos reigns, either because of inter or intra-state conflict, natural disaster and response, or fledgling peace-building efforts. How does he or she obtain command situational awareness quickly in order to take actions confidently and responsibly to accomplish the mission? What framework works best to analyze the plethora of information and intelligence available in a way that captures all of... more

Who Cares?: Constructing Women's Environmentalism in Green Marketing
Okopny, Cara

This article dissects the current state of discourse in environmental advertising aimed at women, exploring the language and imagery from a feminist perspective. Examining three green advertising campaigns pervasive in women’s lifestyle media in recent years, I discover that the gendered origins of environmental discourse in American popular culture continue to impact efforts to sell environmentalism to women. I trace the evolution of definitions of environmentalism in American popular... more


20: Attachments to place: Exploring environmental contestation and change

New Rig on the Block: Discourses of Energy Production/Consumption and Earth Surface/Subsurface in Colorado
Kroepsch, Adrianne

Drawing from the Critical Discourse Analysis and Cultural Sociology of Space frameworks, this empirical analysis explores the discursive conflict between stakeholders of divergent viewpoints as they respond to the newfound spatial proximity of oil and gas extraction to homes and schools in suburban residential areas on Colorado’s Front Range. Through an analysis of media, policymaking, and neighborhood meeting discourse, this study engages regional debates about the American West’s... more

Place attachment and interest in bioenergy information, information seeking, and support for community investment.
Spartz, James T.; Shaw, Bret R.; Rickenbach, Mark

Place attachment can function as a fundamental organizing principle for people considering potential land use change associated with different forms of technological advancement. Place attachment values may act as subtle but influential factors as citizens develop opinions and consider information seeking regarding potential future bioenergy-related land use scenarios. This analysis evaluates survey data from a random sample of citizens in the mixed land use region of southwest Wisconsin... more

Rhetorical Cartographies: (Re)Mapping Urban Spaces
Senda-Cook, Samantha; Middleton, Michael; Endres, Danielle

When residents speak about Omaha, they usually break it up into three geographic areas: North Omaha, South Omaha, and West Omaha. Although these boundaries appear clear-cut through geographic demarcations, demographic data, and local perceptions, certain features create gaps between neighborhoods while other neighborhoods overlap, yielding places that challenge the widely perceived boundaries of Omaha. We introduce a material element into Ronald Walter Greene and Kevin Douglas Kuswa’s (2012... more

“Just a Step from City to Country”: Rhetoric of Environmental Change in the Valley of Heart’s Delight
Todd, Anne Marie

In the middle of the twentieth century, the Valley of Heart’s Delight began transforming into Silicon Valley. As the country’s fabled agricultural region gave way to semi conductor and other industries, the transformation of the Valley of Heart’s Delight into Silicon Valley, propaganda videos that told the story of the Valley’s progress. Described at the time as “educational propaganda” providing “social guidance,” these films, produced in the waning days of the agricultural industry in the... more


Session D


21: Monitoring Environmental Issues in New Media - Data Analytics as Critical Practice

Monitoring Environmental Issues in New Media - Data Analytics as Critical Practice
Rogers, Richard; Sánchez-Querubín, Natalia; Lorenzen, Sönke; Kok, Saskia

The most common form of media monitoring relies on editorial content of news sources including newspapers, magazines, trade journals, TV shows, radio programs and specific websites, yet most organizations increasingly monitor social media online, and its impact on the diffusion of news in all media or in online conversation more generally. In this regard, online media monitoring is commonly used as a tool to study the ‘meaning of mentions’ of their organization, its campaigns and slogans,... more


22: Politics, Values and Media Consumption

Communication practices and political engagement with climate change: A research agenda
Carvalho, Anabela; van Wessel, Margit; Maeseele, Pieter

This paper aims to contribute to reorienting research towards citizens’ political engagement with climate change. We posit that communication practices are a key site to study the conditions and the modes of enactment of political engagement. The article starts by rethinking public engagement with climate change and making the case for a focus on political engagement. We then examine the notion of political subjectivity, how it is related to communication practices, and how it matters for... more

Identity and Climate Change
Pechar, Emily; Mayer, Frederick

While scientific consensus about the risks and threat of anthropogenic climate change has solidified over recent years, less than half of Americans believe that climate change is real or caused primarily by humans. A number of explanations for this public opinion gap on climate change have been introduced in the literature, however we find that current explanations fall short in determining how individuals develop certain beliefs, and why so many Americans deny the existence of anthropogenic... more

It’s not Easy Being Green: How the de/ politicization of Climate Change Shapes Citizens’ Disposition to Act
Pepermans, Yves; Maeseele, Pieter

Representations of climate change inspire citizens to take part in various old and new forms of individual and collective actions. This paper focuses on the role of citizens’ symbolic environment and explores the relationship between citizens’ representation of climate change and their political subjectivity, and more specifically their disposition to act on climate change. This paper reports on seven focus groups with a diverse set of Flemish citizens, which focused on the way they (i)... more

Reluctantly cynical: Newsreaders on climate politics
Piotrowski, Marcelina; Gunster, Shane

News can enable or disable citizen engagement with climate change politics. It is key to impacting public perceptions of the significance of climate change and affects their beliefs about what it means to become politically active. Newsreaders who are concerned about climate change are reluctantly cynical about our collective ability to be involved in political action on climate change; they strongly desire change but are discouraged, doubtful and frustrated. This paper reports on a study... more

Tracking the Release of IPCC AR5 on Twitter
Newman, Todd

Social media platforms are increasingly becoming important media contexts to examine the production and consumption of climate change media. Using the immediate release of the Working Group 1 memo of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) as a case study, this paper seeks to describe what type of actors were most active during the reports release; the substance of the most propagated tweets; and the media sources that attracted the most attention. The... more


23: Divides and interactions of communication, technology, and the nature-human relationship

Bridging iPhone Dreams and E-waste Nightmares
Good, Jennifer

Launched January 9, 2007, the iPhone – and each of its iterations – has become the "must have" mobile phone for consumers – many of whom already have a perfectly good mobile phone. In order to challenge the stories of electronics obsolescence ("My iPhone is no longer good enough") and consumption ("I must buy a new iPhone"), we need to understand why these stories appeal to us. We need to understand the story context and construction in order to successfully... more

North Florida Water Warriors: Rhetorical strategies of Suwannee Basin water activists
Clark, Joseph S.

Surrounded by water, full of lakes and rivers, riddled with submerged caverns and gushing springs, and recipient of abundant rainfall, Florida might seem an unlikely place for battles over water rights. However, recent events in the state’s feast/famine experiences with extended drought and excessive storm runoff have highlighted a growing problem with pollution and overuse of both freshwater and marine habitats that not only degrade wild habitat but suppress opportunities for tourism and... more

Oil, public relations and film/video: Divisions and collisions in environmental communication
Takach, Geo

A major oil strike in 1947 propelled the province of Alberta from an indebted, mostly agrarian byway into modernity as ‘Canada’s energy province.’ Today, Alberta boasts the third-largest known oil reserves and what has been called the world’s largest industrial project, the bituminous (tar/oil) sands. On the one hand, the project is a gargantuan moneymaker, expected to trigger hundreds of billions of dollars of investment, years of lucrative royalty and tax revenue for governments and... more

Positioning The Earth: Print News Discourse About GPS And The Human Relationship With Nature
Doherty, Richard

Instead of relying on senses and skill, to navigate, many consumers choose the Global Positioning System (GPS), relying on computer technologies and satellites positioned above the earth. News media build talk and representation, or discourse surrounding GPS. Moving with ease obscures nature. But how do the media depict nature-human power relationships in GPS. Publicly available in 1983, consumer GPS was operational in the mid-1990s, but not fully accurate. Live CNN coverage of the Persian... more

Social Media Networks and Environmental Activism: Rhizomatic Resistance in Qidong, China
Brunner, Elizabeth; DeLuca, Kevin Michael

In July of 2012 the people of Qidong, China gathered by the thousands to protest the construction of a wastewater pipeline. This event is important for several reasons. First, by tracing the protest as it unfolded, we can better map how humans, social media, and affect combined to create a surge of force capable of overwhelming local governments. Second, this case study demonstrates the need for different approaches to social change that can accommodate decentralized rhizomatic resistances.... more


24: Entertainment: Celebrity and Comedy/Parody in Environmental Communication

Gonzo Comedy and Environmental Literacy: The Performance of Crisis Through Spectacle on The Daily Show
Phillips, Aaron T.

