Environmental Literacy and New Digital Audiences: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Environmental Literacy and New Digital Audiences

1st Edition

By Pat Brereton


210 pages

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Hardback: 9781138049253
pub: 2018-12-07
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Environmental literacy and education is not simply a top-down process of disseminating correct attitudes, values and beliefs. Rather, it is one that incorporates and facilitates a dialogue with audiences of different persuasions and at all levels of engagement, to help highlight and co-produce consensual solutions to the major eco-challenges of our time.

Exploring the growing power and influence of media formats and outlets like YouTube and gaming, alongside fictional and documentary film, this book considers new modes of environmental literacy to ascertain the effectiveness of digital and filmic stimuli on an audience’s perception of environmental issues, and its specific impact on environmental action. Drawing on extensive research across a broad range of media formats, Brereton establishes how environmental narratives and meanings are created and being received by contemporary audiences.

This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of environmental communication and media, eco-criticism and environmental humanities more broadly.



"The study is informed by Brereton’s vast expertise and continuing interest in environmental ethics and the public sphere. Consequently, the questions about audience-hood and environmentalism that he tackles are not limited to merely how media audiences consume and understand environmental messages, but rather how those audiences might actually be motivated to take social action. This makes his examination of the role of media in the formation of environmental citizenship, understood as civic participation in an age of ecological crisis, a crucial resource for those of us who are committed to confronting the challenge of climate change." -- Patrick D. Murphy, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, Klein College of Media and Communication, Temple University, USA

"This is a much needed and very accessibly written book on popular audio visual media which fills a significant gap in environmental communication research. In this age of rapidly spreading fake news and misinformation through social media sites, an ability to critically interpret visual media is critical. Through an array of fascinating examples from food documentaries, to video games (such as Pokemon Go), You Tube videos (such as Prince Ea), to Netflix and blockbuster Hollywood movies, Brereton expertly demonstrates the value of critical media literacy, convincingly arguing for it to be embedded within all media and communications education." -- Alison Anderson, Professor in Sociology, University of Plymouth, UK

Table of Contents


1 Environmental Literacy Introduction

2 Understanding Audience Psychology and Trigger Points for Promoting Environmental Literacy

3 Promoting New Media Literacy

4 Food Documentaries and Green Anxieties: Actively promoting Environmental Literacy

5 Eco-Documentaries: Old Problems New Aesthetic Opportunities

6 Contemporary Hollywood Blockbusters and Environmental Narratives

7 An Environmental Reading of Post 9/11 American Televisual Series

8 Netflix and Emerging Streaming Networks: New Forms of Immersive and Addictive Narratives and Characterisation

9 Video Games and Environmental Learning: New Modes of Audience Engagement

10 Going Viral: YouTube and New Forms of Environmental Literacy

11 Conclusion: Constructing an Environmental Literacy Consensus through New Media


About the Author

Pat Brereton is a Professor at Dublin City University, Ireland, and has taught and published extensively around environmental communications and all forms of new media.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Environmental Communication and Media

Routledge Studies in Environmental Communication and Media offers a range of progressive and thought-provoking investigations and overviews of contemporary topics in environmental communication and media. Providing cutting edge original research and analysis, the series covers key issues from climate change to natural resources, examining film, advertising, marketing, journalism, storytelling and new media forms.

This international and academically rigorous book series offers vital insights to all those engaged with the process of creating and interpreting media messages about environmental topics, whether they be students, scholars, policy makers or practitioners. These interdisciplinary books provide an invaluable resource for discussion in advanced undergraduate and postgraduate courses in environmental communication and media studies, as well as in cultural studies, marketing, anthropology, sociology, philosophy and politics.

Please contact the Editor, Annabelle Harris (Annabelle.Harris@tandf.co.uk) to submit proposals.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy