Environmental communication


In June of 2014, geologists reported that, for the first time, more earthquakes greater than magnitude 3.0 occurred in Oklahoma than in California [Terry-Cobo, 2014]. In Oklahoma, the frequency of earthquakes that are strong enough to be felt has increased 44 times in recent years and this has been correlated to a dramatic increase in high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing (HVHHF) operations [Hume, 2014]. The aims of this study are: (1) to determine how hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, and Oklahoma earthquakes are framed by print-based media at the local, national, and international levels; (2) to understand how the association between these factors has evolved over time; and (3) to further analyze the differences between experts on the subjects of causality and threat characterization (e.g., severity). A total of 169 print news reports were included for analysis: 48 local/Oklahoma reports (28% of total sample), 72 national reports (42% of total sample) and 49 international news reports (30% of total sample). The findings reveal significant differences in the frame techniques, sources of information, and the foci of subject matter between three different media scales in print based media. Results, discussion and implications are provided.


This study aims to test the perceptions of audiences to positive and non-aggressive humour in two popular articles. The themes were the effects of climate change on biodiversity and the over-exploitation of species. Both articles were published on-line at a Portuguese environmental site, and readers were asked to answer to an on-line survey. A total of 159 participants submitted their answers concerning their receptiveness to the humour, demographic information and comments. Results showed that the use of humour in popular articles is considered valuable for the majority of these readers, but different degrees of receptiveness suggest caution in its use.


How users discuss climate change online is one of the crucial questions (science) communication scholars address nowadays. This study contributes by approaching the issue through the theoretical concept of online public arenas. The diversity of topics and perceptions in the climate change discourse is explored by comparing different arenas. German journalistic articles and their reader comments as well as scientific expert blogs are analyzed by quantitative manual and automated content analysis (n=5,301). Findings demonstrate a larger diversity of topics and interpretations in arenas with low barriers to communication. Overall, climate change skepticism is rare, but mostly present in lay publics.


This article proposes a classification of the current differences between online videos produced specifically for television and online videos produced for the Internet, based on online audiovisual production on climate change. The classification, which consists of 18 formats divided into two groups that allow comparisons to be made between television and web formats, was created through the quantitative and qualitative content analysis of a sample of 300 videos. The findings show that online video's capacity to generate visits is greater when it has been designed to be broadcast on the Internet than when produced for television.


In this article it is investigated the relationship between advertising and sustainability by evaluating the perceptions of employees of advertising agencies in the Pan-Amazon region using pre-defined indicators. Seeking to identify the level of environmental practices adopted by advertising agencies toward the goal of building a sustainable society, it was interviewed advertising professionals about whether they saw themselves as contributing to changing consumer society towards a new society based on economic efficiency, social equality and ecological equilibrium. To answer these questions it was used quantitative survey data complemented by qualitative research using in-depth interviews. Results suggest that, from the point of view of advertising professionals, advertising agencies do not have much interest in contributing to a more sustainable society. Moreover, our research showed how the lack of strong ties within advertising trade associations further contribute to the weakness of efforts aimed at this area.


Of all the online information tools that the public relies on to collect information and share opinions about scientific and environmental issues, Twitter presents a unique venue to assess the spontaneous and genuine opinions of networked publics, including those about a focusing event like the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident following the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Using computational linguistic algorithms, this study analyzes a census of English-language tweets about nuclear power before, during, and after the Fukushima nuclear accident. Results show that although discourse about the event may have faded rapidly from the news cycle on traditional media, it evoked concerns about reactor safety and the environmental implications of nuclear power, particularly among users in U.S. states that are geographically closer to the accident site. Also, while the sentiment of the tweets was primarily pessimistic about nuclear power weeks after the accident, overall sentiment became increasingly neutral and uncertain over time. This study reveals there is a group of concerned citizens and stakeholders who are using online tools like Twitter to communicate about global and local environmental and health risks related to nuclear power. The implications for risk communication and public engagement strategies are discussed.


There is growing recognition that effective science communication should not merely focus on addressing scientific literacy but must also open dialogue between scientists and the public, build trust, and increase public interest in environmental research. Citizen science BioBlitzes offer a useful approach for science communicators to address many of these key aims. We explore the BioBlitz concept, learnings and outcomes based on a case study of a BioBlitz held in Sydney, Australia. We found that participants valued learning about biodiversity on the day and importantly, all participants (scientists and citizen scientists) rated interacting and learning from the experience as one of the main benefits.


Interviews were conducted with 110 marine users to elicit their salient beliefs about recording marine species in a citizen science project. The results showed that many interviewees believe participation would increase knowledge (either scientific, the community's, or their own). While almost half of the interviewees saw no negative outcomes, a small number expressed concerns about targeting of marine species by others, or restrictions on public access to marine sites. Most of the people surveyed (n = 106) emphasised the importance of well-designed technological interfaces to assist their data collection, without which they would be unlikely to engage in the project.


The urgent state of our global environment calls for collective action, which depends in large part on effective science communication for better understanding and awareness. Activities and institutions that provide opportunities to learn about nature all ultimately rely on scientific findings about nature. Although science produces the knowledge and information about nature, for the content to be accessible and meaningful to the general public, it needs to be processed by what I call science content design. This process is similar to the concepts of interpretation in tourism, or aesthetic understanding in alternative science education. This study is a theoretical exploration on the definition and nature of science content design, what constitutes its process, and how the content can be designed. Focusing on the fields of macro-biology, I also discuss the types of biological content generally used in nature-based experiences, and examine model cases of biological content design.


This paper explores media coverage of climate science through a selection of Spanish newspapers (El País, El Mundo, ABC, Expansión and Levante). We selected a stratified random sample of 363 items to be studied for eleven years (2000-2010). Content analysis allowed us to find out media attention paid to climate science, prevalence of informative tables, evaluation and characterization of news, as well as the presence of questioning or rejection of climate change. According to main results, press coverage of climate science in Spain was mainly focused on the consequences rather than on the causes or natural sources, and media attention paid to it was limited. Overlapping with social and macroeconomic problems in the country also contributed to communication of climate science as a controversial and uncertain science through informative framings.


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