Communication scholarship has long considered comic television a crucial medium for political communication (Baym, 2005; 2007). In furthering this discussion, recent research in environmental communication has considered the role of so-called “fake news” comedy television programs in shaping public environmental literacy. Such studies have added to our knowledge of how comic mass media frame environmental issues (Feldman, 2013) and how satirical television programs like The Daily Show... more

Telling better stories: Exploring the rational world paradigm and the narrative world paradigm on the topic of climate change
Derry, Jason

This essay uses a Fisherian frame analysis to examine two of the most popular underlying paradigms in climate change discourse (the rational world paradigm and the narrative paradigm) and examines how those within each paradigm often talk past each other in popular culture. A central question asked is: if climate change denial and skepticism is rooted in the privileging of personal experience and meaning over the proclamations of scientific experts, how can scientific experts better relay... more

The use of parody in environmental texts
Lindskov, Kelsey

This paper serves to demonstrate the use of parody in environmental texts. A parody mimics the serious aspect of a source by making fun of, attacking, and exaggerating the source it is mimicking. Parody plays an immense role in mass media. While the intentional goal of parody is for humor and entertainment, it can be a factor in determining views on major public issues. Parodies of controversial issues in the news media have the potential to shape our perceptions and the decisions we make... more


25: Hydrofracking Encyclopedia

Hydrofracking Encyclopedia
Bodkin, Alison Fisher; Collins, Christopher

This performance is composed of a series of short pieces that approach hydrofracking from multiple perspectives and through various compositional strategies. We use performance as both a method of inquiry and an object of study. First, we produced the script through a variety of methodological approaches such as ethnography, autoethnography, narrative and critical arts-based inquiry. In this process, the script braids and weaves together various forms of citationality through genre... more


26: Governance of environmental issues: Questioning regulation and power

Dividing and Uniting through Naming: The Case of North Carolina’s Sea-Level-Rise Policy
Opt, Susan; Low, Rusty

This study examines from a naming perspective how opponents of the proposed North Carolina sea level rise policy categorized the policy supporters symbolically as “villians” to promote “division” between the public and the policy supporters. At the same time, the opponents’ discourse emphasized their apparent “heroic” characteristics to hinder policy adoption and encourage the public to unify with their position. Findings suggest that SLR policy supporters and climate change scientists need... more

Making shared value and ‘doing good’ in oil space through communicative networks
Tam, Chui-Ling; Draper, Dianne

Alberta is recognized as the epicenter of oilsands exploration in the world, and the significance of Alberta oil to the Canadian economy is impossible to ignore. At the same time, Alberta and Canada have been criticized as the home of ‘tarsands’ and ‘dirty oil’. The discourse of dirty oil is felt especially strongly in Calgary, the oil business headquarters of Canada. This oil image has become so entrenched that it has subsumed other images of Calgary, and indeed may potentially detract from... more

Risk Communication after Nuclear Accidents: Learning from the Chernobyl Case
Belyakov, Alexander

By the 30th anniversary of Chernobyl disaster, there are still many undiscovered issues awaiting attention of researchers. Chernobyl consequences remain on the political and media agenda. However, agenda-setting and framing of Chernobyl issues have been changing. Some reasons behind these changes include: a serious accident during the tsunami at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant; a tight connection with the security issues after September 11 and in the recent military conflict in Ukraine.... more

US Supreme Court: Examining its constitutive rhetoric to bridge the divide between scholarship and practice
Tschida, David; Doege, Sarah

This essay examines three US Supreme Court opinions (Massachusetts et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency et al. (2007); Environmental Protection Agency et al. v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P., et al. (2014); and Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency et al. (2014)) through a lens of constitutive rhetoric. Focus on a nation’s highest court (e.g., US Supreme Court) draws attention to one of the most significant stages upon which environmental debates occur and... more


27: Non-nation state actors and Climate Change


Environmental communicators who deal with climate change both need and seek strategies to communicate a tragic reality and overcome climate denial. Yet, so far, the original strategy for communicating a tragic reality to overcome denial is nowhere to be found in environmental communications or in the larger body of environmentalism and Sustainability--a stunning omission. That original strategy was “the tragic pattern” developed by Aristotle in his writings on Tragedy in his Poetics. Is... more

Scopes Redux: Cultural Values in the Emerging Synergy of Climate Change and Evolution Skepticisms
Rolfe-Redding, justin

This paper chronicles one case in a growing legislative movement across the United States to combine skepticism of evolution and climate change in public school curriculum. It takes an in-depth examination of the rhetoric, political strategy, and public opinion environment surrounding the debate and ultimate passage of the “Academic Freedom Act” in the state of Tennessee in April, 2012. Using a perspective informed by cultural theory and cultural cognition, this study investigated the... more

‘People do have the right to be climate change deniers, you know’: Scepticism, contrarianism and the challenge to freedom of speech in the Australian climate change debate
Gurney, Myra

In Australia since 2007, attempts to deal with anthropogenic climate change have become highly politicised, politically poisonous and discursively fractious. Central to the toxic politics has been a vocal media campaign from so-called ‘sceptics’, ‘denialists’ and ‘contrarians’ who have largely framed their opposition to carbon reduction policies around the scientific basis of climate change in general, and the political and economic implications, in particular. The paper uses the text... more


28: Representing green lifestyles/encouraging pro-environmental behaviours: opportunities and challenges

Bridging the Values Divide: Communicating and Activating Diverse Values to Stimulate Pro-Environmental Intentions
Bullock, Graham; Johnson, Chris; Southwell, Brian

Academic research and marketing practices point towards distinctly different strategies for increasing adoption of “environmentally-friendly” products. Scholars have consistently shown that consumers with strong biospheric and altruistic beliefs are the most likely to purchase these products, while marketers are increasingly appealing to consumers’ self-interest in their efforts to sell their “green” products. This paper explores this divide, and offers a potential explanation for it using... more

Framework for Evaluating Effectiveness of Environmental Education
Howitt, Camden

Education is a critical instrument in the toolkits many organizations use to take on a wide range of environmental challenges. To evaluate the success of current activities and inform the development of better future programs, it is crucial to gain a detailed understanding of how effective environmental education programs are in achieving their goals. This Practice Reflection details the work of New Zealand-based charity group Sustainable Coastlines in developing and piloting a simple,... more

Mapping Environmental Lifestyle Reportage in British Newspapers
Craig, Geoffrey

This presentation will examine where, and to what extent, everyday practices and issues of lifestyle are incorporated into environmental reportage. The emergence of sustainable lifestyles has historically received little journalistic attention and environmental or ‘green’ lifestyle journalism has a low status in the journalistic hierarchy. Increasingly however, attention has been focused on the lifestyle changes that will have to be made in response to climate change, and this study examines... more

Puzzles and Dilemmas in Learning Across Diverse Communication Contexts
Silka, Linda

For over two decades, I have had the good fortune as a social and community psychologist to be involved in highly diverse environmental communication interventions. These included work with refugee and immigrant communities (e.g., from Africa, Southeast Asia, Central America, and South America), interventions in highly contaminated urban mill towns and efforts in diverse rural settings throughout the state of Maine. Carried out under the auspices of programs such as the NIH-funded... more


Session E


29: Environmental Communication, Social Media, and Electronic Repositories: Digital Media as Bridge-Building Tools

Shades of Denialism
Cagle, Lauren E.; Herndl, Carl

Journalists and scholars have been writing about the phenomenon of climate denialism since the late 1990s. These exposés of climate denialism focus on how controversy has been manufactured by the oil, gas and coal industries and the think tanks and policy institutes they underwrite. In exposing these tactics, critics tend to portray climate deniers as a homogeneous group of ideologues, scoundrels and dupes. We argue that climate denialism or climate skepticism is a more nuanced cultural... more

Social Media Feeds and Environmental Commonplaces
Tillery, Denise

This paper will investigate how social media feeds make use of environmental commonplaces in ways that allow organizations to build complex arguments through small pieces of text and visuals. In rhetorical theory, a commonplace is a statement or shared idea held in common by all members of a community. Commonplaces have been described as “recurrent lines of argument within particular exigencies” (Ross 2013, 4), or “statements that circulate within ideologies” (Crowley and Hawhee 2009, 118).... more


30: Climate Change and Extractive Industries: Bridging Research Traditions in an Age of Networked Public Participation

Climate Change Advocacy Online: Theories of Change, Target Audiences, and Online Strategy
Hestres, Luis E.

Widespread adoption of the Internet has transformed how most U.S. political advocacy organizations operate, but perhaps more important has been the formation of new types of advocacy organizations. These ‘Internet-mediated advocacy organizations’ tend to have smaller, geographically dispersed and networked staffs, behave as hybrids of traditional political organizations, and emphasize the use of online tools for offline action. The climate change debate has spurred formation of many such... more

Counteracting the Politicization of Science
Bolsen, Toby; Druckman, James N.

Few trends in science have generated as much discussion as its politicization. This occurs when an actor emphasizes the inherent uncertainty of science by casting doubt on the existence of scientific consensus. In this paper, we offer a framework that generates predictions about when communications can be used to counteract politicization efforts aimed at novel energy technologies. We then present evidence from nationally representative survey experiments to demonstrate how warnings to... more

Discourse over a Contested Technology on Twitter: A Case Study of Hydraulic Fracturing
Hopke, Jill

High-volume hydraulic fracturing, a drilling simulation technique commonly referred to as “fracking,” is a contested technology. In this paper, I explore networked discourse over hydraulic fracturing and the shale industry on the social media platform Twitter during a period of heightened public contention regarding the application of the technology. I study the relative prominence of negative messaging about shale development in relation to pro-shale messaging on Twitter across five... more

Framing the mine: Globalizing the local in online discourse
Turville-Heitz, Meg

Major resource extraction projects often lend themselves to strong local opposition in impact areas, while non-locals may at first laud the positive economic benefits to the region despite an environmental sacrifice zone. The corporate press package will promote economic drivers and assert the company’s intent to meet the state’s tough environmental laws. The press package and the local leaders advocating the project drive traditional media coverage as sponsors, while local risk-based... more

Holy Frack, It’s Climate Change: Comparing Talk About Climate Change and Fracking on Twitter in the Context of an Extreme Weather Event
Huntington, Heidi E.; Anderson, Ashley A.

