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. Environmental communication as an academic field emerged from interdisciplinary work involving communication, environmental studies, environmental science, risk analysis and management, sociology, and political ecology.

Environmental communication is also a type of symbolic action that serves two functions. Those functions are pragmatic and constitutive. Environmental communication is pragmatic because it helps individuals and organizations to accomplish goals and literally do things through communication. Examples of this include educating, alerting, persuading and collaborating. Environmental communication is constitutive because it helps to shape people's understandings of environmental issues, themselves, and Nature; it shapes the meanings we hold of these things. Examples of this include values, attitudes, and ideologies vis-à-vis Nature and environmental issues and problems.

According to Robert Cox,[1] the field of environmental communication is composed of seven major areas of study and practice:

  1. Environmental rhetoric and discourse
  2. Media and environmental journalism
  3. Public participation in environmental decision making
  4. Social marketing and Advocacy campaigns
  5. Environmental collaboration and conflict resolution
  6. Risk communication
  7. Representations of Nature in popular culture and green marketing

External linksEdit


Cox, Robert. (2010). Environmental Communication And The Public Sphere (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications
See also the Environmental Communication Network's bibliography of books in environmental communication


  1. Cox, Robert. (2010). Environmental Communication And The Public Sphere. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

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