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Environmental Communication and the Public Sphere
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Environmental Communication and the Public Sphere

Fifth Edition
  • Phaedra C. Pezzullo - University of Colorado, Boulder, USA, Indiana University, USA
  • Robert Cox - The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA


November 2017 | 448 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

“This is the best undergraduate text devoted to environmental communication. It’s the standard book for an introduction to the field.” 
—Jeffrey L. Courtright, Illinois State University

The Fifth Edition of the award-winning Environmental Communication and the Public Sphere remains the most comprehensive introductory text in the growing field of environmental communication.  This groundbreaking book focuses on the role that human communication plays in influencing the ways we perceive the environment. It also examines how we define what constitutes an environmental problem and how we decide what actions to take concerning the natural world. 

In the highly anticipated Fifth Edition, internationally recognized researcher Phaedra Pezzullo and three-time Sierra Club President Robert Cox leverage their vast experience to offer insights into the news media, Congress, environmental conflict, advocacy campaigns, and other real-world applications of environmental communication. This edition also explores recent events—the Trump Administration, wolf conservation, public land milestones, the Flint water crisis, corporate disinformation campaigns, new alliances for a “just transition” in a growing renewable energy economy, the People’s Climate March, international legal precedents, and more—to illustrate key terms and the significance of environmental communication. 

 

 


 
Part 1: COMMUNICATING FOR/ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT
 
Chapter 1: Defining Environmental Communication
What is “Environmental Communication”?

 
Ways of Studying Environmental Communication

 
The Ethics of Crisis and Care

 
Communication, the Environment, and the Public Sphere

 
Communication as Symbolic Action: Wolves

 
Why Communication Matters to “The Environment”

 
Public Spheres as Democratic Spaces

 
Diverse Environmental Voices in the Public Sphere

 
Citizens and Civil Society

 
Nongovernmental Organizations

 
Politicians and Public Officials

 
Businesses

 
Scientists and Scholars

 
Journalists

 
 
Summary
 
Suggested Resources
 
Key Terms
 
Discussion Questions
 
Chapter 2: Contested Meanings: A Brief History
Learning to Love Nature

 
Wilderness Preservation Versus Natural Resource Conservation

 
John Muir and the Wilderness Preservation Movement

 
Gifford Pinchot and the Conservation of Natural Resources

 
Cultivating an Ecological Consciousness

 
Public Health and the Ecology Movement

 
Rachel Carson and the Public Health Movement

 
Earth Day and Legislative Landmarks

 
Environmental Justice: Linking Social Justice and Environmental Quality

 
Redefining the Meaning of “Environment”

 
Defining Sacrifice Zones and Environmental Justice

 
Movements for Sustainability and Climate Justice

 
Introducing Sustainability

 
Moving Toward Climate Justice and a Just Transition

 
 
Summary
 
Suggested Resources
 
Key Terms
 
Discussion Questions
 
Part II: Constructions of the Environment
 
Chapter 3: Symbolic Constructions of the Environment
A Rhetorical Perspective

 
Terministic Screens and Naming

 
Constructing an Environmental Problem: The “Rhetorical Situation”

 
Tropes and Genres

 
Dominant and Critical Discourses

 
 
Summary
 
Suggested Resources
 
Key Terms
 
Discussion Questions
 
Chapter 4: The Environment in/of Visual and Popular Culture
The Environment and Popular Culture

 
Encoding/Decoding Environmental Media

 
Media’s Lifecycle

 
Looking at the Environment

 
Visual Rhetoric and Nature

 
Seeing the American West

 
Picturing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

 
Moving Images of Disasters

 
Witnessing Ecological Crises

 
Polar Bears as Condensation Symbols

 
Pollution in Real Time

 
Green Art, Marketing, and Graphic Design

 
Environmental Art

 
Viral Marketing

 
Failed Persuasion

 
Green Graphic Design

 
 
Summary
 
Suggested Resources
 
Key Terms
 
Discussion Questions
 
Chapter 5: Environmental Journalism
Growth and Changes in Environmental News

 
Emergence and Cycles in Environmental News

 
A Perfect Storm: Decline of Traditional News Media and Rise of Digital News

 
Breaking News and Environmental Journalism

 
Newsworthiness

 
Media Frames

 
Norms of Objectivity and Balance

 
Political Economy of News Media

 
Gatekeeping and Newsroom Routines

 
Media Effects and Influences

 
Agenda Setting

 
Narrative Framing

 
Cultivation Analysis

 
Media Engagement Continuum

 
Digital Technologies and the Transformation of Environmental News

 
Digitizing Environmental Journalism

 
Social Media and Citizen Environmental Journalism

 
 
Summary
 
Suggested Resources
 
Key Terms
 
Discussion Questions
 
Part III: Communicating in an Age of Ecological Crises
 
Chapter 6: Scientists, Technology, and Environmental Controversies
Scientific Argumentation