In September 2013, communities along the Colorado Front Range were flooded in a disaster that affected 17 counties (Smith & Hennen, 2013). At least one mountain community was cut off by floodwaters and road damage. As an extreme weather event, the 2013 Colorado floods received a great deal of attention from news media and individuals alike. The severity and specific impacts of the flood also served as the catalyst for public discussions about related environmental issues, including... more

How changes to communication infrastructure and communication practice could improve outcomes from controversial energy development
Stenhouse, Neil

The controversy over hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, highlights an important divide that communication scholars may help to bridge. Many people living in areas where fracking takes place, and several environmental advocacy organizations, see fracking as a serious public health threat that should be banned. On the other hand, some energy experts see fracking as a feasible lower-carbon alternative to coal, and worthy of further development if properly regulated. Similar divisions are... more


32: Assessing climate communication: new directions and possibilities for engagement

Beyond borders: Studying climate change at the transnational level
Evans, Suzannah

Climate change is an emblematic late-modern problem that cannot easily be solved within the purview of individual nation-states. And yet both scholars and journalists, key figures in creating and recording discourse on climate change, have tended to fall into the trap of methodological nationalism even when writing on such a global problem. This paper suggests that the concept of the transnational public sphere may be useful for both journalists and scholars in tackling the problem of... more

Bridging the Divide between Positive and Negative: The Effectiveness of Hope and Fear Appeals in Climate Change Communication
Chadwick, Amy E.

The most effective type of emotional appeal for climate change communication is contested. Negative emotional appeals dominate, but have shown mixed effectiveness. Positive emotional appeals are less frequently used, but show promising effectiveness. As a step toward bridging the divide between scholars advocating for positive and negative appeals in climate change communication, this study compared the effectiveness of hope and fear appeals. 650 undergraduate students participated in a... more

Mapping Climate Communication
Boehnert, Joanna

The Mapping Climate Communication project offers an overview of how climate change is communicated in the public realm by visualizing actors, events, strategies, media coverage and discourses influencing public opinion. Two large-scale maps and one Poster Summary Report were published on-line October 2014. The project uses two visualization methods: a timeline and a network visualization. The Climate Timeline (CT) visualizes the historical processes and events that have lead to the growth of... more

Need for a wind of change? Public acceptance factors of offshore wind and their use by communicators and the media.
Schmidt, Adriane

This study offers insights into the communication process and the public perception of offshore wind power. Thorough investigations of communication material of relevant stakeholders (n=1.041 documents) and German news media (n=216 articles in 2013) provide commonly (=dominant frames) and rarely used (=reframes) supporting and opposing offshore wind arguments. Furthermore, a representative telephone survey (n=1.000) was conducted in Germany to gather relevant determinants of offshore wind... more


34: Waste matters: Making the invisible visible

Across the Regulatory Divide: Trust, Temporality, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s “Waste Confidence” Principle
Kinsella, William J.

This paper examines a recent controversy in which questions of temporality, trust, confidence, and communication are closely entangled. In 2012 a U.S. federal court invalidated a long-established legal principle known as “waste confidence,” which addressed the storage and disposal of irradiated nuclear fuel produced in reactor operations. To address the court’s requirements, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission conducted a two-year public engagement process informing an environmental impact... more

Bridging what we’re told and what we need to know: The symbolic annihilation of iPhone’s environmental footprint
Good, Jennifer

In this paper I make a case for the iPhone as the icon of both the digital age and the electronic-waste era in which we live. I then explore the frequency of stories about the iPhone in newspapers, broadcast news transcripts and Google searches. I similarly analyse these media for stories about electronic waste. Symbolic annihilation is used to explore the implications for stories that laud, celebrate, even make “divine” (Campbell & La Pastina, 2010), the iPhone – and the implications... more

Gas Flaring in the Niger Delta Region and its Reportage by Select Nigerian Newspapers and Magazines : A Normative Appraisal
Okon, Godwin

This study sought to ascertain the extent to which Nigerian newspapers and magazines have called attention to the dangers associated with gas flaring in the Niger Delta region with a view to stemming its veracity. The research questions predominantly bordered on finding out the depth, nature and prominence accorded the issue of gas flaring and its dangers by the newspapers and magazines studied. In other words, to what extent have the newspapers and magazines studied accorded prominence,... more


35: NGO campaigning

Animal Rights Food Advocacy: Building Bridges Between Species and Causes
Freeman, Carrie P.

Through a unique frame analysis of animal advocacy food campaign materials (ex: pamphlets, website content, videos, stickers and t-shirts) at five prominent U.S. animal rights organizations (Compassion Over Killing, Farm Animal Rights Movement, Farm Sanctuary, PETA, and Vegan Outreach), I answer questions, such as: How is the animal rights movement defining core problems and solutions regarding animal farming and fishing? Do their frames appeal more to human self-interest, environmentalism,... more

Between departments: the uses of corporate video in online environmental communication
Hughes, Helen

This paper will present work in progress on the ways in which organizations use short documentary forms for their environmental communication activities, moving on from ideas put forward in Green Documentary (Hughes, 2014). In the context of debates about hydraulic fracturing, online video has been used for advocacy, putting forward arguments that represent different points of view and that include explicit refutations of other online videos. This paper, however, looks at a different context... more

Bridging the Political-Environmental Divide by Building a Voice, Gaining an Audience, and Establishing Position
Vernon, Laura

This paper presents a case study out of rural northern Utah that demonstrates how one community-based environmental group—the Bridgerland Audubon Society (BAS)—was able to accomplish three fundamental advocacy goals. The goals are as follows: (1) build a rhetorically significant voice internally with its members and externally with the community at large, (2) gain access to and achieve legitimacy with key government officials and policymakers in Utah’s urban center, and (3) position its... more

The Time and Place for Courage: The Nature Conservancy’s “Liquid Courage” Web site and the Distance and Temporal Aspects of the Human-Nature Relationship
DeLaurier, Mark

This paper uses a critical-rhetoric approach to show how the Web site for The Nature Conservancy’s “Liquid Courage” campaign demonstrates that the element of physical distance can be added to Callister’s (2014) land community participation (LCP) model to further expand the number of voices contributing to discourse about environmental issues. Findings from the analysis show that the “Liquid Courage” Web site constructs participation by interacting with visitors and giving them opportunities... more

Transitioning from the Sublime: Examining the role of adventure narrative in modernizing environmental rhetoric
Stack, Garrett

This paper performs a longitudinal analysis of the narrative strategies used by the Sierra Club in their self-produced newsletter the Sierra Club Bulletin in order to answer the question, how did the club transition from a rhetoric of the sublime to a more practical rhetoric of conservation and political engagement? To do so, this paper closely examines the Sierra Club Bulletin, specifically the period from its founding through the late 1920’s to demonstrate how the club integrated... more


36: Bodies at Risk: Exploring Environmental Justice

Eco-Migrants: The Rhetoric of Invasion Ecology and the Management of the New "Global" Commons
Vogelaar, A. E. ; Hale, B. W.

The Commons have proven a rich symbolic reservoir in the conceptualization of, and associated angst over, shared resources—natural, cultural, political and technological—in global times. Indeed, the contemporary hyper-pace of globalization in many parts of the world has resulted in a reactionary “clinging” to common spaces and forms—social, political, natural—in an effort to grapple with the perceived and real implications of global transformations. One place we see this occurring is in the... more

Human Rights, Environmental Wrongs: Can Global Civil Society Bridge Justice and Ecology?
Ganesh, Shiv; Stephens, Murdoch

The term “global civil society” has floated through academic discourse for at least a quarter of a century now (for an early treatment of the concept ref. Lipschutz, 1992). During the 1990s in particular, the term became a major discursive referenct in debates about globalization, and its institutionalisation was marked with the production of the first Global Civil Society Yearbook in 2001 (Anheier, Glasius & Kaldor, 2001), a project that continues to the present day. Scholars who have... more

Lead Toxicity and Criminality: Addressing Pervasive Imaginations of Containment, Contamination, and Disposable Populations
Badger, Lindsey

As an intervention in the field of environmental communication, this paper exposes the ways that environmental racism is not only manifest in the over-toxification of certain communities, but also in the perpetuation of environmental discourses that come to participate in and extend racist and classist agendas. Following Pezzullo (2013, p. 302), I hope to expand the focus of the EJM to include the way sustained imaginations about “appropriate pollution” of certain bodies inform how people of... more

The Actions and Consequences of Corporate Subjectivity: Rio Tinto and the Metabolic Rift
Paliewicz, Nicholas; DeLuca, Kevin; Clark, Brett

