ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES, COMMUNICATION, AND THE MEDIA
(Formerly Environmental and Risk Communication)
Offered Spring 2016
In this advanced writing seminar for undergraduates, students analyze major debates over the environment, climate change, and related technologies; assessing how they are portrayed by experts, advocates, and the media; and the implications for effective communication, policymaker engagement, and personal decision-making. Students will gain an integrated understanding of the different roles they can play as professionals, advocates, and consumers. In doing so, they will have improved their ability to find, discuss, evaluate, and use expert sources of information; assess competing media claims and narratives; think strategically and critically; write persuasive essays, analyses, and commentaries; and author evidence-based research papers.
- Discussion Leadership and Translation (10%): For each class topic, 2-3 students will be designated discussion leaders and will provide 1-2 page summaries of each reading.#
- Three Analysis Papers (45%):Students will be completing three 2,000 word analysis papers relative to specific case studies and topics covered. These papers will assess and integrate the assigned readings and other sources; and be written in a broadly accessible, persuasive, and engaging style. Students will be expected to revise papers after initial grade and review by instructor.
- Annotated Bibliography (15%): Students will be compiling an annotated bibliography of approximately 15 quality academic or research sources on a topic relevant to the course. Based on the bibliography, students will prepare a detailed outline for their final paper subject to feedback and discussion.*
- Research Paper (30%):Drawing on their annotated bibliography and other sources, students will author a 6,000 word paper synthesizing and applying research to their topic, written in a style that is broadly accessible and engaging.
# Students should compile their reading summaries into a single PDF document and email the document to Prof. Nisbet by the Monday evening before the class sessions. These summaries will then be posted on the course page in advance of class.
*Compiling an Annotated Bibliography
An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to scholarly books, book chapters, journal articles, and reports. Each citation – usually around 300 words — is followed by a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph called “the annotation.” For your annotated bibliography, you should be able to find and describe in your own words relevant journal articles, book chapters, and books on your topic. The journals, edited volumes, authors, and fields referenced in this course are good places to start to search for relevant sources.
CLASS SCHEDULE / READING
PART I. CONTESTED INTERPRETATIONS OF THE ENVIRONMENT
Week 1 — Introduction to Major Course Themes and Key Concepts
- Cox, R. and Pezzullo, P. (2015). Environmental communication and the public sphere, 4th Edition. Sage Publications, pp 11-30.
- Dryzek, J. S. (2013). The politics of the earth: Environmental discourses. Oxford University Press, pgs 1-24. [Handed Out to Class]
- Mann, C. (2013, Aug. 13). How to talk about climate change so that people will listen. The Atlantic [HTML]
Week 2 — Competing Meanings of Nature, Society, and the Environment
- Cox, R. and Pezzullo, P. (2015). Environmental communication and the public sphere, 4th Edition. Sage Publications, pp 31-50.
- Dryzek, J. S. (2013). The politics of the earth: Environmental discourses. Oxford University Press, pgs 25-72. [Handed Out to Class]
- Nisbet, M. C. (2014). Disruptive ideas: public intellectuals and their arguments for action on climate change. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 5(6), 809-823. [HTML] [PDF]
- Nisbet, M.C. (2015). A Call for Greater Diversity of Thought in Environmental Studies Courses. The Conversation US. [HTML]
Week 3 – Language, Framing, and Images in Environmental Communication
- Cox, R. and Pezzullo, P. (2015). Environmental communication and the public sphere, 4th Edition. Sage Publications, pp 53-69.
