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Gabi Hadl publishes "EcoMedia Literacy"

IECA Secretary Gabi Hadl has published one of first textbooks for green media education, in Japanese. Introducing the work of many colleagues here at IECA and beyond (notably Antonio Lopez) in Japanese for the first time, it is a straight-forward introduction to studying environmental communication. The book is aimed at anyone interested in sustainability, from citizens wanting to raise their own level of ecomedia literacy (for which there is demand in the wake of the nuclear disaster) to professional workshop facilitators (teachers from junior high level to grad school). It bridges the gap between environmental communication and media education. Many of the concepts proposed and research cited are entirely new or little known in Japan.

It consists of three parts: The first explains her OhShit! moments that lead her to realize that environmental media education should be a top priority, in the context of the climate cliff, ocean crisis, wildlife crisis and the 2011 nuclear accident at TEPCO's Fukuichi powerplant. The second covers theory. It defines Concepts of EcoMedia Literacy ('green hacks' of the traditional media literacy concepts by Len Masterman), beginning with "Media society relies on the natural environment." It also proposes Principles for Learning, such as "Open your mind, but not to unreasonable ideas," which try to dispell the relativism and cynicism that can emerge in media literacy workshops. The third part consists of step-by-step instructions, readings and worksheets for EcoMedia literacy workshops. Covering topics from representation of human-nature relations to e-waste, it wraps up with a series of workshops for eco-media activism and experience a media detox.

The appendices contain a guide for frame-by-frame image analysis, and an extensive glossary of environmental communication concepts from 'climate denial campaign', 'nomophobia' and 'media mindprint' to 'ecocinema'.

Says the author about her motivation to write this book: "Fukushima was a wake-up call for the whole country. I had invested much of my career in researching communication rights and media justice. But rights cannot be upheld without restoring balance in the natural world. Adding a few words about ecology or environmental justice to our considerations is not enough. We need to fundamentally change our perspective. Crisis is always an opportunity. Things that seem impossible can happen overnight."

One of the workshops is explained and modified for an English-speaking audience in Milstein, T., Pileggi, M., & Morgan, E. (Eds.) (in press). Environmental Communication Pedagogy and Practice. London, UK: Routledge.

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