Rio Tinto Kennecott’s Bingham Canyon Mine in Salt Lake City, Utah, is the largest open pit copper mine in the world. It serves as a “necessary” hub for global flows of energy, carbon, and capital for the transnational network of late consumer capitalism. It results in extensive environmental degradation, producing rifts in metabolic networks that have sustained life within the Great Basin for billions of years. Salt Lake City is a sacrifice zone for corporate interests in the energy... more

The Actions and Consequences of Corporate Subjectivity: Rio Tinto and the Metabolic Rift
Paliewicz, Nicholas ; DeLuca, Kevin; Clark, Brett

Rio Tinto Kennecott’s Bingham Canyon Mine in Salt Lake City, Utah, is the largest open pit copper mine in the world. It serves as a “necessary” hub for global flows of energy, carbon, and capital for the transnational network of late consumer capitalism. It results in extensive environmental degradation, producing rifts in metabolic networks that have sustained life within the Great Basin for billions of years. Salt Lake City is a sacrifice zone for corporate interests in the energy... more


Session F


37: Environmental activism and campaigning

An 'unremarkable' place: Contesting value and constructing place in the James Price Point no-gas campaign
Myers, Alanna

This paper uses the controversy over the proposed construction of a gas plant at James Price Point in Australia’s remote north-west Kimberley region as a case study to explore questions about how distant audiences are engaged in debates about the future of far-away places. When Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett declared in 2009 that James Price Point was an ‘unremarkable beach’, he provoked the ire of many Broome locals, Aboriginal traditional owners and environmentalists who did not... more

Communications, connections and networks in the ‘new’ environmental movement against fossil fuel mining in NSW
McIntosh Isabel

In 2010 more than twenty-five companies were ready to explore for coal seam gas in Australia’s most populated state of New South Wales. Eighty-seven licences covered more than a third of the state’s 850,000 square kilometres. In 2015 only three mining companies still have proposed projects and these too faced extreme community opposition. Coal seam gas is a fossil fuel but in the campaign against its establishment in NSW climate change is never mentioned. Instead a messaging framework... more

Environment and Communication: New Media and the Changing Structures of Education and Activism in Youth in Urban Bangladesh
Hasan, Fadia

This chapter explores the relationship between new media technologies and environmental social movements. It specifically looks at the role and impact of social media in developing participatory networks that are complementary to on-ground academic-activist movements. I explore the potentials of new media and how the youth navigate this unlikely space for the realization, sustenance and application of Freire’s conscientização to create new discourses and bring about lasting environmental... more

From the Front Lines to the Front Page: Environmental Advocacy, Alternative Media and Climate Politics
Gunster, Shane; Hackett, Robert A.

In this paper we report upon the results of a dozen interviews with B.C. alternative media journalists, editors and publishers, and leading B.C. environmental activists and advocates which explored their perspective on the role that different types of news, and other media, can and should play in shaping public engagement with climate change. We discuss two different approaches to engagement which emerged from our interviews: solutions-focused journalism directed at ‘influentials’, and... more


38: Bridging Environmental Case Studies: Ethnographic Explorations of Communication and Culture

Bridging Environmental Case Studies: Ethnographic Explorations of Communication and Culture
Morgan, Eric; Carbaugh, Donal; Milburn, Trudy; Milstein, Trudy; Cerulli, Tovar; Sabet, Mayar; Leighter, Jay; van Over, Brion; Sprain, Leah

This discussion panel brings together scholars working within the tradition of the ethnography of communication in environmental communication contexts. The purpose of the panel is to explore existing connections among scholars and thematic areas, as well as to build bridges among scholars and practitioners. Over the last two decades, researchers working within the broader tradition of the ethnography of communication have turned their attention to environmental concerns. This program of... more


39: Energy Panel Part I: Hydraulic Fracturing Under Fire

Frackademia, Divestment, and the Limits of Academic Freedom
Schneider, Jen

“Frackademia” is a term coined by liberal bloggers used to describe the flow of money and influence from oil and gas companies to universities. As such, frackademia is a useful construct that builds on scholarship examining ways in which the appearance of scientific “doubt” is manufactured through the use of academic authority and status. But the concept is also a fruitful one for analyzing the ways in which the oil and gas industry can exert influence on university campuses, and in... more


40: Engaged ethics and Earth Charter curriculum in higher education: Creating spaces for the practice of sustainability values

Engaged ethics and Earth Charter curriculum in higher education: Creating spaces for the practice of sustainability values
Hollingshead, Brandon P.; Roca, Maria F. Loffredo

Workshop participants will consider a variety of ways the Earth Charter can be used in higher education curriculum for sustainability. The Earth Charter is an ethical vision for sustainability based on respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, social and economic justice, and a culture of peace. It was created through a decade-long open, democratic, and participatory consultation process that involved contributions from across generations, geography, and gender.... more


41: Creative collaborations: Climate, Connectivity and Place

Rivers as divides and connection places
Fortes, Hugo

This paper proposes a reflection on my artistic praxis concerning rivers and their environment. My last piece, “Chattahoochee”, was created together with Síssi Fonseca during an artist residency at the Columbus State University, in Georgia, USA. During one month we worked together with the students from the Columbus State University, gathering their impressions, stories and feelings about the Chattahoochee river. The Chattahoochee River has a long history of wars, including the American... more


42: Climate Adaptation

Climate Change Adaptation Planning: An Analysis of Process and Practice in Two Regional Case Studies
Thompson, Jessica; Lemieux, Christopher; Davis, Shawn

For this project we designed, facilitated and evaluated two multi-agency climate change adaptation planning workshops in two locations, northern Colorado (n = 65) and southwestern South Dakota (n = 94). Our workshop design process included (1) in-depth interviews with regional leadership, (2) pre-workshop surveys and participant focus groups, (3) participatory activities integrating issue and information sharing, audience polling and social and “informal networking” time, and (4) post-... more

Climate Extension Efforts to Promote Climate Change Adaptation in South Texas
Behl, Mona

Widespread poverty, weak infrastructure, low public awareness, and consequential limited adaptation and coping capabilities make South Texas one of the most vulnerable regions in the United States to the impacts of climate variability and change. The need is to engage all stakeholders to facilitate awareness and education, support dialogue, and promote sustainable development by reducing the vulnerability associated with climate risks. In partnership with NSF’s Research Coordination Network... more

Meta-synthesis of Information on Coastal Climate Adaptation Activity in the Eastern U.S.: Implementation Attributes within Different Geographic Regions
Giannoulis, Christos; Lindeman Kenyon; Beard Bryce

The interface between climate communications and climate science is increasingly recognized as one of the more important applied research realms in environmental communication. Challenges remain in the identification and use of consistent factors to characterize and evaluate climate adaptation programs in local communities. This research examines candidate indicators for assessing the extent and attributes of implementation of climate change adaptation using the literature from several... more

Who’s Knowledge Counts in Transdisciplinary Research? Applying Reflective Adaptive Processes for Evaluating Stakeholder Engagement
Arren Mendezona Allegretti; Jessica Thompson; Melinda Laituri

This paper examines how Reflective Adaptive Processes (RAP) can serve as a tool for transdisciplinary teams to effectively communicate research needs and engage stakeholders. RAP is a change process wherein participants collectively question, reflect and openly address issues and challenges facing interdisciplinary research and teamwork. We examine RAP through theoretical frameworks of reflective inquiry, systems thinking, social and transformative learning, and participative reflection. We... more


43: Breaking Down the Divide: Latourian Critiques of the Politics of Nature

Credentialing Material Expertise: Applying Object-Oriented Rhetoric in Marine Policy
Dixon, Zachary

This paper utilizes the work of Bruno Latour develop an ontology for the formation of non-credentialed expertise. In the field of Marine Policy studies there is a wide body of scholarship advocating the importance of including stakeholder knowledge in the formation of public fishery policies. Despite the many calls for increased stakeholder involvement in fisheries and marine policy development, there remains a relative lack of scholarship that explores how the stakeholder expertise develops... more

Vernacular Eco-Logic v. The Technosocial Construction of Ecology: When the "Best Available Science" is Citizen Science
Phillips, Aaron T.

In 1995, gray wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho under provisions of the 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA). The decision was met with considerable opposition from a variety of stakeholders, from ranchers and hunters to wolf advocates concerned about the scientific and legal rationale for reintroduction and the implications it carried for the long-term viability of the gray wolf population in the Rocky Mountain region. Under section 10(j) of the ESA,... more


44: Framing Climate and Environment

Communicating that FIMBY feeling: Emphasizing time and space in environmental messages
Gómez, Luis Felipe

An issue that has plagued environmental conservation efforts is that people are distant in both time and space to the climate change, overfishing, and deforestation consequences of human actions. Relating the acronym FIMBY (F@# It’s in My Backyard) with research on long-term orientation, this paper explores the need to create conservation awareness messages that highlight immediacy and proximity.

