Waterlines: Confluence and Hope through Environmental Communication. The 15th biennial Conference on Communication and Environment (COCE). June 17-21, 2019, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

The Sustainable Development Goals as Discursive Frame: Potential for Glocal Change

Rosalind Warner's picture
Warner, Rosalind
Category of presentation: 
Scholarly papers

This paper explores the potential contribution of the Sustainable Development Goals as a discursive framework for communicating environmental, ethical, and social justice values to multiple diverse local audiences. To what degree have the SDGs been effective in communicating a universal, indivisible, and aspirational agenda with the potential to inspire impactful changes on social and individual behaviours? Findings suggest that the two somewhat conflictual discourses that are often identified within the SDGs, Global Environmental Management and Populism, are expressed in a more ambiguous and complex way at the local level.  Through an examination of civil society initiatives to communicate and gain public support for the Goals, especially the BC2030 campaign of the BC Council for International Cooperation, the paper will analyze the interplay of the discourses locally. A third discourse, that of Glocal Partnerships, is proposed as a way of understanding how local audiences are engaging with the Goals in Canada in political, social and economic fora. The conclusions have the potential to impact efforts to inspire change toward these important goals, by helping groups develop more effective strategies to better communicate their importance to the wider public.