- Nisbet, M. C. (2009). Communicating climate change: Why frames matter for public engagement. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, 51(2), 12-23. [HTML]
- (2012, Aug. 14). Scholars’ Research Offers Insight Into Future Debate about Climate Change. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. [HTML]
- O’Neill, S. J., & Smith, N. (2014). Climate change and visual imagery. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 5(1), 73-87. [PDF]
- Baron, N. (2010). “Deliver a Clear Message.” In N. Baron A Guide to Making Your Science Matter: Escape from the Ivory Tower (pg. 103-22)Washington, DC: Island Press. [PDF]
Week 4 — How the Public and Decision-Makers Make Sense of Environmental Issues
- Nisbet, M.C. (2011). Public Opinion and Political Participation. In D. Schlosberg, J. Dryzek, & R. Norgaard (Eds.).Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society. London, UK: Oxford University Press. [HTML] [PDF]
- Bolsen, T., Druckman, J. N., & Cook, F. L. (2015). Citizens’, scientists’, and policy advisors’ beliefs about global warming. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 658(1), 271-295. [Library Gateway]
- Hoffman, A. (2012). Climate Science as Culture War. Stanford Social Innovation Review. [HTML]
- Clarke, C. E., Hart, P. S., Schuldt, J. P., Evensen, D. T., Boudet, H. S., Jacquet, J. B., & Stedman, R. C. (2015). Public opinion on energy development: The interplay of issue framing, top-of-mind associations, and political ideology. Energy Policy, 81, 131-140. [Library Gateway]
- Pasqualetti, M. (2011). Opposing Wind Energy Landscapes: A Search for Common Cause. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 101(4), 907-‐917. [PDF]
PART II: ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE, COMMUNICATION, AND ADVOCACY
Week 5 — The Conservative Movement, Industry, and Science Denial
- Dunlap, R. E., & McCright, A. M. (2011). Organized climate change denial. The Oxford handbook of climate change and society, 144-160. [PDF]
- Lewandowsky, S., Oreskes, N., Risbey, J. S., Newell, B. R., & Smithson, M. (2015). Seepage: Climate change denial and its effect on the scientific community. Global Environmental Change, 33, 1-13. [HTML]
- Cook, J. & Jacobs, P. (2015). Scientists are from Mars, Laypeople are
- from Venus: An Evidence-Based Rationale for Communicating the Consensus on Climate. National Center for Science Education. [PDF]
- Howarth, C. C., & Sharman, A. G. (2015). Labeling opinions in the climate debate: a critical review. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 6(2), 239-254. [Library Gateway]
Week 6 — Environmental Organizations, Advocacy, and Communication
- Cox, R. and Pezzullo, P. (2015). Environmental communication and the public sphere, 4th Edition. Sage Publications, pp 177-260.
- Yearley, S. (2014). Environmentalists as communicators of science. In Routledge Handbook of Public Communication of Science and Technology, 113. [Handed out to class]
- O’Neill, S., & Nicholson-Cole, S. (2009). “Fear Won’t Do It” Promoting Positive Engagement With Climate Change Through Visual and Iconic Representations. Science Communication, 30(3), 355-379. [PDF]
- Federoff, N. et al (2015, March 9). The Anti-GMO activists take playbook from Climategate. The Guardian. [HTML]
Week 7 — The Environmental Justice and Climate Action Movements
- Cox, R. and Pezzullo, P. (2015). Environmental communication and the public sphere, 4th Edition. Sage Publications, pp 244-277.
- Dryzek, J. S. (2013). The politics of the earth: Environmental discourses. Oxford University Press, pgs 187-207 [Handed out to Class]
- Nisbet, M.C. (2015). Environmental Advocacy in the Obama Years: Assessing New Strategies for Political Change. In N. Vig & M. Kraft (Eds), Environmental Policy: New Directions for the Twenty-First Century, 9th Edition. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Press [PDF]
- Klein, N. (2015, June 17). Climate Change Is a Crisis We Can Only Solve Together. The Nation [HTML]
Week 8 — Scientists as Advisors, Communicators, and Advocates
- Cox, R. and Pezzullo, P. (2015). Environmental communication and the public sphere, 4th Edition. Sage Publications, pp 121-146.
- Alvarez, G. (2014, April 2). What Role for Scientists in the Climate Debate? The Breakthrough.org [HTML]
- Salmon, R. A., Priestley, R. K., & Goven, J. (2015). The reflexive scientist: an approach to transforming public engagement. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 1-16. [handed out to class]
- Nisbet, M. C. (2014). Engaging in science policy controversies. In Routledge Handbook of Public Communication of Science and Technology, 173. [HMTL].