Essaying place: Recovering inclusive approaches to place-making
Massey-Warren, Sarah

Place-making, the giving of social meaning to a given environment or place (Pierce, Martin, & Murphy 2010), can result in viable communities integrated into healthy environments, or land grabs by the powerful on blistered terrain. The bridge between “natural” and “built” depends on how we construct and communicate concepts of built and natural environments within communities to stakeholders. Concepts of “place,” “environment,” and “sustainability” are constructed as much in the human... more

Framing and ICMs in climate communication: the communication-linguistics divide
Harrison, Karey

This paper will examine why Metaphors We Live By sparked some interest in Lakoff’s ideas on metaphor and framing, but his papers on “environmental framing” seem to have largely terminated any interest in or application of their theoretical foundations in cognitive linguistics. This paper revisits discussions of framing of climate change communication, comparing existing communications approaches to framing of environmental communication with a preliminary examination of the insights that... more

Metaphor in communicating wildfire risk
Matlock, Teenie; Gann, Timothy; Bergmann, Till; Coe, Chelsea

Metaphor is a useful tool for conveying abstract information, including information laden with uncertainty. It can shape people’s reasoning about events in the world, including what they should and should not do. Metaphor immediately grounds what is unknown and abstract in terms of what is known and concrete (Gibbs, 1994; Lakoff & Johnson, 1980). The aim of this work is examine metaphors used to describe wildfires, especially the metaphor WILDFIRE IS MONSTER (e.g., “Monster wildfire... more

Telling the story of fracking in Ohio: News coverage in the Columbus Dispatch and the Cleveland Plain Dealer
Cunningham, Sheryl

This paper is a narrative analysis of news coverage about fracking in two Ohio newspapers, Cleveland’s Plain Dealer and The Columbus Dispatch. The main goal of the paper is to provide an answer to the research question: what are the stories of fracking that are being told in Ohio news coverage? Three narrative themes (Politics, Public Health and Pollution, and Jobs) are identified and the smaller narrative threads within these themes are identified and discussed.


Session G


45: Science and Environment Communication: Remapping the field

Environmental Communicators as Transdisciplinary "Knowledge Brokers"
Rademaekers, Justin King

Environmental sciences are by their nature transdisciplinary modes of thought which operate along a continuum with studies of human behavior at one end, and studies of non-human (ecological) behavior at the other, both of which require input from many academic disciplines to address environmental problems (De Groot 1992, p. 60). An effective process of transdisciplinary knowledge-making is vital to affect real change in environmental issues, and the establishment of effective... more

Internationalization and Interdisciplinarity: Mapping the Field of Environmental Communication. A Content Analysis of Environment
Castro-Sotomayor, José; Pérez-Marín, Monica

Environmental Communication (EC) is a young discipline or meta-field that emerged in the US in the early 80s from the tradition of rhetorical theory. Environmental Communication Journal (ECJ) is considered the main publication that has helped consolidate EC as a distinctive field. This study looks at 188 articles published in ECJ from 2007 to 2014 to assess the degree of internationalization and interdisciplinarity of the field of EC. Descriptive statistics showed that EC is a US-centered... more

The Question Concerning New Media in Environmental Communication
Bendor, Roy

This paper discusses the scholarly treatment of new, interactive media for environmental communication. Noting that environmental communication tends to approach new media primarily based on the latter’s informational, discursive and organizational uses, it is argued that since this approach neglects both the origins of new media in social processes of design, and the kind of experiences they evoke, it risks reducing new media to their functionality. In response, the paper suggests that... more


46: Environmental advocacy and public participation

Administration Style Matters: How the Results to an Ecosystem Services Survey Varied By Mode
Thompson, Jessica; Kaiser, Alina

This paper compares three survey administration styles (telephone, online and in-person) and results from an environmental communication survey regarding awareness, knowledge and terminology preferences for information about ecosystem services. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) first administered the survey as a national telephone poll in 2010 and again in 2012 (Metz & Weigel, 2013). In June 2013, we replicated the TNC survey and distributed it online to an e-mail list of stakeholders for a... more

Public Participation in Environmental Decision-Making: An Omani Experience of a Displaced Community
Alhinai, Maryam

I argue that absence of public participation in environmental decision-making can jeopardize the quality of human life. Public participation is vital for effective environmental policy-making (Eden, 1996). Successful implementation of public participation necessitates considering ways in which people relate to their environments – “ways in which people understand their environments through culture, morality and social interaction” (Eden, 1996, p. 183). My goal is to develop a framework as... more


47: Studying Representations of climate and environment

Global Coverage of IPCC AR5 reports
Eide, Elisabeth; Naper, Anja Aaheim

IPCC, RISK AND PEOPLE-ORIENTED JOURNALISM Global media coverage of the IPCC AR5 reports Elisabeth Eide and Anja Naper Abstract The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) is a unique experiment in gathering diverse scientific knowledge into a synthesis that is directly aimed at informing local policy decisions and global governance of a historically unique and complex problem. While the main target audience of IPCC is the national and global policy makers, the public... more

IPCC's Climate Communication
Almlund, Pernille

The work of IPCC is an important work and contribution to the global discussion and global challenge of climate change. But this work is primarily based on computer modelling, natural science, economic science and as a new perspective a stronger focus on the risk perspective than in earlier IPCC reports. This paper is based on a wonder of why the IPCC’s analysis and reports are not, to a higher degree, based on social science and human science. Are these scientific perspectives with many... more


48: Visual Communication of the Environment in Theory and Practice: Nurturing Relational Perception (workshop)

Visual Communication of the Environment in Theory and Practice: Nurturing Relational Perception (workshop)
Boehnert, Joanna

Image-makers have the unique ability to make invisible ecological processes and relationships visible, tangible and accessible. Within the context of an increasingly visual culture, images have potential to nurture the development of new perceptual capabilities and encourage relational perception. Graphic design is well suited to facilitate environmental learning since it can draw on a wide variety of visual strategies to display specific geographic spaces, ecological processes, abstract... more


49: Bridging Toxic Links: Communicating the Intersection of Climate and Reproductive (In)justice

Contaminated Environments and Toxic Bodies: The Breastfeeding Crisis in China
Brunner, Elizabeth

As pollution increases, the permeability of the boundaries between bodies and contaminants is becoming more apparent. The toxic chemicals people have been ingesting and breathing for years are rearing their heads. Bodies are becoming toxic. The growing awareness of the relationship between bodies and the environment has new mothers in China concerned about their own toxicity, who fear using their own bodies to nourish their children. Today, 70% of mothers are choosing processed infant... more

Filipino Global Solidarity for Climate and Reproductive Justice
Pezzullo, Phaedra C.

New title: "Miscarriage, Regeneration, and the Trope of the Human in the Late Age of Fossil Fuels." Since the industrial revolution, the world has been shaped profoundly by the fossil fuel industry. Yet, the era dominated by coal, oil, and gas is ending, one way or another. To consider what this transformation might entail for rhetorical studies, this paper focuses on two defining public discourses of our times: (1) the posthuman, a cultural-philosophical term naming the... more

Spreading Toxicity: Illegal Coal Ash Disposal Practices in the Caribbean
de Onis, Kathleen

This case study examines discourse in response to the illegal disposal practices of a carbonera/coal plant in Guayama, Puerto Rico. The facility is owned and operated by AES Corporation, a U.S.-based fossil fuel company. Shortly after the plant’s construction in 2003, AES began dumping thousands of tons of coal ash waste on a beach in the Dominican Republic. The illegal dumping incidents are the subject of an ongoing class action suit filed by several Dominican women against AES. For six... more


50: Managing Wildlife and Conservation Controversies through Communication

Bridging Divides through Spaces of Change: Action Research for Cultivating the Commons in Human-inhabited Protected Areas in Nicaragua and Mozambique
Sriskandarajah, Nadarajah; Givá, Nícia; Hansen, Hans Peter

Institutionally driven governance mechanisms in many protected areas have contributed to large divides being maintained between conservation goals and livelihood claims of park inhabitants. Park authorities struggle with lack of legitimacy for their traditional expert solutions while park inhabitants, often low income communities with inherently weak positions, live with restrictive rules, unmet promises, lack of trust, uncertainty and fear of eviction. How to reconcile park management goals... more

Meta-communication, reciprocation and co-constructed (dis)trust in attempts of deliberatively bridging divides in natural resource management
Hallgren, Lars; Bergea, Hanna

Within natural resource management hopes are sometimes raised that interest divides and coordination dilemmas will be successfully dealt with through deliberative meetings between actors with different stakes, sometimes talked about in terms of the deliberative turn. So is the case within reindeer herding and predator management. In this case actors expect that interest divides could be bridged through conversations, in which opportunities for coordinating the competing interests could be... more

Metaphors and Marginalization in the Kansas Lesser Prairie Chicken Controversy
McKay Stangler

In this essay I examine the controversy surrounding the designation of the Lesser Prairie Chicken as a threatened species, and the ensuing outrage in the business and energy sectors. I focus on the metaphors we use to construct our social debates about animals and people, and argue that we can only truly work toward preservation of species when we can use honest terminologies and metaphors when discussing them.

