This book offers the first systematic study of how the ‘Anthropocene’ is reported in mass media globally, drawing parallels between the use (or misuse) of the term and the media’s attitude towards the associated issues of climate change and global warming.
Identifying the potential dangers of the Anthropocene provides a useful path into a variety of issues that are often ignored, misrepresented, or sidelined by the media. These dangers are widely discussed in the social sciences, environmental humanities, and creative arts, and this book includes chapters on how the contributions of these disciplines are reported by the media. Our results suggest that the natural science and mass media establishments, and the business and political interests which underpin them, tend to lean towards optimistic reassurance (the ‘good’ Anthropocene), rather than pessimistic alarmist stories, in reporting the Anthropocene. In this volume, contributors explore how dangerous this ‘neutralizing’ of the Anthropocene is in undermining serious global action in the face of the potential existential risks confronting humanity. The book presents results from media in more than 100 countries in all major languages across the globe. It covers the reporting of key environmental issues, such as the impact of climate change and global warming on oceans, forests, soil, biodiversity, and the biosphere. We offer explanations for differences and similarities in how the media report the Anthropocene in different regions of the world. In doing so, the book argues that, though it is still controversial, the idea of the Anthropocene helps to concentrate minds and behaviour in confronting ongoing ecological (and Coronavirus) crises.
The Anthropocene in Global Media will be of interest to students and scholars of environmental studies, media and communication studies, and the environmental humanities, and all those who are concerned about the survival of humans on planet Earth.
Table of Contents
Part I: The Anthropocene and Global Media
1 Editor’s Introduction
2 Anthropocene in the Mass Media: The Big Picture
Part II: Media Coverage of The Anthropocene: A Global Survey
3 Africa’s Anthropocene: A Kaleidoscope of Contradictions
Meryl McQueen and Leslie Sklair
4 The Anthropocene in North America: The Pursuit of the ‘Good’ Anthropocene
Leslie Sklair, Chad Steacy, Jonathan DeVore, and Ron Wagler
5 Challenges and Ideas of Representation of the Anthropocene in Latin American and Caribbean Media
Viviane Riegel, Sofia Ávila, and Jerico Fiestas-Flores
6 The Anthropocene in the Media of North Asia
Leslie Sklair, Ka Ho Mok, and Yuyang Kang
7 South Asia: The ‘Provincializing’ Dilemma Leslie Sklair, Jahnnabi Das, and Sunitha Kuppuswamy
8 Latecomers to Capitalism, Latecomers to the Risks of the Anthropocene
Vladimir Vuletic and Eni Buljubašić
9 Western Europe: Planetary Eurocentrism
Boris Holzer and Leslie Sklair
10 The Anthropocene in Middle East Media: Invisible Oil?
Baran Alp Uncu and Ramzi Darouiche
11 Oceania: Big Islands, Small Islands, and the Anthropocene
Leslie Sklair and Astrid Kusumowidagdo
Part III: From the Anthropocene to the Anthropo-scene
12 Media Coverage of the Anthropocene in the Social Sciences and Environmental Humanities
13 Media Coverage of Anthropocene-related creative arts
14 Conclusion: We Need to Talk about the Anthropocene
Appendix 1: countries in Regions
Appendix 2: sources by coverage
Leslie Sklair is emeritus professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His work has been translated into more than ten languages. He is the President of the Global Studies Association (UK) and, in 2016, the Czech Academy awarded him the František Palacký Medal for his contribution to Historical Sciences.
"The Anthropocene was coined to signify the overwhelming geological impacts of humankind. Now, the term itself is acquiring geological force, as it spreads through human minds, to prompt action – or inaction. Leslie Sklair’s new book provides an absorbing, invaluable account of responses to this new planetary concept in media worldwide."
~ Jan Zalasiewicz, Chair, Anthropocene Working Group, University of Leicester
"As we hurtle forward into the 21st century, Leslie Sklair's edited volume provides critical guidance for how to consider and confront the Anthropocene and its many derivatives. This book is an important text for those of us researching climate change in the media as well as the Anthropocene. It advances efforts to elevate our conversations and enhance our actions in the face of these crises associated with climate change."
~ Max Boykoff, Director, Environmental Studies, University of Colorado Boulder
"This book is a tour de force. Not only does it present a thoughtful comparative analysis of the ways in which global media cover the age of the Anthropocene, at a time when the media increasingly establish environmental "facts" and the state of Earth, also it engages with ongoing academic debates about the merits of the concept of the Anthropocene and the prospects ahead. No other book has tried to do this so far, despite the alarming environmental threats on the horizon, the speed of recent change, and the need for large-scale, collective efforts. The Anthropocene in Global Media is a timely overview and will remain a key comparative reference for years to come. Collectively, Leslie Sklair and his co-authors have done us a huge service by charting the unfolding issues of global discourse, offering sober and meaningful conclusions. The result, in a way, is the collective voice of the global town hall or the village square. Here is planet Earth speaking – in a profound Anthropocenic sense, given the fundamental conflation of the geologic and the social – the singular but somewhat messy voice of the Milky Way."
~ Gísli Pálsson, Professor emeritus of Anthropology, University of Iceland
"A milestone in the mobilization of the Anthropocene in critical social thought. As meticulous as stratigraphers, Leslie Sklair and his team have tracked the media footprint of the 21st century’s boldest scientific idea across the globe. In the process they have shown us how it is possible to provincialize the Anthropocene concept while holding tight to its rigour and power."
~ Professor Nigel Clark, Chair of Social Sustainability Lancaster Environment Centre
"The ‘Anthropocene’ is a story that at least a portion of humanity seem intent on ending badly. This book is the outcome of a remarkable collaborative endeavour that has sought to gather and analyse global media coverage of the term. It will be essential reading for those trying to make sense of the story, or rather multiple stories, that the Anthropocene represents. Revealing how mass media accounts veer between existential risk and optimistic spin, the book questions the underlying motives of the tendency towards reassuring or neutralising narratives. We need to share a whole range of stories about the Anthropocene – alarming and urgent ones included – if all of humanity are to have a chance of good lives on our unsettled home planet."
~ Professor Renata Tyszczuk, Chair in Architectural Humanities, University of Sheffield
"As the Anthropocene unfolds through fire, floods, plague and other disasters, a rapidly-changing, narrowing media landscape adds to the stress, confusion and chaos. Media that distort evidence in the service of vested interests undermine trust in the societies that face these successive disasters, and paralyse responses that might enable long-term planning for rising seas, heat stress and increasing biodiversity loss. In this world of accelerating change, Leslie Sklair’s timely book, The Anthropocene in Global Media, tackles the ways media explore and exploit disasters and unsettle readers. In a globalised world where humans have become geological forces for change, the planetary responsibilities of our social systems take on unprecedented importance."
~ Libby Robin FAHA, Australian National University, Canberra.