Next month I will be giving two talks at St. Thomas University in Minneapolis. I’ll be focussing on how environmental communication needs to help build a culture of sustainability (or whatever you prefer to call an ecologically and socially just future) while it tries to address immediate issues. Here are the summaries.
April 25: The Role of Communication in Transitioning to a Culture that Supports Sustainability
Achieving sustainability will require more than just clean energy sources, protecting the oceans, eliminating poverty and the rest of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. To support all of these, we need a transition to a culture of sustainability. That means our beliefs, values, aesthetics, worldviews, and institutions – in sum, our culture, must change. For that to happen, communication about ourselves and our place in the world must necessarily evolve. We need a new story about who we are as a species.
April 26: Talking Like a Mountain: Climate, Nature and the Futures We Represent
In the short to medium term, environmental communicators urgently need to find more effective ways to convince people and organizations to act to protect the Earth and its inhabitants. That communication must also cultivate the kinds of values and perceptions of the world that will support long-term ecological and social sustainability. That’s “talking like a mountain.”
Last fall I was in Helsinki to give two presentations at the 2nd ICOS Scientific Conference. ICOS is the Integrated Carbon Observation System, a European-wide research infrastructure that is developing a harmonized system for collecting and disseminating carbon cycle and greenhouse gas data. In their words, ICOS is an “organisation of eleven member countries and over 100 greenhouse gases measuring stations aimed at quantifying and understanding the greenhouse gas balance of the Europe and neighbouring regions.”
Needless to say, the conference delegates were almost all bio-physical scientists who, I assumed, knew little or nothing about communication theory generally or climate communication research specifically. Keep that in mind as you read on because that informed my approach to the two talks.
In other words, if you are somewhat familiar with the research on climate communication, this should be pretty familiar ground. But if you are new to the topic, I hope this will be a good primer for you.
The first presentation, a keynote, was about the challenges of communicating about climate change in the Post-COP21 context. The second was about some of the main things we know about good practices in climate communication. Both of these talks were meant to synthesize of some of the current thinking among scholars and practitioners on these topics.
What follows is the approximate text of the first talk, edited somewhat for this context. I’ll do a post on the second talk shortly.Continue reading →
I have just finished up grading and other final tasks for the January 10-week session of IECA’s online course Environmental Communication: Research Into Practice. I almost called it the Winter session, but I am not sure we had Winter here in the northeast US and I know it wasn’t winter in other parts of the world where some of the participants live.
From my perspective, this was a great session, the best yet. The course was over-full and we had an amazing group of participants, including practitioners, graduate students, the curious, and even a couple of profs. They hailed from India, the US, Singapore, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Ecuador, and other places. All of this led to some really rich discussions and the sharing of diverse perspectives and experiences. Continue reading →
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 →
What should environmental and sustainability communication focus on?
Should it emphasize the science of environmental issues or the risk of what could be lost? Should it focus on the responsibility people have to do something? Should it stress the future we want and the implications for nature? These are complex questions that we should be asking before we start talking about what frames, language, and images to use in our communications. Continue reading →
Bruno Takahashi, Carol Terracina-Hartman, Katie Amann, and Mark S. Meisner “Headlining Energy Issues: A Content Analysis of Ethanol Headlines in the U.S. Elite Press,” presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) 2014 Conference, Montréal, Québec, August 8, 2014. Continue reading →
Bruno 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.