Jill Hopke

Environmental Communication. Social Movements. Mobile Media.

Tag: science communication (page 1 of 2)

New DePaul undergraduate course in climate change communication

I will be teaching a new undergraduate course in climate change communication at DePaul University in the winter quarter. The course is part of the university minors in Environmental Communication and Climate Change Science and Policy.

If you are an instructor at another university, or a student interested in enrolling, please feel free to contact me with any questions. The syllabus is below.

JOUR 311 / CMNS 363: Climate Change Communication

DePaul University, College of Communication

Section 201 / 501, Class 2504 / 25225, Winter Quarter 2018

Room 314 Arts and Letters Hall, Lincoln Park Campus, Monday / Wednesday 2:40 to 4:10 p.m.

Instructor: Dr. Jill Hopke, Assistant Professor of Journalism

Contact: jhopke@depaul.edu (I strive to respond to emails within one business day, excluding weekends); 312-362-7641 (office)

Office location: 1123 Daley, 14 E. Jackson, Loop Campus

Office hours: Mondays 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and Wednesdays 11:00 to 11:30 a.m. in my Loop office; directly following class in the LPC (and by email appointment)

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jillhopke

Course Description

Individuals make up their minds on climate change, energy development, and other science of pressing public policy importance through a complex set of factors: values, demographics, political ideology, and so on. Journalists, strategic communicators, scientists, and policy analysts need to be able to communicate effectively with diverse public audiences on climate and energy topics. This course is oriented from a science communication perspective and draws on social scientific research on communicating on climate change and energy issues. We will take a human perspective on climate issues and focuses on the social, political and cultural aspects of climate change. The course covers best practices for promoting and facilitating public dialogue on climate change policy and global energy systems. Topics covered include: climate change public opinion and knowledge, media portrayals of climate change and its societal effects, climate skepticism and denial, psychological factors that contribute to values and beliefs on climate science, journalism and covering climate issues, framing and developing narratives on climate impacts, and climate change in popular culture. Students will conduct original research to analyze and evaluate climate change communication. For the final project, students have the option of completing a major journalistic reporting project, designing an advocacy or marketing campaign, or conducting a research project.

Learning Objectives

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  • Explain the function of communication in shaping attitudes, values, practices and policy on climate change and energy issues in the United States and internationally;
  • Understand the role of worldviews, perceptions, and beliefs in shaping public opinion on climate change and energy development;
  • Understand the roots of climate denialism in a U.S. political context and internationally;
  • Identify and evaluate mechanisms for communicating on climate science and energy issues; and
  • Identify and evaluate rhetoric and visual communication generated, and used by, those communicating about climate change and energy topics.

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University of North Carolina at Greensboro talk on sustainable and socially responsible investing, Sept. 28

On Thursday, September 28 I will be giving a talk at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, joined by my colleague Luis Hestres (University of Texas at San Antonio), on sustainable and socially responsible investing.

The event is a conversation on the theme of “What is Sustainable and Socially Responsible Investing and Why Is It Important?” The event will take place Thursday, Sept. 28 at 3:30 p.m. in the UNCG Faculty Center. This conversation is hosted by the UNCG departments of Environmental & Sustainability Studies and Geography.

For more information on the event and the yearlong speaker series it kicks-off, visit here. Continue reading

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

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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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DePaul University faculty profile

I recently sat down with the DePaul University Newsline to talk about my research on climate activism and energy development. Below is part of that conversation.

Jill Hopke, assistant professor of journalism in the College of Communication, has dedicated her career to discovering the intersections of people, the environment and media. Her recent studies examine transnational anti-fracking activism on social media. She has also researched discussion of climate change solutions on Twitter during recent climate talks.

Read on to learn more about how Hopke’s research has transformed the way she approaches climate change in her own work and classroom.

Tell me about your most recent research.

I recently started a project with colleagues from the University of Wisconsin – Madison examining social media, specifically Twitter, in relation to the Dakota Access Pipeline and Standing Rock protest. The issue has been in the news again as President Trump issued a memorandum giving approval for the project to move forward in January. Work has since resumed on the pipeline. We are tracking how that protest emerged in the public sphere over the summer and into the fall. Most people are not aware that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s opposition to the pipeline began prior to the spark of its wide-spread attention in August 2016. I’m exploring when, and why, the issue went from being relatively localized to being recognized nationally and internationally and what role social media played. We are comparing the movement against the pipeline to opposition of a proposed shale gas development in 2013 by the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick, Canada. There are distinct parallels between the cases, particularly the role of visual imagery.

How can we best approach discussions about the environment?

We are at a very interesting time politically for climate change and energy development issues. Both topics are very politicized, and it’s important to have channels for meaningful dialogue. From research, I’ve learned there is segmentation in social media discourse that makes it harder for meaningful dialogue to occur. My research on Twitter discourse about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, revealed segmented “hashtag publics” of activists and industry supporters, with an absence of dialogue between the two. When we talk about climate change communication, we need to understand the issue is not simply a matter of providing people with more factual information, but base our communication interventions in social science research. There is a spectrum of opinion about climate change that ranges from alarmed to dismissive. Beliefs may be based on an individual’s background, their social networks, political stance or ideology. In discussion of climate and energy issues, we must tailor our messages to reach individuals based on where they fall on the spectrum of dismissive to alarmed.

Read the full piece on the DePaul University Newsline.

New climate activist strategy gains steam this election season

I’ve published a new analytic piece in The Conversation, “New Climate Activist Strategy Gains Steam this Election Season.” Below is an except. You can read the full article at The Conversation here.

In Tuesday’s primaries in five northeastern states, Donald Trump – who has voiced support for fracking as far back as 2012, prior to his presidential bid – swept the Republican field. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – in favor of fracking under some circumstances – won in four states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

With the front-runners of both parties in support of fracking, even with some conditions, it would seem that anti-fracking activists are fighting an uphill battle.

But on the Democratic side, attention to climate change and fracking during northeast primaries has been prominent, with Senator Bernie Sanders having garnered strong support from anti-fracking activists for his call for a national ban on the technology. And as the primary season has unfolded, Clinton has taken a stronger stance on climate issues, such as banning fossil fuel development on public lands, when pressed by climate activists.

A close look at the political strategies of climate activists reveals a shift in focus to the localized impacts of fossil fuel extraction and a global push to keep fossil fuels in the ground. These changes come at a time of changing views on climate change, energy policy and politics in the U.S. population overall.

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