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Environmental Communication

Exam 1 Review
HEADS UP!!! There are still some questions that are not fully answered! If youre reading
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depend of just the information posted to be enough for the exam!
Note: for each of these you should also answer the following questions: What is an
example? Why is this an example?
Chapter 1:
What do we mean when we say language is a form of “symbolic action?”
The book defines “symbolic action” as “the property of language and other acts to do something
as well as literally to say something; to create meaning and orient us consciously to the world.”
Essentially this formal definition means that language helps to construct the reality by which we
all think and act with regards to particular rhetoric. An example of this is reality TV wilderness
shows like “Man vs. Wild.” Shows like these help to construct words like “nature” and “wild” in
particular ways that mold how we think and talk about them. This is an example because
viewers of this show may think of Bear eating bugs for instance when they hear the word
“nature.” This connection is made because that is how the show symbolically portrays the word
nature, which in return, causes the viewers of the show to associate the word nature with those
actions. (Added by Amber Johnson 1:21 PM)
Define and explain both the “pragmatic” function of language and the “constitutive”
function of language. Why is it important to distinguish these two functions?
The pragmatic function of language uses pathos and considers whether or not advocates (and
opponents) use paths in appropriate ways where the constitutive function considers how the
language of proponents and opponents constructs nature in a particular way. It’s important to
address and distinguish between these two functions because they define language as a
symbolic action. To elaborate: pragmatic function PERSUADES people to think and act. An
example would be to getting together a pr campaign for a environmental campaign, shapes our
attitudes to serve interests. Presumes Intentionality. Constitutive function CONSTRUCTS the
reality of by which people think and act. Does not presume intention. An example would be the
animal or nature shows we see on tv-Bear Grills.(Added by Amber Johnson 1:21 PM)
Define and explain the concept “public sphere
Public sphere is defined as ‘a realm of influence that is created when individuals engage others
in communication-- through conversation, argument, debate, or questioning-- about subjects of
shared concern or topics that affect a wider community. Public sphere is not just words, but also
visual and nonverbal symbolic actions. Public sphere does not have to be formal, but can also
be in everyday conversations. Examples include sit-ins, banners, film, etc.

a search for U. Citizens and community groups protested and were even arrested and the media and environmental journalists covered the events. describe. Two of these “voices/interests” include citizens and community groups and m wn officials and attempt to organize their neighbors to take action when environmental change is needed. The voices or the rhetors are the citizens while the interests and the texts are the community group.) Preservation and conservation of nature versus human exploitation of nature Early American settlers held a belief that it “was God’s will that man exploit nature for his proper ends. compare and contrast two of the “voices/interests” of the “green” public sphere.(Added by Amber Johnson 1:22 PM) Chapter 2: What are the 4 main “antagonisms” that opened up space for new types/modes of environmental communication? What was the rhetorical significance of each of these moments in the history of environmental communication in the US? 1.” This idea began to change in the 18th century when the view of nature as exploitable began to be challenged in three ways. environmental groups. anti-environmental journalism. An example of these forces at work is the recent protests at the White House regarding the tar sand pipelines from Canada. like citizens and community groups. Media and environmental journalism on the other hand not only act as their own voices in their coverage of issues and events but also conduits for other voices. who seek to influence public attitudes. one of the leaders of the . They are one of the most common and effective sources of environmental change.Identify. although in this case not heavily. Romantic ideals in art and literature.S. in order to bring awareness to the issues at hand. These two voices participate in the public sphere by sharing their opinions and broadcasting opinions of others with hopes of shaping the concerns and topics of the community. scientists and scientific discourse. How do they participate in the public sphere? How does their participation demonstrate the importance of a green public sphere? There are seven major points of view in the “green” public sphere including: citizens and community groups. To elaborate: One can see the voices and interests as rhetor/text relationship. corporations and business lobbyists. Preservation sought to ban commercial use of these areas to preserve wild forests and other naturals areas for appreciation. and public officials and regulators. Their participation demonstrates the importance of a green public sphere because they are vital in introducing and supporting environmental initiatives. Media and environmental journalism have a big role in agenda setting and influencing the public’s perception of the salience or importance of issues. Transcendentalism as a philosophical perspective proved to be important for the reevaluation of wild nature. In the 1880s arguments for the preservation of nature began to arise. media and environmental journalism. John Muir. study and recreation. national identity and transcendentalist ideals in writings of people such as Henry David Thoreau.

