Bridging ecojustice and media education

Special journal issue on ecomedia literacy

I’m proud to announce that the special issue on ecomedia literacy co-published by the Journal of Sustainability Education and the Journal of Media Literacy is officially live (see announcement below). It was co-edited by myself, Jeff Share, Theresa Redmond, and Clare Hintz, fulfilling a dream I’ve had to bridge media literacy and educations for sustainability practitioners.

Dear Colleagues,

During this historic time of Covid-19 and ongoing climate crisis, we are proud to announce our May, 2020, Ten Year Anniversary Issue of the Journal of Sustainability Education focused on Ecomedia Literacy.  Our co-published issue with the Journal of Media Literacy is dedicated to reframing not only media literacy education, but also education generally. Throughout this issue, the collected authors explore various facets of communication, including the complex intersections of food, art, language, youth media, solar punk, embodied knowing, media as material objects, remote sensing, and the human response to the climate crisis. Something media educators understand implicitly is that education is not confined to the classroom—media act as a kind of “public pedagogy” that teaches people how the world works through different sensory experiences (audio, film, TV, print, social media, etc.). Highlights of these different approaches in our special issue of ecomedia literacy include:

  • Exploring dominant paradigms that govern how we frame contemporary issues, Four Arrows (aka Don Trent Jacobs) critiques language use from an indigenous perspective, while Tema Milstein reframes the role of scholarship and teaching through regenerative pedagogy. Tim Wise offers a provocative assessment of STEM in his proposal for developing  MESH: Media Literacy, Ethics, Sociology, and History. Carolyn Fortuna breaks down the “Not in my back yard,” or NIMBY phenomena, and why coal is on its way out. Rethinking science is explored in a thoughtful review of Naomi Orekes’ latest book, “Why Trust Science?
  • Interdisciplinarity is a strong theme. Andy Opel explores strategies for educators from different fields to work together on a media project that documents environmental problems in a local river ecosystem. Andy Pettit and Candice Smith Corby show how art and food culture were combined in their summer program in Italy.
  • Expanding the concept of ecomedia, Benjamin Thevenin explores the material reality of media; Carl Bybee and Shelby Stanovsek assert the importance of embodied knowledge in ecomedia education; and Antonio Lopez interviews Kenji Williams about the Bella Gaia project, which combines the use of remote sensing and art to put people’s senses in touch with climate science.
  • For an exploration of community-based media programs, we have Jason Corwin’s discussion of a youth media program, “Green Guerillas,” that served rural communities of color; Steve Goodman’s experience of teaching for environmental justice at the Educational Video Center; Brett Cohen and Leonie Joubert’s account of training community-based journalists in South Africa to engage in effective, local climate change reporting; and Derek Douglas presents an overview of youth, ecomedia, and resilience in Appalachia.
  • Classroom strategies are offered from Denis Doyan, who explores a pedagogy for green web design, and Chelsea Attwell, a Director with The Association for Media Literacy and teacher, who shares a case study of primary learners using design thinking and media literacy to create more sustainable snack food packaging in their school community. Sox Sperry from Project Look Sharp explores how to apply constructivist deconstruction techniques for media and the environment. Jeff Share and Antonio Lopez examine how media literacy techniques can be used to analyze fake climate news and disinformation. Digging deeper into climate denialism, Rachell Marshall applies a critical analysis to right-wing propaganda that was sent to over 300,000 teachers. Exploring the importance of teaching biophilia (the love of nature) a new teacher, a principal, and a teacher educator share experiences and ideas in the essay by Mendoza, Rumble, and Share. Envisioning positive futures in ecomedia, Isaijah Johnson’s overview of Solar Punk literature demonstrates how a new genre of science fiction can be used for English Language Arts instruction.

We hope you will use these articles in your teaching and your civic engagement.  We have much work to do.

In solidarity,

Antonio Lopez, John Cabot University, Rome, Italy

Jeff Share, University of California, Los Angeles, U.S.

Theresa Redmond, Appalachian State University U.S.

and Clare Hintz, Journal of Sustainability Education, U.S.

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