Communication for the Commons book published

commonsOver at the International Environmental Communication Association (IECA), we have finally completed work on Communication for the Commons: Revisiting Participation and Environment. It’s an anthology that pulls together selected papers and posters from the 2013 Conference on Communication and Environment. The conference took place in Uppsala, Sweden, June 6-11, 2013.

The book is edited by myself, Nadarajah Sriskandarajah of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and Stephen P. Depoe of the University of Cincinnati. Continue reading

Visual Environmental Communication book

Visual Environmental CommunicationRoutledge has a new book out now on Visual Environmental Communication, edited by Anders Hansen and David Machin. The book contains a number of papers that were part of a special issue of Environmental Communication. My paper with Bruno Takahashi, “The Nature of Time: How the Covers of the World’s Most Widely-Read Weekly News Magazine Visualize Environmental Affairs” is included in the book.

It’s a great collection of papers, certainly suitable for a course. And in case you are wondering, I get no money from the book sales. I signed the paper over to Routledge and that’s that. Continue reading

Consciousness Raising

Achieving_Sustainability_CoverMark S. Meisner “Consciousness Raising,” in Achieving Sustainability: Visions, Principles, and Practices, Vol. 1, Ed. Debra Rowe, pp.155-158. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2014.

“As a strategy for social change, consciousness raising can be defined as a form of communication or any activity aimed at increasing people’s awareness of specific conditions and/or ways to address them. In the sustainability context, this means raising awareness about social and environmental issues and problems, as well as about sustainable alternatives. For example, consciousness raising can mean educating people about the risks of biocides and the industrial food system as well as promoting local organic agriculture as an alternative. Either way, the purpose is to get the broader public interested in the cause and then engaged in doing something about it. Consciousness raising is thus a crucial first step in solving social problems….”

Continue reading

Agenda Setting and Issue Definition at the Micro Level: Giving Climate Change a Voice in the Peruvian Congress

Congress of PeruBruno Takahashi & Mark S. Meisner “Agenda Setting and Issue Definition at the Micro Level: Giving Climate Change a Voice in the Peruvian Congress,” Latin American Policy, 4(2). 340-357, 2013.


Agenda setting and policy formulation processes, including those involved in global issues such as climate change, have been a focus of continuous research during recent years. However, most studies have taken a broad longitudinal perspective, with limited emphasis on the individual level decision-making that can better explain the broader dynamics thoroughly tested in the past. This study presents an analysis at the micro level that uncovers specific instances of individual decision-making within an information-processing framework. Additionally, little is known about how climate change is defined in developing nations that are highly vulnerable to its effects. Therefore, this micro level analysis focuses on national legislators and advisers in the Peruvian Congress.  This paper presents a detailed narrative of the processes of formulation of several climate change bills and the development of a special committee on climate change and biodiversity in the 2006-2011 legislative period in the Peruvian Congress. The study discusses the role of policy entrepreneurs, the influence of limited or inaccurate information, and the competition with other policy issues, through an analysis of in-depth interviews with these legislative elites. The results show the significant influence of media reports and Internet use in a low information environment.

Continue reading

Re-examining the Media-Policy Link: Climate Change and Government Elites in Peru

CulturePoliticsandClimateChangeBruno Takahashi & Mark S. Meisner “Re-examining the Media-Policy Link: Climate Change and Government Elites in Peru,” Chapter 6 in Culture, Politics & Climate Change: How Information Shapes our Common Future, Edited by Deserai A. Crow and Maxwell T. Boykoff. London: Routledge, 2014.


The ways in which the mass media report on policy and scientific issues such as climate change have an influence on the attention to–and understanding of–such issues by decision makers. However, the study of such influence has been quite limited. This chapter is motivated by this gap in the literature, as well as by limited research about media and climate change in developing countries. We want to understand the ways in which media coverage of climate change interacts with individual traits (e.g. values, knowledge, attitudes) of national legislators in Peru, and how such interaction influences the design of policies. Additionally, it focuses on the circumstances that allow such effects to occur. The results reveal that a low policy information environment, coupled with issue attributes, enables both the media and alternative sources of information such as the Internet to play an important role in shaping how legislators perceive the issue and act upon it. In a highly vulnerable country such as Peru, the need to increase information of local issues related to climate change is necessary.

Continue reading

The Nature of Time: How the Covers of the World’s Most Widely-Read Weekly News Magazine Visualize Environmental Affairs

Time-1970-02-02Mark S. Meisner & Bruno Takahashi “The Nature of Time: How the Covers of the World’s Most Widely-Read Weekly News Magazine Visualize Environmental Affairs,” Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, Vol.7 No.2, pp. 255-276, 2013.


Scholars of environmental communication acknowledge the importance of visual representations in shaping perceptions and actions in relation to environmental affairs. Unlike with other media, including newspapers, television and film, research on the visualization of nature and environmental issues in magazines is rare. This study focuses on the covers of Time magazine, one of the world’s most influential news weeklies. A data set that includes all relevant covers from 1923 to 2011 is examined using a combination of quantitative and qualitative content analysis to analyze the visual representation of nature and environmental issues. The results show that the presence of environmental issues and nature on the covers has increased over the decades. Furthermore Time takes an advocacy position on some environmental issues, but it is a shallow one that is weakly argued through less-than-engaging imagery and fails to offer much in the way of solutions or agency to the reader.

Continue reading

Environmental Discourses and Discourse Coalitions in the Reconfiguration of Peru’s Environmental Governance

Ministry of Environment of PeruBruno Takahashi & Mark Meisner “Environmental Discourses and Discourse Coalitions in the Reconfiguration of Peru’s Environmental Governance,” Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, Vol.6, No.3, 346-364, 2012.


Environmental discourses are considered precursors to policy decisions as they delimit the range of policy options. The mass media are an important arena for those discourses and the discourse coalitions engaged in struggles to define policy and political issues. The study of such discourses requires an expansion to contexts outside developed countries, but within the influence of global forces, especially in how dominant global discourses influence national policy making. This article focuses on the competing discourses in the debate about the creation of the Peruvian Ministry of the Environment as portrayed by the media and the actors involved in the process. The results show a debate dominated by neoliberal discourses of administrative rationalism and economic rationalism, intertwined with the environmental requirements of a free trade agreement between Peru and the USA. In this case, democratic and environmental justice concerns—from both indigenous rights and anti-hegemonic perspectives—were marginalized. The study presents the operationalization of theoretical categorizations of environmental discourses within the concepts of storylines and discourse coalitions.

Continue reading