ENVIRONMENTAL COMMUNICATION A2 TASK Assessment task 2: Environmental Communication Tutorial Paper.
Students develop a tutorial paper based on original/independent research into a specific case study which interests them, which incorporates critical
analysis of the communication of an environmental issue in the media or public policy sphere, and offers a synthesis of academic perspectives and
contemporary practices of environmental communication.
The topic chosen should be relevant to the general topic of the week to which they are allocated by their tutor. The paper can be written on any topic of
your choice within the broad area of the assigned week’s topic, pursuing relevant issues which arouse your passions or curiosity. Please use the A1 sheets
and opportunities to consult with peers and your tutor in class for your ideas.
Students briefly present the outlines and key facts of the case study, and the central research question(s)/argument(s) of their draft paper to the class. This
will provide opportunities to incorporate suggestions and feedback from peers and the tutor into the final written paper.
ENVIRONMENTAL COMMUNICATION A2 TASKThe submitted written work should represent a thorough examination of the issues at stake in the case study for environmental communication in the
public sphere, offering close readings of relevant academic sources (eg. those provided in the DRR reserve, or independently sourced) and applying insights
to a clearly defined case study clearly articulating and justifying the ethical and policy implications of the case study in a concluding discussion.
Please use subheadings to divide the tutorial paper into clear sections such as below. This is only a suggestion, you may be creative, no need to follow this
to the letter.
1. Your name, tutorial group etc, email etc.
2. Descriptive title of your paper. Eg. “What are the obstacles to 100% renewable energy in Australia?”, “Student strikes for climate action: students moral
claims and the public responses of politicians” or “The acoustic ecology of whales and anti-whaling activists”, “Opportunities for and obstacles to desert
species conservation in the Tanami Indigenous Protected Area”, “To sell or to ban? Elephant conservation and policy approaches to the ilicit trade in ivory”
or the “The communication strategies of the Standing Rock Sioux Pipeline Protestors”, or “350.orgs vs. the Great Barrier Reef Foundation: Social Media
Strategies of corporate and community actors on the Great Barrier Reef Bleaching”, “Is Earth Hour more than a tokenism?” etc.
3. Introduction: General out line of the environmental problem you will explore – history, scientific basics, political context, key actors, public policy issues
etc (eg. impact of plastic pollution on seabirds). This should show why it is important (what is at stake?) and relevant to the broad weekly topic you have
ENVIRONMENTAL COMMUNICATION A2 TASK, SUGGESTED FORMAT, MARKING RUBRIC
chosen. Here you should explain key concepts, and quote academic sources ( both provided and found by your own research) that have helped you
conceptualise the issue, and sources of information. arch questions. State the questions you think interesting in all of this Why? When? How? What? Who.
Introduce key concepts: what are the concepts and theories involved: eg 'polluter pays principle' , 'precautionary principle', 'sustainable development',
climate justice, 'protected areas', 'the commons' 'externalities', ' common but differentiated responsibilities' 'green washing' 'astroturfing' . Seek definitions
from academic sources and discuss as these concepts are highly contested.
4. Focus in. Define case study as an example of a general problem. Be specific about a place (a country, a town, a jurisdiction, a nation, a forest, a mine, a
species, a policy objective). The actors (who are the key players? Individuals, organisations, corporations, NGOs, scientists, politicians, etc) Describe
environmental issue; what is the problem? How and by whom is it defined? What are the facts of the case? What do the experts say? What data is
available? What ‘nature’ are we talking about? What technology? What is your evidence? Is it reliable? What is known, unknown and hidden?
Communication: who communicates what and how to whom by what means? What is the controversy? What evidence and ethical principles are debated?
What strategies are or might be used in this field of environmental communication, what motives are behind these strategies. .
Examples fo case studies: the controversy over the chemical causes of bee colony collapse disorder in the European Union in the last 3 years. ). The events
and PR campaigns that lead to the collapse of Australia’s pro-renewable energy climate change policies (introduced by Rudd/Gillard Labour and repealed by
Abbott/Turnbull LNP. Who are the main players, what interests groups are there? How do they contest environmental politics, policy and science and
influence public debate and belief? Again, cite your sources academic and non-academic. ENVIRONMENTAL COMMUNICATION A2 TASK
5. Method. What you will do to explore the questions, investigate the issue and present findings. This should contain verbs like analyse, collate, critique,
document, compare, produce, argue, compose etc.. Using Cox’s theory of environmental communication (p. 99) I will critically analyse the recent TV
advertising strategy supporting coal on Australian commercial stations, comparing their framing of the relevant issues with the claims of #StopAdani. …. I
will analyse the Landscape Guardians links to to fossil fuel interests and antienvironmentalist thinktanks and write an investigative journalism picece on
how its strategy of anti-windfarm counter-science echoed similar campain tactics used in etc etc…..Margaret Atwoods novel Oryx and Crake presents a
world where genetically engineered species dominate a post-mass extinction event. How plausible is her dystopia?
ENVIRONMENTAL COMMUNICATION A2 TASK
6. Discussion- What are the main issues that arise from your engagement with the question and the topic. What is at stake, for whom? What judgements
do feel able to make in terms of responding to the questions arising from the topic and your own case study? What to relevant experts say? Are they or
vested interests capable of defining the public policy debate and response?
7. Conclusions? Any comment on what you hope, anticipate or expect the outcome or finding might be? Any difficulties or complexities worthy of future
research? Evaluation: what is at stake, what is your judgement? What is the truth likely to be? What would ‘justice’ look like? Who’s to blame ? Who has
the agency to make change happen? What change is possible? What to we need to do?