Timing exclusion and communicating time in an Indonesian marine park
Tam, Chui-Ling

Marine protected areas are promoted as a resource management tool for balancing ecological integrity with economic activity. However, MPAs frequently fail to achieve integrated, substantive outcomes. Participation failure is a common symptom of implementation failure. MPA experts often conclude that the remedy, in part, lies in better communication, with the implicit assumption that participation and communication are conjoined or synonymous. In this paper, the geography of communication in... more


51: Natural Resource Extraction & Resistances

Environment, Risk, and Sustainability: Intersections and Divergences in Activist Discourses about Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mining Development
Spoel, Philippa

Northern Ontario’s “Ring of Fire” is a massive projected chromite mining development in the mineral-rich James Bay Lowlands. Together with the Hudson Bay Lowlands, this area forms the largest carbon-storing peatland in the world and comprises a significant portion of the Far North’s boreal forest. The area is also the ancestral territory of Matawa First Nations who are concerned about both the negative risks and the benefits that mining may bring to their communities. Rhetorically-speaking,... more

Examining Environmental Discourses on Energy Utilisation in Select Nigerian Newspapers
Batta, Herbert; Ashong, Clifford

This study examines the extent to which select Nigerian newspapers reflect the different environmental discourses pertaining to the use of clean or unclean energy sources. It undertakes a content analysis of newspaper articles in 156 weekly issues of published energy sections of three major newspapers in Nigeria: The Guardian, The Punch and The Nation for all of 2013 – the year Nigeria implemented the privatisation of its power (electricity) industry and gearing up for a similar initiative... more

Foiling the Opposition: Defamatory Identity Frames in Coal-Fired Power Plant Proponent Rhetoric
Thatcher, Valerie

Using Cloud’s concept of identity framing by foil as a critical framework, I analyze proponent discourses within a controversy over a proposed coal-fired power plant in a sparsely populated Texas community. Proponents attempted to create a positive identity for themselves by dialectically portraying plant opponents within derogatory identity frames by foil. Plant supporters most often disseminated these foils indirectly—privately through gossip or publicly through mediated venues such as... more

Mapping Groundwater Conflict: Using Digital Content Analysis to Identify Authoritative Voices within Environmental Communications
Rheams, David

This presentation outlines a technique to map groundwater conflict in Texas during the latest drought. The method relies on a combination of software that included web-scraping software, a simple MySQL database, and a web application created for the purpose of this research. Once completed, the results of this technique are displayed in a database table that shows who was quoted, in what article, at what time. Whereas a typical citation map examines a body of text for names known in advance... more


52: News Reporting on Climate and Environment: Norms, Practices of Journalism (and their Effects)

“To sustain, or not to sustain…?” An empirical analysis of the usage of “sustainability” in German newspapers
Fischer, Daniel; Haucke, Franziska

The idea of sustainability, popularized by the United Nations more than twenty years ago, is today unanimously considered as a key challenge to humankind in the 21st century. In Germany, societal subsystems such as the education system (e.g. with an intense national implementation of the UN decade on education for sustainable development) have in the meantime produced a strategically coordinated response to the challenges imposed by the idea of sustainability. For the field of journalism,... more


Session H


54: Land Management

A Web Portal to Span the Public - Agency Divide: HD.gov 2.0, Communities of Practice, and Human Dimensions Research regarding Natural Resource Management
Adkins, Jeffrey; Cantrill, Jim; Clark, Fred; Schuster, Rudy; Sexton, Natalie; TenBrink, Marilyn

Federal government agencies, in collaboration with Northern Michigan University, launched HD.gov in 2007 as a state-of-the-art, metadata-based content management system accessing human dimensions research reports, databases, legal information, and analytic tools relevant to natural resources management. The website provides credible, reliable human dimensions portal that connects two distinct communities: those who develop social science information and tools, and the natural resource... more

Empowerment and Advocacy: Pedagogy and Public Media in Participatory Land Use Planning
Tarrant, Seaton

The University of Florida is located in north central Florida where development pressures and land use issues are hotly debated. Plum Creek Timber owns more than 6.8 million acres of timber producing land in the US, and is increasingly turning to capitalize on the most developable tracts of its timber. Plum Creek is spearheading a development initiative encapsulated within a stakeholder involvement process called “Envision Alachua,” which advertises economic development, environmental... more

Partnering for Communication Development: One National Park Service Approach to Localizing Climate Impacts
Walsh-Thomas, Jenell M.; Clark, Melissa A.

The National Park Service’s director has put out a call for action for parks to communicate about climate change impacts, mitigation, and adaptation. The climate change communication internship program, a partnership between the National Park Service National Capital Region (NCR) and the Center for Climate Change Communication, began in 2012 bringing together a team of highly interdisciplinary interns and mentors. Each summer the main objective is to support NCR parks in telling individual... more

Seeds of change: Planting gardens as biopolitical emancipation
Derry, Jason

In a combination of rhetorical theory and qualitative inquiry, this essay explores how wealth disparities in the access to nature have ontological implications for marginalized groups, and how these marginalized groups may enact willful articulations of meaning through the planting of community gardens. In tracing the rhetorical theory, I first examine the foundational quality of spatial experience through its manifestation in symbolic action. Second, I chart how the spaces are transformed... more


55: Energy Panel Part II: Releases and risk: The under-examined human and environmental costs of energy

Discourse of a Different Color: Reaffirming President Obama’s Green Economy after Deepwater Horizon
Syfert, Collin

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill contaminated thousands of square miles of ocean, crippled fishing and tourism economies, and claimed 11 human lives. When President Obama addressed the nation he acknowledged the lost lives, the unique beauty of the region, and criticized BPs cost-cutting decisions and safety protocols. However, in a moment when the nation’s attention was drawn to the deteriorating borders that separate the environment, the economy, and society from one another, Obama failed... more

Discussing Safety: Nuclear Scientists' Discourse of Leaks and Technical Risk
Cozen, Brian; O'Byrne, Megan; Endres, Danielle; Peterson, Tarla Rai

Nuclear power, like other energy technologies, comes with inherent risks. Decision makers assume some level of acceptable risk when they adopt policies to promote nuclear power, meaning that the risk of a cataclysmic radioactive disaster is seen to be low enough that it is outweighed by the benefits from generating nuclear power. Further, safety measures are instituted to maintain the acceptable level of risk. The inherent risks associated with nuclear power include accidents and leaks that... more

The Social, Political, and Metabolic Networks of Corporate Subjectivity: Rio Tinto and the Panguna Mine
Paliewicz, Nicholas

For the past 25 years, the deserted Panguna Copper and Gold Mine in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea (PNG) has been actively leaking toxic waste into rivers, green mantles, and bloodstreams. Because of our international reliance on mineral metals such as copper for global flows of communication, hinterland mines like Panguna become battlegrounds for environmental security. Operated by Rio Tinto Zinc (RTZ) from 1969-1988, this mine became an object of intense controversy that eventually... more

“Rail is cool again”: Hidden risks of the surge in oil-by-rail
Marafiote, Tracy

Since 2008, the transportation of crude oil by rail has increased dramatically, while the use of pipelines has leveled off. Up from 9,500 carloads in 2008, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported approximately 400,000 carloads of crude oil traveled by rail in 2013 (EIA, 2014). It seems that after decades during which pipelines ruled as the preferred mode for oil transport, as triumphantly announced by an energy analyst for the industry “rail is,” indeed, “cool again” (LaGesse,... more


56: Mediated messages on climate change

Bridging Local and Global – Exploring the Use of Social Media in Climate Change Reporting among Local News Outlets
Huang, Kanni; Poulson, Dave

In a democratic society, news media should deliberately cover diverse ideas and opinions from different people. However, scholars have found that local, environmental reporters favor citing government and industry sources over environmental activists and local residents. This dominance of official sources is observed in climate change news reporting. Today, social media has been adopted in newsrooms as a reporting tool. Some argue that the hierarchy of sources is replicated in the adoption... more

Communicating Climate Change Democratically Across the Great (Ideological) Divide
Pepermans, Yves; Maeseele, Pieter

Over the course of the past four decades, climate change has transformed from a purely scientific issue into what international leaders like Barack Obama and Ban Ki-Moon have claimed to be the biggest challenge of the 21th century. However, on its route through culture, politics and media, climate change has taken on various ideological meanings which are used to advance (conflicting) political projects. As a consequence, it confronts democracies with various new and old challenges. This... more

COPs and Climate: The practice of development journalism (DJ) in Bangladesh
Rhaman, Mofizur

Climate change and development relate to each other. On one hand, climate change is understood as the consequence of past development activities around the world particularly in the West in the last couple of centuries. On the other, changed climate poses challenges to the present and future development planning and implementation everywhere in the world, particularly in the small island states and developing countries such as Bangladesh. This paper seeks to answer whether Bangladeshi print... more

From skepticism to engagement: Making climate communication relevant to the American public
Feygina, Irina

Despite extensive evidence of climate change, the U.S. public continues to report dismissal and resistance to addressing the looming crisis. Research has shown that climate change skepticism has a psychological basis, and is linked to the motivational tendency to defend and justify the socioeconomic status quo in the face of the threat posed by environmental problems (Feygina, Jost, & Goldsmith, 2010). The need to protect and uphold established systems is driven by powerful and deeply... more

What are we “trading” in carbon trading? Ideological negotiation of climate discourses in Japanese newspaper editorials, 1997-2011.
Asayama, Shinichiro

