Jill Hopke

Environmental Communication. Social Movements. Mobile Media.

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Fossil fuel divestment and climate change communication article in ORE Climate Science

ORE Climate Science homepage screenshot.

“Fossil Fuel Divestment and Climate Change Communication,” ORE Climate Science featured article July 2017.

Since 2012, the fossil fuel divestment movement has expanded beyond college campuses in the United States and United Kingdom to include 688 institutions, in 76 countries, and 58,399 individual investors, with commitments totally more than $5 trillion dollars. In an article published in June by the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Climate Science, along with Luis Hestres of the University of Texas at San Antonio, I examine the origins, growth and arguments for and against divestment from the fossil fuel industry.

The article is the ORE Climate Science featured article for the month of July. In December it will appear in print in the new Oxford Encyclopedia of Climate Change Communication, edited by Matthew Nisbet of Northeastern University. As Nisbet writes:

“Until now, however, there has not existed a leading scholarly outlet where the broad range of climate change communication, media and public opinion research is reviewed, synthesized, and critiqued; or translated in relation to other disciplines and professions. To address this gap, the Oxford Encyclopedia of Climate Change Communication is a curated series of 115 original peer-reviewed articles published in print and digital format, and by way of the web-based Oxford Research Encyclopedia (ORE) Climate Science. The collected articles comprehensively review research on climate change communication, advocacy, media and cultural portrayals, and their relationship to societal decisions, public knowledge, perceptions, and behavior. Co-authored by more than 250 experts representing more than a dozen disciplines and twenty countries.”

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Research on social media about Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline

Next week I’ll be presenting new research, conducted with colleagues from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Molly Simis-Wilkinson and Patty Loew, at the 2017 Conference on Communication and the Environment (COCE) at the University of Leicester in the UK. The full conference schedule is available here.

Research to be presented at the 2017 Conference on Communication and Environment (COCE), July 1, 2017, University of Leicester.

In fall 2016, violent images of the Dakota Access Pipeline protest near the Standing Rock Reservation stunned the world. Facebook users saw security guards sic attack dogs on Native women and children and police fire water cannons at praying protesters in subfreezing temperatures. However, the issue had not gained widespread mainstream media and public attention until the 1,172-mile pipeline was nearly complete, after more than two years of opposition from the tribe. It wasn’t until activists shared violent images on social media that public outrage forced policymakers to act. We argue that activities which heighten public attention to an issue through social media amplification constitute what we call disruptive public participation, which may empower activists and help “outsiders” become “insiders” in decision-making.

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My analysis of the People’s Climate March published in more than 40 news outlets

My recent think piece for The Conversation analyzing how the People’s Climate Movement used social media in the lead-up to the April 29 People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C., with “sister” marches around the country and internationally, has been republished in more than 40 news outlets. Many of them are local newspapers, as well as the International Business Times and Salon.

The original article, “To have impact, the People’s Climate March needs to reach beyond activists,” is available from The Conversation here.

The article was published by news outlets based in at least 18 states: Arizona, California, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

In addition, as a long-time fan of journalist Bill Moyers I was flattered to find that my analysis was included in a daily round up from his media project BillMoyers.com, “Daily Reads: Climate Marchers Descend on DC; Majority of House Dems Support ‘Medicare-for-All'” on April 28.

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To have impact, the People’s Climate March needs to reach beyond activists

File 20170425 22270 6zzjmv
The 2014 People’s Climate March in New York City.
Annette Bernhardt/flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

Jill Hopke, DePaul University

Following closely on last week’s March for Science, activists are preparing for the People’s Climate March on Saturday, April 29. This event will mark President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office, and comes as the Trump administration is debating whether the United States should continue to participate in the 2015 Paris Agreement on limiting global carbon emissions. The Conversation

Organizers have worked for over a year to build an intersectional movement that brings together diverse constituencies under the banner of climate justice. They hope to replicate the first People’s Climate March in September 2014, which was the largest climate change mobilization in history.

But surveys show that only about one in five adults in the United States is alarmed about climate change. This means that if climate activists want this march to have a lasting impact, they need to think carefully about how to reach beyond their base.

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