Fall 2021 - CMNS 349 D100

Environment, Media and Communication (4)

Class Number: 6642

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including at least one upper division course in CMNS, DIAL, ENV, EVSC, GEOG or BlSC, with a minimum grade of C-.



An examination of how media, culture and communication shape public opinion and behaviour about environmental issues such as global warming, (un)sustainable resource use and pollution, with special attention to the impact of practices such as advertising, public relations, science and risk communication, journalism and advocacy communication upon public discourse about the environment, and the role of dialogue and deliberation in mediating and resolving conflict over environmental issues.


What role do different forms of media and culture play in raising (or suppressing) public awareness about key environmental issues such as climate change, (un)sustainable resource use, or the pollution of social and natural spaces?  How do different social, economic and political actors (e.g., corporations, governments, environmental groups) talk about the environment in different ways, depending upon their economic, political and/or cultural objectives?  Is ‘green consumerism’ an oxymoron?  What opinions do the public hold about environmental issues, and how are they influenced and represented?  What communicative practices and principles are necessary in order to encourage and facilitate public engagement with environmental politics and policies?  What role does communication play in environmental advocacy and activism?  In this course, we will explore these questions by investigating some of the many ways in which we use different media to represent and communicate about the natural environment.


  • Tutorial facilitation, attendance and participation 20%
  • Lecture-based writing/discussion exercises 10%
  • Review essay (1,500 words, due with tutorial facilitation) 20%
  • Mid-term exam (early/mid-July) 20%
  • Take-home final exam (due Aug 16) 30%


60 units, including at least one upper division course in CMNS, DIAL, EVSC, GEOG or BISC; or written permission of the instructor.  A minimum CGPA of 2.5, and approval as a communication student is required for entry into most communication upper division courses.

Note: Students with credit for CMNS 388 (with this topic) may not take this course for further credit.



All readings will be available through the course website on Canvas or the SFU Library.


Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.