1970. Like we associate coming from the “South. to ensure future timber supplies.) Health of the global commons (and climate) vs. The main concerns people focused on at that time were pollution by factories. there is a growing recognition of the “limit” or inadequacy in societies economic systems. the effects of Muir’s essays resulted in the creation of Yosemite National park. “Pinchot instituted a sustained yeild policy. These groups defend against corrupt politics and climate change.” 2. These preservation efforts were influenced by the idea of utilitanarianism. wrote essays that evokes a sublime response from readers through his description of the rugged mountains and valleys of the Sierra Nevada. exposure t pesticides used on crops as well as radioactive fallout from above-ground nuclear testing. tons of local and regional groups have challenged dominant practices in their societies. The efforts of conservation promoted a plan of being wise and efficient with the use of natural resources. Across the globe. In 1962. refineries. corporate predation and the death of oceans.) Human health versus unregulated business and manufacturing activity By the 1960’s people began be concerned with the effects of environmental pollutants on human health.” The rhetorical significance of the environmental justice movement was that it redefined the term “environment” due to the studies that came about. On January 1. The term conservation is principally associated with Gifford Pinchot. 3.1920s various others warned of the dangers to human health from poor sanitation and occupational exposures to lead and other chemicals. abandoned toxic waste sites. ii. there have been several warnings about global warming. governmental indifference and pandemic poverty. urging local and world leaders to take immediate action. An example of conservation would be managing public forest lands as a source of timber. Preservation and the efforts associated with preservation began to soon class with a competing idea that sought to manage America’s forests and other natural resources for efficient and sustainable use. Silent Spring. President Richard Nixon signed the National Environmental Policy Act which requires every federal agency to prepare an environmental impact statement for any project that will affect the environment. according to which logged timber lands were to be reforested after cutting. By 1890. President Theodore Roosevelt’s chief of the Division of Forestry. and depletion of soil and water. Although Carson received credit of being a pioneer in the field.preservation movement.) Environmental justice versus a vision of nature as a place apart from the places where people live & work This section is rather lengthy about studies and what not but I would guess that with this third point it is talking about how people are attached to regions and places and how important there are to certain groups. there were earlier voices. iii. 4. this concern is that the health of the global commons is threatened by “business as usual” growth. Rachel Carson was credited with voicing the first public challenge to business practices that effect the natural environment in her book. in response. linking environmentalism with civil rights and social justice. beginning in the 1880s.and then it also coined the phrase “environmental racism”. industrial forestry an farming. what would bring the greatest good to the greatest number of people. a global “climate justice” movement has emerged. business as usual growth i. .

Environmental communication is constitutive that is. . Why are such “antagonisms” necessary? Why were new views being espoused considered “radical” at the time? Important to transforming prevailing beliefs. global climate change. actions.. infuse it with significance. work. What does Cox mean when he writes that there is no objective “environment” apart from language? Why does this then mean that language is “rhetorical?” Hey guys. and toxic wastes to urban sprawl. the concepts of nature and the environment are highly contingent. There is no “environment apart form language” because the environment wouldn’t exist if we didn’t talk about it and use signals to represent the particular parts of it. These people advocated thorough or complete political or social reform. environmentalists and citizens attempt to influence our perceptions and behavior toward the environment.58) The environment is something that we know partly through language and other symbols. Maybe add the following: It is through different differing social and symbolic modes that we understand and engage this world. Since we’re human beings we are symbol-using animals and the symbolic attachments and the way language mediates our relationship with the environments is important in shaping our perceptions. and learn. Nature isn’t something that is tangible that you can hold in your hand but instead it’s a realm of things that we have defined through rhetoric. our communication "helps to constitute. I see this in the lecture notes. they are subject to redefinition as new voices and interests contest prevailing understandings of our environments. and these choices are a more specifically rhetorical perspective to study the different ways in which journalists. air and water pollution. play. but I can’t seem to figure out the answer to this question. and the quality of life where people live. Any clues?! It’s not in the lecture notes its from the book: Here is my answer. that is. from wilderness. scientists." (p. corporations. That they are subject to redefinition as new voices and interests contest prevailing understandings of our environments. etc. This means that language is rhetorical because it has the power to in a sense create things and defined what they are through certain words and expressions.iv. or compose. An example of this would be the word nature. There is always a need to go against the grain and for the controversy aspect-the concepts of nature and the environment are highly contingent. representations of nature and environmental problems themselves as subjects for understanding. and act towards it. In addition-comes from page 58-Environment now signifies a wide range of concerns.. then different linguistic and symbolic choices are possible.