 
Symbolic Legitimacy and the “Eclipse” of the Public

 
Fracking and the Environmental Sciences

 
The Precautionary Principle

 
Uncertainty and Risk

 
The Precautionary Principle

 
Early Warners: Environmental Scientists and the Public

 
Dilemmas of Neutrality and Scientists’ Credibility

 
Environmental Scientists as Early Warners

 
Science and the Trope of Uncertainty

 
A Trope of Uncertainty

 
Challenging the Environmental Sciences

 
Communicating Climate Science

 
Climate Scientists Go Digital

 
Media and Popular Culture

 
Inventing New Climate Change Messages

 
 
Summary
 
Suggested Resources
 
Key Terms
 
Discussion Questions
 
CHAPTER 7: HUMAN HEALTH AND ECOLOGICAL RISK COMMUNICATION
Dangerous Environments: Assessment in a Risk Society

 
Risk Assessment

 
Technical Risk Assessment

 
A Cultural Theory of Risk Assessment

 
Communicating Environmental Risks in the Public Sphere

 
A Technical Model of Risk Communication

 
A Cultural Model of Risk Communication

 
Citizens Becoming Scientists

 
Mainstream News Media and Environmental Risk

 
News Media Reports of Risk: Accurate Information or Sensational Stories?

 
Whose Voices Speak of Risk?

 
 
Summary
 
Suggested Resources
 
Key Terms
 
Discussion Questions
 
CHAPTER 8: SUSTAINABILITY AND THE “GREENING” OF CORPORATIONS AND CAMPUSES
Sustainability: An Interdisciplinary Approach

 
Economic Discourse and the Environment

 
Corporate Sustainability Communication: Reflection or Deflection?

 
Green Product Advertising

 
Green Image Enhancement

 
Green Corporate Image Repairs

 
Greenwashing and the Discourse of Green Consumerism

 
Corporate Greenwashing

 
Discourse of Green Consumerism

 
Communicating Sustainability on and Through Campuses

 
Communicating Sustainability Curricula

 
Communication Through Infrastructure

 
Communication Education at Tourist Sites

 
 
Summary
 
Suggested Resources
 
Key Terms
 
Discussion Questions
 
Part IV: Environmental Campaigns and Movements
 
CHAPTER 9: ADVOCACY CAMPAIGNS AND MESSAGE CONSTRUCTION
Environmental Advocacy

 
Campaigns Differ From Critical Rhetoric

 
Environmental Advocacy Campaigns

 
Campaigns’ Objectives

 
Identifying Key Decision Makers

 
Developing a Strategy to Influence Decision Makers

 
The Campaign to Protect Zuni Salt Lake

 
Zuni Salt Lake and a Coal Mine

 
A Coalition’s Campaign

 
Success for Zuni Salt Lake

 
Message Construction

 
The Attitude–Behavior Gap and the Importance of Values

 
Message Construction: Values and Framing

 
 
Summary
 
Suggested Resources
 
Key Terms
 
Discussion Questions
 
CHAPTER 10: DIGITAL MEDIA AND ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM
Grassroots Activism and Digital Media

 
Alert, Amplify, and Engage

 
Affordances of Digital Communication Technologies

 
Environmental NGOs and Digital Campaigns

 
“Sustainable Self-Representation”

 
Action Alerts: Environmental NGOs’ Digital Mobilizing

 
Online/Offline and “Public Will” Campaigns

 
Multimodality and Networked Campaigns

 
Environmental Activism and Multimodal Networks

 
NGOs’ Sponsored Networks

 
Network of Networks: Global Environmental Activism

 
 
Scaling Up: The People’s Climate March and the March for Science
 
Summary
 
Suggested Resources
 
Key Terms
 
Discussion Questions
 
CHAPTER 11: ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AND CLIMATE JUSTICE MOVEMENTS
Environmental Justice: Challenges, Critiques, and Change

 
The Beginnings of a “New” Movement

 
We Speak for Ourselves: Naming “Environmental Racism”

 
Building the Movement for Environmental Justice

 
Institutionalization of Environmental Justice

 
Honoring Frontline Knowledge and Traveling on Toxic Tours

 
The Politics of Voice

 
The Politics of Place

 
The Global Movement for Climate Justice

 
Climate Justice: A Frame to Connect the World

 
Mobilizing for Climate Justice

 
 
Summary
 
Suggested Resources
 
Key Terms
 
Discussion Questions
 
Part V: Environmental Laws and Engagement
 
Chapter 12: Public Participation in Environmental Decisions
Right to Know: Access to Information

 
Freedom of Information Act

 
Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act

 
Right to Comment

 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

 
Public Hearings and Citizen Comments

 
SLAPP: Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation

 
Sued for Speaking Out

 
Response to SLAPPs

 
Growth of Public Participation Internationally

 
 
