Media Reform and the Climate Emergency
Rethinking Communication in the Struggle for a Sustainable Future
Advertising = consumption = climate change
Award-winning author David J. Park argues that the battle against global warming is also a fight for media reform. With his new book Media Reform and the Climate Emergency: Rethinking Communication in the Struggle for a Sustainable Future, he critically examines how advertising, the digital infrastructure, and journalism advance the climate emergency and lays out a path of reform to help create a more sustainable world. The production and consumption of goods and services within consumer societies lead to unsustainable greenhouse gas emissions, and Park finds that much of mass communication is either dependent upon or closely tied to the success of this social organization. As a result, he suggests successful environmental movements creatively dismantle or reform institutional infrastructures that extend the planetary global warming crisis and the unsustainable consumption of nature.
Communication policies and industries are part of these infrastructures. Advertising evolved to propel a new consumer society that would encourage the over-consumption of goods and services with harmful and unsustainable production processes. Our digital infrastructure is largely premised upon the surveillance of online consumer habits and preferences, with the goal to create individualized messages to more effectively persuade people to increase their consumption habits. Much of commercial journalism resists the drastic and immediate regulatory changes necessary to address the worst aspects of this crisis. This is because so many of the needed changes challenge the media’s source of income, their libertarian philosophy, and the general status quo, which is preferred by elites. Bound to foster conversations among scholars, activists, politicians, and those who work in the communication industries, this book rethinks mass communication and highlights how immediate reform is needed in the struggle for a sustainable planet.
Praise / Awards
“This book sheds new light on the role of commercial, for-profit media structures in exacerbating the environmental crisis. Park offers provocative proposals for how the advertising industry could incentivize more sustainable practices. He firmly establishes that the fight against climate change is a battle for media reform and democratization.”
—Jennifer Rauch, Linfield University and author of Resisting the News: Activist Audiences, Alternative Media and Popular Critique of Journalism
“In view of the alarming climate crisis and its dire consequences, David Park presents a succinct and well-reasoned set of arguments in favor of approaching this global emergency with a sense of urgency. Throughout the book, he cleverly weaves in the role and impact of mass media on the current climate crisis. This is a must-read book for those who care about the future of our shared planet.”
—Yahya Kamalipour, North Carolina A&T State University
“This is an important book for readers eager to learn how media reform is integral to efforts to effectively confront 21st century climate challenges. By addressing journalistic practices, advertising, and digital media infrastructure, Park provides creative insights that advance considerations on how to chart more sustainable pathways in the future.”
—Max Boykoff, Professor, Environmental Studies, University of Colorado Boulder
"Park makes a meaningful contribution highlighting the importance of media reform in addressing the climate crisis."
—Diana Stuart, Northern Arizona University
Runner-Up for the 2022 International Communication Association Global Communication and Social Change Division Book Award (ICA)
Winner of the 2022 Nautilus Book Award for Social Sciences and Education Silver Medal
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