dominant discourse (the taken for-granted)-bravado for “Growth is good for the country”.metaphor: carrying over (or transference) of meaning from one word to another a trope is a figure of speech. taking on a stance that is decursive tradition that has sustained attitudes of human dominance over nature. insurgent discourse (those which challenge dominant discourse) (Added by Sarahtemple Stevenson 9/21 4:29) How is “common sense” an example of symbolic legitimacy? For example. that environmental change should be consumer-driven/based on individual behavior. that health care delivery should be market-driven. genre: distinct forms or types of speech that “share characteristics distinguising them” from other types of speech.” a) apocalyptic rhetoric b) jeremiad: refers to speech or writing that laments or denounces the behavior of people or society and warns of future consequences if society does not change its ways (pg 61) c) melodrama. “mother nature.. advertising.” What is genre and why do we study it to understand how language is rhetorical? What are some examples from environmental communication? Use the film Food. usually more pathos-driven their meaning changes over time.” focuses on purposeful and consequential efforts to influence society’s attitudes and behavior through communication.ex. Inc. for examples of genre. “mother nature. including public debate.? i don’t know if that’s answering the second part of the question? (Added by Sarahtemple Stevenson 9/21 4:26) . Trade Secrets documentary (Added by Sarahtemple Stevenson 9/21 4:34) Define and explain “dominant” discourse and “insurgent” discourse.. and other modes of symbolic action (pg 58) (Added by Sarahtemple Stevenson 9/21 4:39) What is metaphor and why is it considered a rhetorical trope? What are some examples from environmental rhetoric? metaphor: carrying over (or transference) of meaning from one word to another a trope is a figure of speech. news stories.Define and explain the “rhetorical perspective. protests. Why do rhetors employ visual rhetoric? How is visual rhetoric an example of both the pragmatic and constitutive functions of language? visual images persuade. Figures of speech. Figures of speech.

” Why is it so important? How is it achieved? one of the strongest norms of democratic society How transparency is typically achieved: 1) open meetings of government bodies (controversy of Vice President Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force) 2) public access to documents related to said meanings.” This has been especially true of environmental decisions in recent years. decisions (added by SarahTemple Stevenson 9/21 3:09) “One of the strongest norms of democratic society is the principle of transparency. (p.example of a Sunshine law. Internationally. Simply put.What is a “condensation” symbol? a word or phrase that “stirs vivid impressions involving the listeners’ most basic values” (pg 67) images of polar bears and global warming (Added by Sarahtemple Stevenson 9/21 4:20) Chapter 3: How does Cox define public participation? the ability of individual citizens and groups to influence environmental decisions through 1) access to relevant information.Everyone has the right of access to information on the environment with no obligation to prove a particular interest. 85) This is achieved through “Sunshine” laws. this principle gained recognition in the Declaration of Bizkaia. have access to documents (notes) Example: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 1966. As Hays noted. and 3) the right. 2) public comments to the agency that is responsible for a decision. Passes . through the courts to hold public agencies and business accountable for their environmental decisions and behaviors (page 84 a nice breakdown of public participation) (added by SarahTemple Stevenson 9/21 3:09) Public Participation is the belief that “those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process.. political power lies increasingly in an ability to understand the complexities of environmental issues.’ This recognition also illustrates the growing importance of information--and who controls it--in shaping environmental policies. this is the belief in openness in government and a right of citizens to know about information important to their lives. and “the key to that power is information and the expertise and technologies required to command it.” As a result. 84) Define “transparency. the most interesting political drama of recent years has been ‘the continues struggle between the environmental community and the environmental opposition over the control of information’ “ (p.. which proclaimed that transparency requires ‘access to information and the right to be informed. which require most government bodies to hold meetings in public.

