You are here

Environmental Communication and the Public Sphere

Environmental Communication and the Public Sphere

Fourth Edition

Discover the significance and practice of Environmental Communication!

April 2015 | 440 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
The Fourth Edition of Environmental Communication and the Public Sphere remains the only comprehensive introduction to the growing field of environmental communication, ranging from an historical overview of key terms to important legal and technological developments. This innovative book focuses on how human communication influences the way we perceive and act in the environment. It also examines how we interpret environmental “problems” and decide what actions to take with regard to the natural world.  

Three-time president of the Sierra Club, the largest environmental group in the United States, lead author Robert Cox leverages his vast experience to offer insights into the news media, Congress, environmental conflict, advocacy campaigns, and other real-world applications of environmental communication. New coauthor Phaedra Pezzullo brings two decades of applied experience working with grassroots environmental justice and health organizations, citizen advisory boards, and student-led campaigns, as well as her internationally recognized research on toxic pollution, social injustices, public advocacy, and more.

The authors introduce the reader to the major areas, terms, and debates of this evolving field. The Fourth Edition incorporates major revisions that include four new chapters on visual and popular culture, digital media and activism, the sustainability of college and corporation campuses, and the legal “standing” of citizens and nature. Updates throughout the text draw on timely topics including visual communication used in climate science campaigns, fracking and challenges to the right to know, plastic bag bans, consumer apps, digital activism for environmental justice, green marketing, and arguments on giving legal rights to nonhuman entities from dolphins to rivers.
Introduction: Speaking for/About the Environment
Chapter 1. Studying/Practicing Environmental Communication
The Study of Environmental Communication

Nature, Communication, and the Public Sphere

Diverse Voices in a “Green” Public Sphere

Global Study of Environmental Communication

Chapter 2. Contested Meanings of Environment
Learning to Love Nature

Wilderness Preservation Versus Natural Resource Conservation

Public Health and the Ecology Movement

Environmental Justice: Linking Social Justice and Environmental Quality

Movements for Sustainability and Climate Justice

Chapter 3. Symbolic Constructions of Environment
A Rhetorical Perspective

Communication Frames

Dominant and Critical Discourses

Chapter 4. The Environment in/of Visual and Popular Culture
The Environment and Popular Culture

Looking at the Environment

Moving Images of Disasters

Green Art, Marketing, and Graphic Design

Chapter 5. News Media and Environmental Journalism (Old and New)
Growth and Changes in Environmental News

News Production and the Environment

Media Effects

Digital Technologies and the Transformation of Environmental News

Chapter 6. Scientists, Technology, and Environmental Controversies
Science, Technology, and Symbolic Legitimacy

The Precautionary Principle

Early Warners: Environmental Scientists and the Public

Science and the Trope of Uncertainty

Communicating Climate Science

Chapter 7. Environmental Risk Communication and the Public
Dangerous Environments: Assessing Risk

Communicating Environmental Risks in the Public Sphere

Citizens Becoming Scientists

Mainstream News Media and Environmental Risk

Chapter 8. Advocacy Campaigns and Message Construction
Environmental Advocacy

Environmental Advocacy Campaigns

The Campaign to Protect Zuni Salt Lake

Message Construction

Chapter 9. Digital Media and Environmental Activism
Grassroots Activism and Digital Media

Environmental NGOs and Digital Campaigns

Multimodality and Networked Campaigns

Scaling Up: The “Peoples Climate March”

Chapter 10. Environmental Justice and Climate Justice Movements
Environmental Justice: Challenging a Place Apart

Challenging Indecorous Voices and Sacrifice Zones

The Global Movement for Climate Justice

Chapter 11. Sustainability and the “Greening” of Corporations and Campuses
Sustainability: An Interdisciplinary Approach

Free Market Discourse and the Environment

Corporate Sustainability Communication: Reflection or Deflection?

Greenwashing and the Discourse of Green Consumerism

Communicating Sustainability on and Through Campuses

Chapter 12. Public Participation in Environmental Decisions
Right to Know: Access to Information

Right to Comment

SLAPP: Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation

Growth of Public Participation Internationally

Chapter 13. Managing Conflict: Collaboration and Environmental Disputes
New Approaches to Environmental Disputes

Collaborating to Resolve Environmental Conflicts

Limits of Collaboration and Consensus

Common Criticisms of Collaboration

Chapter 14. Citizens’ (and Nature’s) Standing: Environmental Protection and the Law
Right of Standing and Citizen Suits

Landmark Cases on Environmental Standing

Global Warming and the Right of Standing

Do Future Generations and Non-Human Nature Have a Right of Standing?


A really useful dimension to the issues of environmental pollution, so will include a couple of lectures on environmental communicaiton utilising ideas from this book.

Professor Iseult Lynch
Schl of Geog, Earth & Env'l Sciences, Birmingham University
June 30, 2016

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 8

Chapter 11

J. "James" Robert Cox

Robert Cox is Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His principal research areas are environmental and climate change communication and strategic studies of social movements. A internationally-recognized leading scholar who helped found the field of environmental communication, Cox is coeditor of The Routledge Handbook of Environment and Communication (2015; second edition forthcoming), editor of the four-volume reference series Environmental Communication (Sage, 2016), and the author of numerous studies of environmental and climate change campaigns. He has served three times (1994-1996; 2000-2001; 2007... More About Author

Phaedra Carmen Pezzullo

Phaedra C. Pezzullo is Associate Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, and a dual citizen with the US and Italia. Her interdisciplinary background informs her research on environmental justice, climate justice, just transition, public advocacy, and tourist studies. Her book, Toxic Tourism (University of Alabama Press, 2007), won four awards, including the Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Book Award and the National Communication Association’s Environmental Communication Division Book Award. Among other publications, she coedited Green Communication and China (Michigan State University Press, 2020) and Environmental Justice and... More About Author

Purchasing options

Please select a format:

ISBN: 9781483344331