Public debate of climate change has been colored by political ideology. Same as other controversial social issues, ideological standpoints – in a very simply dichotomy, whether liberal or conservative – matters on understanding climate change; and in some occasion ideological difference may cause a political divide. For example, the American views on climate change are ideologically polarized and the gap between political parties are widening (e.g. Dunlap and McCright 2008). Early studies of... more


57: Rethinking/Re-Narrating the Environment

An Exploration of Scuba Diving as Environmental Communication Experiences
Gómez, Luis Felipe; Todd, Anne Marie

Scuba diving as ecotourism is relevant because there are over one million active divers in the world, and potentially as many more who have taken some form of introductory course to scuba diving. We explore how the certification agencies introducing people to scuba diving include environmental discourses in their socialization and training of new divers. We aim to explore how these engagements communicate about the environment, both pragmatically, in raising awareness of environmental... more

Environmental Concern: A Comprehensive Review of Extant Measures
Cruz, Shannon; Manata, Brian

This paper presents two studies to examine the structural validity of five prominent environmental concern scales. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to assess first-order factor structures for each of the five scales, as well as the second-order factor structure evident across scales. Results suggested that none of the five scales initially exhibited acceptable fit to the data. However, the authors were ultimately able to attain a well-fitting factor structure for each of the scales.... more

Interpreting Heritage and Environmental Interpretation as Communicative Activity of Co-construction – Generating and Bridging Meta-discursive Divides
Bergea, Hanna; Hallgren, Lars

“Heritage and environmental interpretation” (HEI) is used in literature as an umbrella-concept for describing guided tours, exhibitions, self-instructed trails etc in national parks, heritage sites and museums. In the Nordic countries, HEI has been defined as “Transmitting knowledge about and sentiments for nature. /…/”. This definition reveals that communication is commonly made sense of as a cybernetic phenomenon, where communication is described as a transmission process, which risks... more


Session I


58: Deliberation and dialogue: Citizen participation in environmental conflict

Citizens speaking as experts: A grounded practical theory of expertise discourse in deliberative forums
Sprain, Leah; Reinig, Lydia

This study examines discursive strategies that lay participants utilized to situate their expertise during deliberative forums. In doing so, we seek to consider how expertise discourse contributes to and might undermine democratic deliberation. To make these connections, we draw on Grounded Practical Theory (GPT) and Communication as Design (CAD). Our analysis describes three forms of expertise discourse by participants within deliberative forums: institutional expertise, local expertise,... more

Looking back...thinking forward: Indigenous leadership, community engagement, dialogic space and integrated catchment management
Dodson, Giles

This paper analyses the processes community engagement and dialogue which are part of an ongoing collaborative stakeholder partnership in Northland, New Zealand. This project - the Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group – is a multi-stakeholder partnership, led by indigenous (Māori) groups. The project seeks to bridge several divides; adopting a large-scale ‘whole of ecosystem’ conceptual approach to understanding; addressing the environmental pressures on the Kaipara Harbour... more

Rhetoric, participation, and democracy: The positioning of public hearings as a mode of public participation under the NEPA
Stone, Kevin

Environmental Communication scholars have widely considered both aspirations for public participation in environmental decisionmaking and the constraints that hinder achieving those aspirations. Much of the contemporary scholarship, particularly in regard to participation in Federal natural resources policy in the United States, has focused on opportunities stemming from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the increasingly common participatory process based on collaboration and... more

The Great Rational/Emotional Divide at Contentious Public Meetings
Gesch-Karamanlidis, Eleni

Recent contributions to public meeting literature have acknowledged the centrality of emotion to citizen participation over contentious environmental issues; a dramatically different view from the rational ideals of communication often pursued by agency officials in these settings (Martin, 2007; Tracy & Durfy, 2007; Woods, Anderson, Guilbert, & Watkin, 2012). This literature highlights a divide between what is considered rational versus emotional communication at public meetings.... more


59: News media and journalistic norms: Communicating sustainability and environment

Environmental Journalism in China: Nationalism, Party Logic, and Market Logic
Chen, Sibo

Despite the growth of research attention to Chinese environmental communication in topics such as media representation, online activism and environmental journalism, the interrelations between media, environmental, and society in China and the Chinese media system’s structural dimension have been largely neglected in the research literature. Drawing upon previous research in political economy of communication, this essay begins to fill this gap by exploring key structural factors... more

Siachen conflict between India and Pakistan: How politics and national security trumps environmental concerns
Saleem, Awais

This paper looks at the conflict between India and Pakistan on Siachen glacier since April 1984. The killing of 138 people after an avalanche struck Siachen in April 2012 was the biggest tragedy in the history of this bilateral conflict. After such a major incident, the coverage of Indian and Pakistani newspapers still highlighted politics and national security issues instead of environmental concerns. This study analyses the coverage of this incident in three elite English language dailies... more

The Great Lakes Echo Story: Creating a Nonprofit Environmental News Service
Freedman, Eric; Poulson, David

This reflection looks at the operation and impact of a journalism school’s practice-based regional environmental standards and expectations by \reporting about environmental news in eight states and two provinces.

The Media Propaganda Model and Framing of Risks from the Deepwater Horizon Disaster
Mattis, Kristine

In the United States, the public primarily learns about science and environmental information from the news media. For this reason, the framing of a prominent environmental story by the news media is of great importance in determining the messages that the public receives. It also reveals whether or not the news media inhabit their role as the fourth estate, acting in protection of the public or rather, of the powerful interests with which they can be affiliated. Using the media propaganda... more

Whose Fracking Side are You On?: Defining the Fracking Debate in North Carolina, New York, and Pennsylvania
Hedding, Kylah Jae

The way complex environmental issues with complicated policy implications are framed within the media, public, and policy agendas can influence how they are legislated and regulated. This study compared news coverage of fracking in New York, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina--three states that have had very different experiences with fracking--from 2008-2013. It examined the types of sources used, the assertions of these sources, and how fracking was framed. It also explored connections... more


60: Managing animal and human interactions: conflicts, communities and conservation

Compassionate Conservation: Across the Cat-Bird Divide between Animal and Environmental Ethics
Oehlkers, Peter; Hafen, Susan

The conflict between advocates of feral cat colony Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) programs and advocates of wild bird protection represents a model clash between animal and environmental ethics (see Longcore, Rich & Sullivan (2009; Pressler, 2013). Advocates of TNR focus on the rights and suffering of feral cats while seeking a solution that avoids their mass euthanization; advocates of wild bird protection focus on the survival of native species and the proper management of ecosystems. This... more

Moral, cultural and legal discrepancies in hunting: bridging the fault line between fair chase and ‘killing for the table’
von Essen, Erica

In this paper, we explore how legal, cultural and moral norms have become differentiated in the hunting context. Indeed, the legal domain is suffering from a lack of legitimacy as cultural and moral guidance, and the proviso “freedom with responsibility”, promote autonomy and informal enforcement among hunters. Through in-depth interviews with Swedish hunters, who currently purport distrust of authorities on several hunting related issues, we identify tensions between the above domains in... more

Who Let the Wolves Out in Europe? Determining narratives and their role in nature conservation conflicts
Theodorakea, Ilektra; von Essen, E

In this paper we critically explore the meaning of cultural narratives circulated by Greek livestock breeders in connection with conservation of the wolf in their region. Findings are captured from semistructured interviews, thematic conversations and focused observation from two regions in central Greece. We position predominant narratives within Moscovici's theoretical framework of social representations, in the form of core and peripheral elements as introduced by Abric (1993).... more


61: Communicative possibilities for contested spaces/places

Bridging Divided Frames: Environmental Disaster & Everyday Stress in Resilience Thinking
Chase, Claire

This paper explores frames of resilience thinking utilized in the first stage of a local governance resilience initiative. Centering on Boulder, Colorado, one of the first round of cities selected by Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities, the case study reflects on the first phase of Boulder’s resilience initiative to consider whether the engagement of resilience thinking has the potential to move beyond a disaster or crisis-based resilience frame. Event-based environmental disaster... more

Communication about Perceptions and Assessments of Climate Change Risks among Regional Stakeholders of the North Sea Coast in Germany: A Transdisciplinary Approach
Luedecke, Gesa; Wessels, Anke; Striegnitz, Meinfried

This paper discusses results from a transdisciplinary research project that analyzed and evaluated community-based communication processes in the context of coastal adaptation to sea level rise. Coastal adaptation strategies increasingly have to take into account the effects of climate change. At present, however, engineering and natural science models that assess the impact of global climatic transformations on regional coastal zones and their protection structures remain rather detached... more

Gods and Colonists: Putting the Earth in Multiuser Virtual Worlds
Clark, Joseph S.