ended the silence about toxic releases was huge.” Such actions range from constructing a highway to adopting a forest management plan. (More on p. As implemented by the Council on Environmental Quality. (addedf by SarahTemple Stevenson 9/21 3:22) What is the Right of Public Comment? How are Environmental Impact Statements produced and circulated in such a way as to exercise and protect this right? What more could be done? Typical forms of public comment include testimony at public hearings. and participation on citizen advisory pane ls. 2) any adverse environmental effects that could not be avoided should the proposal be implemented. One of the legal rights of the public is the “right to know. (added by SarahTemple Stevenson 9/21 3:09) What is the Toxic Releases Inventory? What are some of its limitations? Why has it been effective in getting industry to reduce the pollution they release into the air. written communications (emails.000 lbs. used to require industry reporting for as little as 500 lbs of releases. and soil? TRI.” Describe the Freedom of Information Act and how it is used by the public to exercise this right. exchanges of views at open houses and workshops. Regardless of the specific action that is proposed.relies on self-reporting. have access to documents. Effectiveness of TRI. faxes. 94) . all EISs must describe three things: 1) the environmental impact of the proposed action. no control over quantity of data. the National Environmental Policy Act (commonly known as NEPA) requires federal agencies to prepare a detailed environmental impact statement (EIS) for a ny proposed legislation or major actions “significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. need records. letters. some companies on the worst toxic offenders immediately entered into voluntary programs to reduce their emissions. several communities began using local data to force more industries to “follow suit”.650 different chemicals are reported. Limitations of TRI. (In some cases. documents related to the decisions of federal agencies. and 3) alternatives to the proposed action. passed because right of public comment (by way of publicaiton of intended action in the Federal Register) not sufficient. documents relatefd to the decisions of federal agencies. toxic releases have decreased but waste pollution has not. water.require most government bodies to hold meetins in public.because right of public comment (by way of publication of intended action in the Federal Register) was not sufficient.) FOIA 1966. (example of a “sunshine” law . They shall be written in plain language and may use appropriate graphics so that decision makers and the public can readily understand them. a less detailed environmental assessment may be substituted). and research reports). now only have to report if more than 5. need records.

The book says it is important to differentiate mainstream and online media. New York Times editorial on [ ] criticizing Republican presidential candidates for calling climate change theory a hoax.freepress. providing examples specific to environmental reporting: political economy.does not foster understanding. ongoing and multi-faceted issue of ocean pollution).net/ownership/chart/main Examples: September 7. political economy: media political economy refers to the “influence of ownership and the economic interests of the owners of newspapers and television networks on the news content of these media sources” (159) http://www. Discuss the following aspects of news production. For however.html? mod=googlenews_wsj http://www. as specific events.wsj.html Example: Beder study showing that most commercial media organizations owned by multinational organizations with financial interests in other business such as energy. media compensates by covering these unobtrusive threats in the same way as traditional news stories. gatekeeping and the environmental beat . 9 Chapter 5: What is the definition of “mainstream” media? What are some examples? Network television and cable news. Examples include chemical pollution and climate change (although for latter. NBC did little to report on PCB cleanup controversy (GE owns NBC) 2. threats are “unobtrusive” because they are “remote from one’s personal experience” (157). What is meant by “unobtrusive environmental threats” and how does this characterization of such threats affect media reporting/discourse? 1.cjr. media will also simply wait until there is a major event such as an oil spill (instead of say. bald eagle. and http://www. gatekeeping. 2011 editorial in the Wall Street Journal discussing alternative theory of climate change (cosmic rays). which is necessary for productive dialogue about solutions. oversimplifies matters greatly . or a significant medical report (example of report on damage of methyl mercury on children). may be changing). 2. news magazines and radio news and 3. This. How and why do these factors constrain news production generally and environmental news in particular? (p. 159) 1. http://online.nytimes. will report on climate “event” or by covering topic of biodiversity by focusing on “charismatic fauna” such as pandas.Information for what more can be done can be found on p. newspapers.

