The CDE Executive Committee’s research and outreach is driven by the passions and needs of community partners, affiliates, and students. Our work exceeds local borders and we share our research nationally and globally, including: talks and a tour on a just transition and scientific expertise, talks on energy democracy, art show dialogue between artists and scientists on communication, issues about undemocratic patterns of oppression and indigenous communities. CDE projects and topics weave throughout our praxis--social justice, climate communication, local food, and more--all require we bridge the scales of local, national, and global imaginaries.
Cultural discourses can inform the design of public participation and engagement on a variety of environmental issues
Inclusion is associated with action. Dialogue participants consider inclusion as involving activities like risk-taking, watching for opportunities to grow, supporting, sharing, accepting, and engaging difference intentionally.
When can communication heal divisive politics and help us hear more diverse voices? In what ways are communication practices—speaking, writing, listening, sharing—vital for success and empowerment?
Climate action is often articulated by cities in numbers.
What do these numbers leave out?
Tracing meanings attached to democratic engagement practices provides insights for designing future public participation and theorizing public participation in energy governance.
Energy democracy calls for the democratization of energy infrastructure and prioritizes public participation in just transitions.
Engaging Publics Through Climate Math: Lessons from Boulder’s 2016 Climate Action Plan
Energy democracy hopes to foster community engagement and participation in shaping our transition from fossil fuels to a renewable energy-based economy. These considerations result from critiques by environmental justice, climate justice, and just transition advocates. Although many are sympathetic to energy democracy ideals, climate goals often are articulated in math terms. This essay defines the aforementioned key terms and asks: what are the limitations and possibilities of engaging publics when climate action solely is articulated in numbers? A compelling case study is the City of Boulder – recognized as a global leader in climate science and a national leader in innovative environmental planning. This essay shares work from 2016, when the City shared a climate action plan for public feedback, supported several public participation events, and passed climate action legislation goals. We argue a just transition and energy democracy ideals are hindered if we reduce climate goals to math.
Contributing Researchers: Tiara R. Na’puti, Phaedra C. Pezzullo, Leah Sprain, & Lydia Reinig
This article is now available in the Journal of Argumentation in Context volume 7, issue 3 from John Benjamins Publishing
Environmental Communication and the Public Sphere
Internationally recognized researcher Professor Phaedra Pezzullo (CDE Co-Director) and three-time Sierra Club President Robert Cox combine their expertise in the award-winning Environmental Communication and the Public Sphere (5th edition). The textbook focuses on the role that human communication plays in influencing the ways we perceive the environment. This edition also explores recent events—the Trump Administration, wolf conservation, public land milestones, the Flint water crisis, corporate disinformation campaigns, new alliances for a “just transition” in a growing renewable energy economy, the People’s Climate March, international legal precedents, and more—to illustrate key terms and the significance of environmental communication. It remains the most comprehensive introductory text in the growing field of environmental communication.
Contributing Researcher: Phaedra Pezzullo
More details about the contents and reviews of Environmental Communication and the Public Sphere are available from Sage Publishing.
Citizens Speaking as Experts: Expertise Discourse in Deliberative Forums
Analysing how participants use expertise discourse during environmental forums, this study examines how expert and lay knowledge are infused in deliberative democracy and the necessary distinctions between ways of knowing within deliberative epistemology. Through Grounded Practical Theory and Communication as Design, we analyse how expertise discourse contributes to and might undermine democratic deliberation through empirical analysis of transcripts from environmental forums in the United States. Our analysis describes three forms of expertise discourse used by participants within deliberative forums: institutional expertise, local expertise, and issue expertise. Expertise discourse is co-produced between participants, contributes to the information base, and most frequently comes in the form of institutional expertise. This discourse practice poses two problems for deliberative democracy: participants presenting information as an evident solution, and expertise discourse creating hierarchies that foreclose participation. We offer design recommendations for how to manage these problems within environmental forums.
Contributing Researchers: Leah Sprain & Lydia Reinig
This article is now available in Environmental Communication volume 12, issue 3 from Taylor & Francis online