For all my skepticism toward most “climate skepticism,” I find the case of Judith Curry very interesting. This recent post at her blog Climate Etc. repeatedly resorts to metaphors like “‘Alice down the rabbit hole’ moments” and “bucket[s] of cold water being poured over my head” to describe her experiences venturing outside the warm world of academic climate science to one that’s exposed to the harsh winds of public and media scrutiny. The post includes an account of her journey from mainstream climate scientist to one who is “sadder and wiser as a result of the hurricane wars [that followed the publication of an article published in the aftermath of Katrina], a public spokesperson on the global warming issue owing to the media attention from the hurricane wars, more broadly knowledgeable about the global warming issue, much more concerned about the integrity of climate science, listening to skeptics, and a blogger (for better or for worse).”
In recounting her story, Curry writes:
For the past year an international task force has been developing plans for a professional organization dedicated to the field of environmental communication (EC). Up to this point, we have been mostly working internally. However, today we are releasing a strategic planning document for comment and discussion within and beyond the EC community of scholars, practitioners, students and activists.
Please download the International Environmental Communication Association strategic planning document (PDF) and have a look. We invite you to leave comments here on the blog, or send them to the Environmental Communication Network mailing list.
Please note that “International Environmental Communication Association” is a working name for the organization. In addition to your comments on the details of the proposed organization, we would also like to hear your suggestions for a name.
If you support the effort to build and promote the field and to improve and expand the practice of environmental communication, then I and my colleagues on the task force urge you to contribute to the discussion. And please pass this message on to people and networks you think might be interested.
As most ECNers are probably aware, the entire environmental communications discipline took a body blow last week when the 10:10 organization released the flat-out bizarre web film “No Pressure.” In a series of scenes, climate-change skeptics are detonated into flying bits of flesh and geysers of blood. Including children. Unbelievable.
Thanks to everyone who took a minute to vote this past week. There were 287 votes in the poll of ECNers‘ interests in environmental communication. Here are the specific results:
Make of this what you will. Not scientific, but still useful. First, it’s good to know roughly how interests break out. Clearly ECN has a healthy professional component, but I also think there is room to grow in that area. I really don’t know what the balance should be, but my guess is there are more professionals out there than academics. It’s more fodder for the association task force.
This week I was updating my Nature and Popular Culture lecture on fashion. I was looking for new examples of how people are engaging with issues and meanings of sustainability in the world of haute and not so haute couture. Of course, that industry is a kind of exemplar of wastefulness, so it is always interesting to see what’s going on as forward thinkers try to reform its practices and its image. New York’s green fashion week has just come and gone with various designers touting their eco-chic offerings…organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, etc. You can argue that despite the interest in new fabrics, it’s still an exploitative consumeristic racket and all the green talk is just window dressing – literally, but that’s not what I want to talk about today.
Systems Supernova Dress by Tina Sparkles (photo by Andrew Sterling)
What caught my attention was the work of Austin, Texas designer and activist, Tina Sparkles. Sparkles is the author of the newly released book Little Green Dresses: 50 Original Patterns for Repurposed Dresses, Tops, Skirts, and More. She’s got a DIY and reuse vibe going, and lots of passion for the green. One of her latest designs, the Systems Supernova Dress, is intended to communicate a message about electronic waste (e-waste) and the need to think more holistically about interconnected systems:
Made mostly of recycled computer wiring, the Systems Supernova dress addresses the growing problem of e-waste in American culture and explores the concept of systems thinking as it relates to our ecosystem. Each computer wire is situated in a closed loop system that interacts with all the other systems within the dress. Movement within one system influences other parts of the whole.
Intriguing examples of environmental communication can happen anywhere, and that’s a cool thing.