This paper describes interviews conducted with speakers and audiences in an emerging medium in order to investigate the reproduction of “Nature” ideologies and rhetorics in user-built, three-dimensional online simulations. Designers, builders, and “residents” of the multiuser virtual world Second Life (SL) were contacted to illuminate the role played by “prosumers” in an emerging medium that engages audiences in novel ways, and to explore how users might both reinscribe and resist dominant... more

Researcher, Advocate, or Other, Check One: Positionality of Environmental Communication Researchers of Collaborative Place-Based Projects
Grecu, Natalie

My current research objectives involve both quantitative and qualitative inquiry to gauge lakeshore residents’ perceptions of water quality issues of a Pacific Northwest lake, in addition to better understanding their experiences of living on or near the lake. The goal of this research is to extend environmental communication campaign theory, while providing recommendations for collaborative campaign strategies to the local stakeholders, including the federal and state agencies involved in... more


62: Representing Agricultural Practice

Agrarian Environmental Rhetoric: A Theoretical Conceptualization
Singer, Ross; Motter, Jeff

This study develops the heuristic concept of agrarian environmental rhetoric and its topoi of practice, place, and solidarity. Guided by a telos of a more sustainable, just, and democratic world, the concept informs theoretical and critical inquiry at the symbolic intersections of food, agriculture, and environment.

Tracing the Social Idea of Going “Back-to-the-Land”
Jessica M. Prody

In this essay I analyze the evolution of going back-to-the-land through three iterations of the back-to-the-land movement. Analysis of Ten Acres Enough, Living the Good Life, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle illustrates that back-to-the-land movements were comprised of individuals seeking to escape social stressors and driven by broad political objectives. Going back-to-the-land is a product of particular moments in time, and while some themes have remained attached to the trope (such as self-... more

“Climate crisis if we don’t cut meat eating in half”: Swedish news media framings of meat
Benulic, Kajsa-Stina

The Swedish meat consumption has been deemed ecologically unsustainable by NGOs and governmental authorities alike. According to the Swedish Board of Agriculture (SBA) most Swedish consumers should be aware of the negative environmental impacts stemming from meat production. Yet meat consumption is continuously increasing in Sweden, remaining at levels twice the global average. The same actors questioning the sustainability of this development, e.g. the Swedish Environmental Protection... more





A Focus Group Study of Boaters’ Perspectives for Promoting Marine Ecosystem Protection
DeLorme, Denise E.

This presentation reports on a focus group study for a U.S. government agency-sponsored interdisciplinary project to promote voluntary careful and responsible boating to help protect fragile marine life (seagrasses, oysters, mangroves, marsh cordgrass) in a local lagoon. While the lagoon is popular among recreational boaters for its scenic beauty, biodiversity, and fishing opportunities, its combination of complex channels, shallow waters, and dynamic water level fluctuations create... more

Climate Change in the Indian and Chinese Mind: Exploring global warming risk perception, belief, understanding and behavior in India and China
Fernandez, Lisa

Nationally representative surveys conducted in India in 2011 and China in 2012 investigated the current state of public climate change awareness, beliefs, attitudes, policy support, and environmental behaviors, as well as public observations of changes in local weather and climate patterns and self-reported vulnerability to extreme weather events. Results show a limited awareness of climate change, particularly in India, but once made aware, respondents strongly agree it is happening and... more

Examining environmental experts: Who is directing the dialogue surrounding water sustainability in the agricultural heartland?
Dalrymple, Kajsa; Krajewski, Joanna

Agricultural practices in Iowa, which rely on heavy use of fertilizers to sustain high yields, have recently lead to health-threatening levels of nitrates in two of central Iowa’s main drinking sources. Although this has alerted Iowans to a major issue, many continue to prioritize profitable agriculture over water quality, creating a huge barrier for those interested in encouraging individuals to adopt behaviors that improve water quality in the region. One explanation for this social... more

Examining the Potential of Citizen-Sourcing for Deliberating Sustainable Futures in Online Contexts
Falc, Emilie

Vandana Shiva outlines the world’s top three environmental crises of climate, energy and food and calls us to work together in participatory democracies to solve these crises (Shiva, 2008). Methods of citizen engagement around creating climate justice and a more sustainable future have grown from face-to-face deliberations to online forums and citizen-sourcing blogging projects (Falc, 2013; Gastil, 2008). When our global online audiences are unknown, ephemeral and intercultural, we are... more

Implementing a Branded Interdisciplinary Campaign to Increase Eco-Friendly Recreational Boating
DeLorme, Denise E. ; Hewkin, Elouisa; Walters, Linda J. ; Campbell, Donna

This presentation describes an environmental social marketing campaign aiming to increase voluntary eco-friendly boating to protect fragile shallow-water marine life and habitats (oysters, seagrasses, mangroves, marsh cordgrass) in a local lagoon. Collaborating on this three-year, U.S. government agency-sponsored campaign is a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary team of faculty scholars, practitioners, and graduate and undergraduate students in the natural and social sciences (biology and... more

Just Turn on the Faucet: How YouTube PSAs are Communicating about the Global Water Crisis
Krajewski, Joanna; Dalrymple, Kajsa

The purpose of this study is to examine the content of environmental PSA videos on YouTube—specifically about the global water crisis—and evaluate the potential effectiveness of these PSAs based on components from two different communication models; the Extended Parallel Process Model (EPPM) and the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM). Communication goal (awareness vs. behavior change) and type of entity producing the PSA are also explored.

Mapping Climate Communication: The Climate Timeline and the Network of Actors
Boehnert, Joanna

Mapping Climate Communication visualizes and contextualizes actors, events, actions, strategies and discourses influencing public opinion on climate change. The Climate Timeline visualizes the historical processes and events that have lead to the growth of various ways of communicating climate change. The Network of Actors illustrates relationships between actors participating in climate communication in Canada, United States and the United Kingdom. Together the two posters offer an overview... more

Political Ideology and the Language of Certainty in Climate Communication
Gann, Timothy M.; Abney, Drew H.; Matlock, Teenie

Climate change has become an increasingly politically polarized issue over time, and media coverage of the issue often depends on the political leaning of the journalist or publication covering it. The language a partisan uses in an article is designed to influence the views of their readership. Even subtle changes to the grammatical forms used in a politically charged message can have a significant impact on how readers interpret them (cf. Fausey & Matlock, 2011). In this study, we... more

Translating Statistical Expertise into Clean Water Act Compliance: A Case Study of Communication across Disciplines for Efficient Environmental Solutions
Gribble, Matthew O.; Chen, Connie; Bartroff, Jay; Bay, Steven M.; Goldstein, Larry

Current regulatory practice for Clean Water Act section 303(d) listing (e.g., determining which bodies of water are “impaired” under the Clean Water Act) in California involves application of the exact binomial test with balanced Type I and Type II errors to a fixed number of samples. Making the same statistical assumptions, it is possible to (on average) reduce the number of required samples using a tool called the sequential probability ratio test (SPRT). The large cost savings in... more

Using Climate Change Risk Perception and Certainty to Organize Communication Theories and Practical Approaches
Timm, Kristin; Pettit, Erin; Sparrow, Elena; Taylor, Karen

Increasing temperatures are projected to have a positive effect on the length of Alaska’s summer tourism season, but the natural attractions that tourism relies on may change. In order to continue to derive benefits from these resources, tour operators may have to adapt to these changes, and communication is an essential component of the adaptation process. The goal of this study was to determine how to provide useful climate change information to Alaska’s nature-based tour operators by... more

Using scenarios planning to communicate climate change risks and collaboratively develop adaptation strategies
Timm, Kristin; Fresco, Nancy

Communicating about climate change is a serious challenge. There is an urgent need to develop effective processes at the local level to engage, inform, and support decision makers in their efforts to plan for the impacts of climate change. This is particularly urgent in Alaska, where the impacts of climate change are already being felt. The Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning (SNAP) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has spent the past seven years facilitating the use of... more

WHAT’S YOUR MOTIVATION? Individual Drivers for Sustainable Behavior
Luedecke, Gesa

The knowledge about climate change and its future impacts on societies has led only to minor achievements in reducing carbon emissions thus far. While a fundamental transformation of societal consumption patterns is needed, less thought has yet been given to the individual motivation for citizen involvement (Carvalho & Peterson, 2013). Communication within social systems plays a crucial role for shaping individual perceptions and attitudes and therefore motivations towards sustainable... more


Works of Art


Works of Art

Stokes-Katzenbach, Mimi

Arts installation / poster session hybrid. Humanity is at the crossroads of four forms of catastrophe, and what road we decide to go down leads to a different catastrophic destination and destiny. The Four Forms of Catastrophe are brought together from diverse disciplines into an arts installation that combines images and content to express the four forms of Catastrophe and the crossroads we have each and all reached at this stage of our unfolding environmental drama of human life on earth... more

Evolutions in Three Lessons
Fortes, Hugo

In the video “Evolutions in Three Lessons”, I am interested to discuss processes of observing animals, man and environment, the limits of the objective observation and its symbolical and political meanings. Filmed in England and in Argentina the video shows images of three different beings that are interconnected through their stories. Focusing on relationships between European white men and their traditions, native fuegian Indians from Patagonia (Argentina) and currently living animals at... more

Proxy Pals trading cards
Sommer, Shelly; Robison, Cassidy

How do we know what past climates were really like? Scientists look for the stories embedded in layers laid down in the past, in ice cores, lake and ocean sediments, tree rings, cave formations, and coral skeletons. These layers preserve proxies influenced by the climatic conditions of the time. Researchers study the proxies to reconstruct ancient climates. New techniques let researchers riffle through time not just century by century, but often year by year. Outside the scientific... more