1st Edition

Satire, Humor, and Environmental Crises

By Massih Zekavat, Tabea Scheel Copyright 2023
    248 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Satire, Humor, and Environmental Crises explores how satire and humor can be employed to address and mitigate ecological crises at individual and collective levels.

    Besides scientific and technological endeavors, solutions to ecological crises must entail social and communicative reform to persuade citizens, corporations, organizations, and policymakers to adopt more sustainable lifestyles and policies. This monograph reassesses environmental behavior and messaging and explores the promises of humorous and satiric communication therein. It draws upon a solid and interdisciplinary theoretical foundation to explicate the individual, social, and ecospheric determinants of behavior. Creative works of popular culture across various modes of expression, including The Simpsons, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and The New Yorker cartoons, are examined to illustrate the strong if underappreciated relationship between humor and the environment. This is followed by a discussion of the instruments and methodological subtleties involved in measuring the impacts of humor and satire in environmental advocacy for the purpose of conducting empirical research. More broadly, the book aspires to participate in urgent cultural and political discussions about how we can evaluate and intervene in the full diversity of environmental crises, engage a broad set of internal and external partners and stakeholders, and develop models for positive social and environmental transformations.

    This book will be of great interest to students and scholars interested in environmental humanities, communication science, psychology, and critical humor studies. It can further benefit environmental activists, policymakers, NGOs, and campaign organizers.

    1. Introduction  2. Theories, Types, and Functions of Humor: A Brief Overview  3. Determinants of Pro-Environmental Behavior  4. A Modular Interdependency Model for the Potential Impact of Humor and Satire on Environmental Behavior  5. Humorous and Satiric Environmental Advocacy in Popular Culture  6. Measuring the Potential Impacts of Humor and Satire on Environmental Behavior  7. Conclusion and Implications



    Massih Zekavat is researcher and postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Language and Cognition Groningen, Faculty of Arts, The University of Groningen, The Netherlands, and former Alexander von Humboldt Foundation postdoctoral fellow at Europa-Universität Flensburg, Germany.

    Tabea Scheel is professor in the Department of Work and Organizational Psychology, International Institute of Management and Economic Education, Europa-Universität Flensburg, Germany.

    “Given that humour is a popular – and often powerful – rhetorical tool, it is natural that it is worth investigating its use in environmental communication. This study is a thorough attempt of such [an] investigation [and] is a valuable contribution to the field of humour studies, as it gives a comprehensive overview of previous research on the relationship between humour and environmentalism, and also creates a theoretical model for further research on this topic. This book should not be viewed as an end in itself, but rather as a crucial and solid stepping stone on the path for future investigations of the potential impact of humour on pro-environmental behaviour.”

    Anastasiya Fiadotava, Jagiellonian University and Estonian Literary Museum; in an excerpt from a review in The European Journal of Humour Research 11 (4)

    “[This] book serves as a call to researchers and environmental communicators to work with a holistic approach to optimize humorous and satirical pro-environmental messages, followed by measuring the effects of such interventions. The influence of humor and satire on pro-environmental behavior has not been adequately studied to date, and the authors rightly emphasize this. They have taken a significant step in bringing together existing knowledge in a structured manner and providing practical guidelines for future research and applications in this field. So far there has been no comprehensive toolkit for systematically using satire and humor as interventions and study objects in the climate debate. The authors have succeeded in presenting such a toolkit.”

    Madelijn StrickUtrecht University, The Netherlands; in an excerpt from a review in the journal Humor, https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2023-0134