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HST 330: Environmental Communication

A course guide highlighting Library resources related to topics covered in HST 330 Environmental Communication

Welcome to the HST 330 Course Guide

Welcome to the Environmental Communication Course Guide, designed to assist students in HST 330. Click through the tabs to learn more about how to access books and e-books, reference sources such as dictionaries and encyclopedias, popular and scholarly articles from databases, as well as reliable information from the internet, NGOs and government sources.

HST 330 Course Description

There has never been a more important time to take a new approach to communicating. Scientists, engineers, educators and managers must repeatedly bring knowledge and solvent ideas to bear on our environmental problems, as part of larger public discourses. This course provides students with the environmental knowledge and tools in order to communicate with all stakeholders about environmental matters. It provides a summary of important communication principles, advice on dealing with the mass media, explaining risks, planning effective communication campaigns and communicating across cultures. Informing the public is now a critical part of the job of every single university graduate. The Environmental Communication course demonstrates to students, step by step, how it’s done, and is an essential guide for communicating complex information to groups not familiar with scientific material. The entire communications process is addressed, from message planning, audience analysis and media relations to public speaking - skills a good communicator must master for effective public dialogue. This course provides all the knowledge and tools students need in order to reach a target audience in a persuasive and highly professional manner.

The crucial interdependence between science, risk and public is explored and illuminated in a revealing overview of the major environmental issues which society is facing in our days. This class explores the communication and public forums that are used to address environmental risk controversies in the U.S. and other nations. Decisions to protect wilderness, health, or the global climate result not just from the “facts” or environmental sciences alone. What we choose to do about the environment often arises from the influence of language itself as well as the diverse voices in the public sphere—for example, citizens who speak at public hearings, “toxic tours” of polluted neighborhoods, corporate “clean coal” ads, social networking sites like (climate change), and popular films like The Day After or An Inconvenient Truth.  The course will illustrate topics on climate change adaptation, disasters and human well being, environmental literacy, hazard preparedness, resilient communities, behavioral models, intention to act, environmental activism, decision-making processes, responsible citizenship, environnemental racism, gender and environnemental participation, environnemental information and risk communication.

This course will certainly help produce the skills for environmental communications sorely needed for industry, government and non-profit groups as well as an informed public. The importance of practicing good environmental communications is underlined for the success of all those concerned about the quality of our environment. To keep society redirecting towards sustainability, everyone must work skillfully with more than mere information. This course aims to assist students in the construction of well-planned, well targeted, and effective environmental communications.

Finally environmental communication refers to the study and practice of how individuals, institutions, societies, and cultures craft, distribute, receive, understand, and use messages about the environment and human interactions with the environment. This includes a wide range of possible interactions, from interpersonal communication to virtual communities, participatory decision making, and environmental media coverage. From the perspective of practice, it is defined as the application of communication approaches, principles, strategies and techniques to environmental management and protection. As an academic field, environmental communication emerged from interdisciplinary work involving communication, environmental studies, environmental science, risk analysis and management, sociology, and political ecology.

Research Services Librarian

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Courtney Walsh
Research & Instructional Services Librarian
Samuel C. Williams Library
Stevens Institute of Technology
(201) 216-5411