Summary
 
Suggested Resources
 
Key Terms
 
Discussion Questions
 
Chapter 13: Environmental Conflict Management and Collaboration
Addressing Environmental Disputes

 
Criticism of Public Hearings

 
Beyond Public Hearings

 
Collaborating to Resolve Environmental Conflicts

 
Principles of Successful Collaboration

 
From Conflict to Collaboration in the Great Bear Rainforest

 
Limits of Collaboration and Consensus

 
Evaluating Collaboration: The “Progress Triangle”

 
The Quincy Library Group: Conflict in the Sierra Nevada Mountains

 
Common Criticisms of Collaboration

 
 
Summary
 
Suggested Resources
 
Key Terms
 
Discussion Questions
 
Chapter 14: Legal Arguments for the Standing of Citizens and Nature
Right of Standing and Citizen Suits

 
Standing in a Court of Law

 
Citizen Suits and the Environment

 
Landmark Cases on Environmental Standing

 
Sierra Club v. Morton (1972)

 
Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife (1992)

 
Friends of the Earth, Inc. V. Laidlaw Environmental Services, Inc. (2000)

 
Global Warming and the Right of Standing

 
Who Should Have a Right of Standing?

 
Who can Speak—and What is Speech?

 
The Standing of Future Generations

 
Nonhuman Nature: Should Trees, Dolphins, and Rivers Have Standing?

 
 
Summary
 
Suggested Resources
 
Discussion Questions
 
Glossary
 
References
 
Index

“This is the best undergraduate text devoted to environmental communication. It’s the standard book for an introduction to the field.” 

Jeffrey L. Courtright
Illinois State University

“Environmental Communication and the Public Sphere engages a medley of terms, frames, and controversies that are useful for fusing theory and practice. The authors address an impressive breadth of material and numerous case studies that provide depth and context-specific opportunities for critical thinking and engaged learning. Well-researched texts of this quality are essential for providing students and faculty with the communication savvy necessary for imagining and enacting environments that are conducive to human and planetary thriving amidst our colliding ecological crises. I have relied on the 3rd and 4th editions of this textbook in my previous Communicating Sustainability classes and look forward to using the next edition.”

Catalina M. de Onís
Willamette University

“This is a great text that clearly explains a difficult concept and then provides several examples of how it permeates society via the ways we communicate about the natural world and our role in it.”

Damon M. Hall
Saint Louis University

“In the field of environmental communication, Pezzullo and Cox’s text is fundamental. With tremendous breadth and depth, it offers both contemporary and historical public discourse on the complicated fight for environmental protections. Students find this text book enlightening and highly readable given the many opportunities for engagement in contemporary issues provided in text blocks throughout the book.”

Jennifer L. Adams
DePauw University

This interdisciplinary overview is an accessible introduction to environmental communication. The careful grounding in rhetorical and media theory is especially helpful, and the many current case studies are interesting and informative. This book is valuable for students of environmental science and policy as well as environmental activists.”

Joan Faber McAlister
Drake University
Key features
NEW TO THIS EDITION:
  • Discussions of environmental communication crisis and care encourage students with positive examples of environmental care such as hunters and anglers sharing their love of public lands to resist privatization by the US Congress.
  • The Fifth Edition reflects our growing community of scholars and practitioners, making it easier for students to note major trends.
  • Engaging new research helps students connect the content to topics ranging from industrial apocalyptic rhetoric to emerging methods for assessing media impact.
  • Recent controversies and milestones illustrate real-life examples of environmental communication, including the coalition of water protectors involved in the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy, the Flint water crisis as systemic environmental racism, allegations of disinformation campaigns about climate research and The March for Science in response, new alliances for a “just transition” in a growing renewable energy economy, and more. 
KEY FEATURES:
  • Globally diverse images and case studies of environmental leaders, practices, and movements kindle students’ imaginations and reinforce the theories introduced in the text.
  • Exploration of controversial topics such as hydraulic fracking, climate science, and the legal standing of nonhuman species illustrates relevant application of the principles in environmental practices and decision-making.
  •  Act Locally! exercises offer more ways to encourage citizen participation and give students opportunities to apply the principles of environmental communication to their campus and community.
  • Suggested Resources in each chapter continue to provide recommended readings, documentary films, movies, and websites for readers interested in further examination of the topics covered.
  • Comprehensive and updated coverage of the complexity and range of major issues and practices in the field is included throughout the text. All the basic themes are surveyed, with new information about climate science communication, sustainability, environmental journalism, social media (Twitter, Facebook, social networking, mobile apps, etc.), climate justice, corporate advocacy, new trends in art and on campuses, natural resource collaboration practices, and legal precedents.
  • Scholarship blended with application creates an active learning experience for students through diverse examples, case students, and a variety of voices and groups speaking about the environment—climate scientists, citizens, environmentalists, journalists, bloggers, students, corporate PR campaigns, climate justice activists, public officials, artists, lawyers, and more.

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