Spring 2023 - CMNS 349 D100

Environment, Media and Communication (4)

Class Number: 1126

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 4 – Apr 11, 2023: Mon, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 16, 2023
    Sun, 12:00–12:00 p.m.

  • 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 actors (e.g., scientists, corporations, governments, environmental groups, Indigenous communities) communicate about the environment in different ways?  What factors shape environmental journalism?  What is the relationship between communication and (lifestyle and/or political) behavioural change?  What opinions do the public hold about environmental issues, and how are they influenced and represented?  What communicative practices are most effective in motivating public engagement with environmental politics and policies?  What role does communication play in environmental advocacy and activism?  How can we tell better stories about the overlapping ecological crises we face and the solutions to address them?  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.

Course Format:

The course is organized around a series of weekly themes, which will be explored in lectures, readings and tutorial discussions.  While there will be some overlap between the lectures, readings and tutorials, there will also be important material that is only covered in one of these formats.  In other words, students are expected to do the readings, attend the lectures and tutorials to cover the material to be drawn upon in completing course assignments.


  • Tutorial facilitation, attendance and participation 20%
  • Lecture-based writing/discussion exercises 10%
  • Review essay 20%
  • Mid-term exam 20%
  • Take-home final essay/exam 30%



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


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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