Environmental Communication


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The ICA Environmental Communication Interest Group aims to advance research on the interplay of the environment with any level of communication and in any setting. Research on health, risk, and science communication issues related to the environment are especially germane. The group welcomes work from any perspective (including critical, cultural, ethnic/minority, feminist) employing any research method motivated by sound research questions about environmental communication.

The group seeks to foster a relationship with other scholarly environmental communication associations to forge global ties among academics and practitioners of environmental communication to increase research, education, funding, and publication opportunities.

The Environmental Communication Interest Group is also a vehicle for advancing the Greening of ICA in the areas of scholarship and education. It will help communication scholars improve the environmental performance of their universities, the media industries, and environmental organizations. The group will support members to integrate sustainability issues into their teaching and promote research in this area.

The interest group began with it's initial meeting at ICA 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts with nearly 40 attendees. In 2012 we established bylaws and a full set of officers. By 2013 we have more than 180 members. We maintain a a group web site (see link above) and discussion forums for group members in the MyICA/Organization Tools area of the ICA web site.


The IECA (International Environmental Communication Association) will hold a special panel entitled "Unrest as a strategic environmental communication strategy" on Monday, May 26 at the Kirkland room of the Sheraton (10:30-11:45AM). See below for details.

Unrest as a strategic environmental communication strategy

In 1999, Seattle was the flash-point of civil disobedience and protest against globalization when a number of pro-social organizations demonstrated against the meeting of the World Trade Organization. The conventional construction of these events focused on acts of violence, but the precise nature of what transpired, and who inflicted violence on whom, remains highly contested. Several of the groups involved were environmental advocacy organizations. The Northwest region has also been the site of many acts of active resistance against forestry companies, most notably in the instance of high-profile tree-sitting efforts. From the beginning, the modern environmental movement has been associated with civil disobedience and extreme protest. That is why environmentalist and author Paul Hawken chose “Blessed Unrest” as the title for his comprehensive history of the movement.
Although many of the more notable have faded from the headlines, environmental advocates remain detained in Russia and passionate protesters are threatening Argentine-Uruguay relations.
As a strategic communication strategy, has this approach been good or bad for the cause? This panel will examine past and present instances of environmental groups pushing and exceeding the legal limits of protest, and debate the implications of these efforts on the ultimate goals.
Session Organizer & Moderator: Lee Ahern, laa182@psu.edu, Penn State, IECA Chair
Patrick D. Murphy—Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Studies, School of Media & Communication, Temple University
Charles T. Salmon—Acting Chair of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Ahmed Gaya—Seattle-area activist who has been involved in the climate justice movement for nearly a decade. He has organized direct action campaigns with non-profits and grassroots groups alike, including Greenpeace, ForestEthics, Rainforest Action Network and Cascadia Forest Defenders. Ahmed currently works with the Rising Tide network, an all-volunteer global movement using direct action to challenge the root causes of climate change and promote climate justice.
Cary Greenwood—Assistant Professor/Public Relations Sequence Head, School of Journalism, Middle Tennessee State University


  • Richard J. Doherty, Chair
  • Merav Katz-Kimchi, Vice-Chair
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