Participatory Media in Environmental Communication: Engaging Communities in the Periphery, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Participatory Media in Environmental Communication

Engaging Communities in the Periphery, 1st Edition

By Usha Sundar Harris


182 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2018-09-11
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Participatory Media in Environmental Communication brings together stories of communities in the Pacific islands – a region that is severely affected by the impacts of climate change. Despite living on the margins of the digital revolution, these island communities have used media and communication to create awareness of and find solutions to environmental challenges. By telling their stories in their own way, ordinary people are able to communicate compelling accounts of how different, but interrelated, environmental, political, and economic issues converge and impact at a local level. 

This book fills a significant gap in our understanding of how participatory media is used as a dialogic tool to raise awareness and facilitate discussion of environmental issues that are now critical. It includes a section on pedagogy and practice – the undergirding principles, the tools, the methods. The book offers a framework for Participatory Environmental Communication that weaves three widely used concepts, diversity, network and agency, into a cohesive underlying system to bring scholars, practitioners and diverse communities together in a dialogue about pressing environmental issues.

This book is a valuable resource for researchers and students in communication and media studies, environmental communication, cultural studies, and environmental sciences, as well as practitioners, policy makers and environmental activists.


"Participatory Media in Environmental Communication provides a refreshingly innovative perspective on the environmental management discourse. It highlights the value, nay, the necessity of participation, networking and collective action to address the global environmental menace that confronts us all. The book’s diversity, networking and agency (DNA) framework should be adopted by environmental planners and social mobilisers. I will not hesitate to endorse this book to environmental workers in the international development assistance community, particularly those involved in climate change adaptation initiatives. Educators should make this work required reading for both environmental science and development communication students." -- Alexander G. Flor, PhD, Professor, UP Scientist and Dean of Information and Communication Studies, University of the Philippines (Open University)

"Usha Harris has authored a timely and sorely needed contribution to communication empowerment in the face of the harsh realities of climate change. This book will be welcomed by marginalised communities seeking ways to actually do something in response to a raft of pressing and urgent environmental challenges. It will also be helpful for climate and environmental community journalists seeking helpful insights and strategic inspiration. Her conceptual framework of Participatory Environmental Communication (PEC) brings together theory and practice as essential building blocks for developing resilient societies both in the Pacific and globally." -- David Robie, Director of the Pacific Media Centre, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

"Climate change is the greatest environmental, economic, social and moral challenge of our time. While science can explain, we need stories to connect and inspire. Harris’s book is a celebration of the power and richness of storytelling in the Pacific, not just to illuminate the problems, but to shine a light towards the solutions". -- Lesley Hughes, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Distinguished Professor of Biology, Macquarie University, Australia

"Usha Harris’ book is a tribute to the Pacific grassroots communities. [It] is about empowering disadvantaged communities by providing them with the means to tell their own stories—as they see it and as they experience it. The basis of the book is the author’s firm belief in the bottom-up approach to highlighting and solving problems; a belief based not just on theory, but on participatory media tools and methodologies that the author has tried and tested in the field—with actual people with powerful stories to tell. The book’s underlying message is that if governments have failed in their work as custodians of the environment, then the people who are closest to the problem, should be enabled and inspired to play a leading role." -- Shailendra Singh, Coordinator of Journalism, University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji

"This volume is a breathtaking endeavour that shows how today’s big questions are those related to the intertwining of the local and the digital in environmental communication. Redefining what it means to take a bottom-up approach, this volume gives voice to the island communities of the Pacific, and in doing so, makes clear how much stories and narratives matter to environmental communication." -- Pieter Maeseele, Associate Professor and Head of the science and environmental communication divisions of IAMCR and ECREA, University of Antwerp, Belgium

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations


List of Abbreviations

PART I Theory in Practice

Chapter 1 : Who is Telling our Stories?

Chapter 2: Participatory Environmental Communication: A Conceptual Framework

Chapter 3: Participatory Media – Pedagogy and Practice

Part II Bringing Pacific Island Perspectives

Chapter 4: Dialogic Encounters: Listening to People’s Stories

Chapter 5: Engaging Communities in Environmental Communication

Chapter 6: Community Informatics and the Power of Participation

Chapter 7 : Who is Listening?


About the Author

Usha Sundar Harris is an academic in the Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University, Australia.

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 ( to submit proposals.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

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