Geo Takach publishes Tar Wars

 Friday, June 2, 2017

IECA founding member (and recently elected board member) Geo Takach has published Tar Wars: Oil, Environment and Alberta's Image (University of Alberta Press, 2017). 

The book offers an insider's look at how visual environmental communication both reflects and shapes how we negotiate the development of the Earth's precious natural resources, and how we see ourselves, late in the age of extractive capitalism. Tar Wars employs narrative inquiry alongside visual, framing and discourse analysis in a revealing case study of what has been called the world's largest industrial project, the vast bituminous ('tar' or 'oil') sands in northern Alberta, Canada. That controversial project has been credited with igniting the American environmental movement with a force unseen since the early 1970s.  

Tar Wars offers a critical inside look at how leading image-makers negotiate escalating tensions between continuous economic growth mandated by a globalized economic system and its unsustainable environmental costs. As place branding assumes paramount importance in an increasingly global, visual, and ecologically conscious society, an international battle unfolds over Alberta’s bituminous sands. This battle pits independent documentary filmmakers against professional communicators employed by government and the oil industry. Tar Wars engages scholars and students in communications, film, environmental studies, social psychology, PR, media and cultural studies, and petrocultures. This book also speaks to decision makers, activists, and citizens exploring intersections of energy, environment, culture, politics, economy, media and power.

The book is a companion to Geo's previous book, Scripting the Environment (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), which makes the case for arts-based research in environmental communication and provides a framework to engage broader audiences in environmental concerns by writing works for the screen and stage using professional scriptwriting strategies and techniques. That book is endorsed by environmentalist and author Bill McKibben, arts-based research maven Patricia Leavy and distinguished environmental scholar Phaedra Pezzullo. Geo will share his arts-based research methods at a workshop -- plus his Tar Wars research in a themed panel -- at COCE 2017.

Takach is a writer, filmmaker, speaker and Associate Professor of Communication and Culture at Royal Roads University.