Week 9 — Universities, Government Agencies, and Public Involvement
- Cox, R. and Pezzullo, P. (2015). Environmental communication and the public sphere, 4th Edition. Sage Publications, pp 289-340.
- Chambliss, L. & Lewenstein, B. (2012). Establishing a Climate Change Information Source Addressing Local Aspects of a Global Issue. Journal of Science Communication, 11 (3). [PDF]
- Hall, D. M., & Lazarus, E. D. (2015). Deep waters: Lessons from community meetings about offshore wind resource development in the US. Marine Policy,57, 9-17. [PDF]
- Blue, G., & Medlock, J. (2014). Public Engagement with Climate Change as Scientific Citizenship: A Case Study of World Wide Views on Global Warming.Science as Culture, 23(4), 560-579. [Library Gateway]
- Nisbet, M.C. (2015). Universities in the Anthropocene: Engaging students and universities. The Conversation. [HTML]
PART II: ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN THE MEDIA AND POPULAR CULTURE
Week 10 — Popular Books and Environmental Debates
- Sabin, P. (2013). The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and our gamble over Earth’s future. Yale University Press (pp 10-51).
- Walker, K., & Walsh, L. (2011). ‘‘No One Yet Knows What the Ultimate Consequences May Be’’: How Rachel Carson Transformed Scientific Uncertainty Into a Site for Public Participation in Silent Spring. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 26, 3-34. [Library Gateway]
- Fahy, D. (2014). The New Celebrity Scientists: Out of the Lab and into the Limelight. New York: Rowman & Littlefield (Chapter 1 & 7)
Week 11 — Environmental Journalism and Digital Media
- Cox, R. and Pezzullo, P. (2015). Environmental communication and the public sphere, 4th Edition. Sage Publications, pp 91-117; 177-203.
- Gibson, T. A., Craig, R. T., Harper, A. C., & Alpert, J. M. (2015). Covering global warming in dubious times: Environmental reporters in the new media ecosystem. Journalism. [Library Gateway]
- Thompson, R. (2005). Reporting offshore wind power: are newspapers facilitating informed debate? Coastal Management, 33(3), 247-262. [Library Gateway]
- Nisbet, M.C. & Fahy, D. (2015). The Need for Knowledge-based Journalism in Politicized Science Debates. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 658, 223-234. [PDF]
Week 12 — Environmental Issues on Television and in Film
- Shanahan, J., McComas, K., & Deline, M. B. (2015). Environment on Television and its Effects. The Routledge Handbook of Environment and Communication.
- Hmielowski, J. D., Feldman, L., Myers, T. A., Leiserowitz, A., & Maibach, E. (in press). An Attack on Science?: Media Use, Trust in Scientists, and Perceptions about Global Warming. Public Understanding of Science, 7 866-883[Library Gateway].
- Nisbet, M. C., & Aufderheide, P. (2009). Documentary film: Towards a research agenda on forms, functions, and impacts. Mass Communication and Society,12(4), 450-456. [PDF]
- Howell, R. A. (2011). Lights, camera… action? Altered attitudes and behaviour in response to the climate change film The Age of Stupid. Global Environmental Change, 21(1), 177-187. [Library Gateway]
Week 13 —Public Relations, Advertising, and Marketing Campaigns
- Cox, R. and Pezzullo, P. (2015). Environmental communication and the public sphere, 4th Edition. Sage Publications, pp 245-277.
- Ahern, L., Bortree, D. S., & Smith, A. N. (2013). Key trends in environmental advertising across 30 years in National Geographic magazine. Public Understanding of Science, 22(4), 479-494. [Library Gateway]
- Nyberg, D., Spicer, A., & Wright, C. (2013). Incorporating citizens: corporate political engagement with climate change in Australia. Organization, 20(3), 433-453. [Library Gateway]
- Nisbet, M.C. & Kotcher, J. (2009). A Two Step Flow of Influence? Opinion-Leader Campaigns on Climate Change. Science Communication, 30, 328-358. (PDF).
Week 14 — Catch Up on Topics & Review Key Themes