or simply reporting what is on a press release (for example.. and environmentalists? Media frames are the “central organizing c) “image events” (yet as we have seen recently. the metaphor of gatekeeping is used to suggest that certain individuals in newsrooms decide what gets through the “gate” and what stays out. the staging of image events does not always garner media attention) What are media frames? What do they consist of? How do they function rhetorically to sustain dominant discourses about 3. and narrative structure) into a coherent whole to suggest what is at issue” (quoting Rodriguez 2003).the case of “video news releases” http://www. quotes. 160) a) One driver of coverage is whether or not the story can be framed in terms of conflict. Headline: “Mercury Damage ‘Irreversable’” Headline: . Two reasons why envir onmental journalism difficult to do: a) unobtrusive nature of many environmental problems b) lack of education. newsworthiness: The ability of a news story to attract readers or viewers (p. But is that still the case? Consider this representative example: http://abcnews. Example of “framing:” coverage of methyl mercury exposure. Cox says this has hindered coverage of climate change. leads. training. Simply put.” b) coverage depends on availability of visual images. visual representations. background especially with regard to environmental science -this can be a problem with science reporting more generally. Crime coverage often characterized in this way: “If it bleeds it leads. -my interview with Washington Post journalists c) fewer journalists on the environmental beat d) fewer investigative journalists e) reliance on “fake” news . especially when relying on news wires.the connect different semantic elements of a news story (headlines. nature. press release on a study published by scientists at prestigious university in prestigious journal challenging widely held beliefs).Gatekeeping: The decisions of editors and media managers to cover or not to cover certain environmental stories illustrates what has been called the gatekeeping role of news production.go..

even without consciously trying to do so? There is no such thing as objectivity. science reporter for the New York Times. Quick way to get response to an opinion.. framing ecotage as “terrorism. then they are not able to get any form of balance. It also reinvigorates environmental communication in the public sphere by giving an outlet for those who are seriously involved with enviromental communication. One outstanding weakness it seems is that it is based on a single perspective most of the time..they do this in order to make sure both “sides” are equally represented.. the maverick opinion discounted the scientific consensus. journalists sometimes unintentionally seek out maverick opinions that discount the other side. Media frames can also “function rhetorically to sustain dominant discourses about economy. Ways to get opinions out there without being criticized/edited. What are some key characteristics of blogs? What are some of their strengths? Weaknesses? More specifically. sparks debate (unlike other outlets in this sense.scientists gave examples of acid rain. “Activism” She is a scientist. nature. Example: Gina Kolata..opinions were taken from other people (not just scientists) and because the whole picture of both opinions were presented to the public. and if people ONLY read the one blog. 166) Why is potentially problematic to produce “balanced” reporting when reporting on pressing environmental issues? When a “left” and “right” position are always assumed. Values play a role in the decision to publish a story. so obviously she is going to place value on this study because one of the things most important to her is science. Example: global warming. how do they reinvigorate environmental communication in the public sphere? Ways for newspapers to save money.. or enviornmentalists... example of oil drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. How has the Internet opened up space for more environmental reporting? Is it having an impact? A positive one? anyone have anything for this one. where the place the story. sources that are used. cannot talk things through with your TV).. (p. then journalists seeked out other opinions to have a full representation of what people thought about the topic.. A possible response . This study will be viewed by her with a skewed perception.” Why is the norm of objectivity so difficult to achieve? How is it that journalists can sometimes produce stories that privilege some voices/interests over others.?? I don't know why but I feel like this is more of an opinion type question. Coverage of the Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project: “Science” vs.” Example: coverage of radical activists.“Pregnant Women Eating Too Much Fish” Frames are often the sites of contention: competing frames usually at play.

is a form of Jeremiad in that it laments the present state of the food industry and warns against further downfall. It has not necessarily been a good thing because of the fact that the Internet allows for all sorts of “news” reporting. It urges audiences to take moral action and to rethink the conditions and to challenge them. I feel like this could be used as an additional question within the long essay.being that through the Internet people who have the concerns of the environment as a priority. Can someone explain what she means by the use of genre in food inc. they can search out news and media about their interests. like this one. --She mentioned in class that one example of genre was “melodrama” when the mother’s two year old died from eating a hamburger--goes through the drama of the mother’s great suffering and then her fight to take on the food industry. She also mentioned talking about the use of genre in food inc. but when was the last time you turned on your local news and saw a hard hitting report on a new windmill being installed in America. It also demonstrates instances of melodrama such as the activist mother with her deceased two year old son pushing for legislative changes to restaurant/plant processing regulations. It does not have to be fact checked and can even be a personal opinion. (I think she wants us to draw our own examples. about different genres that we saw in the movie which appeal to audiences and get them to take action. she also mentioned something about “pathos” so you could include how it appeals to that notion) . Most mainstream news media focus on hard hitting stories like shootings and things of that nature.? Food Inc. Online resources allow for those out their who are interested to report on the events pertaining to the environment.