Summer 2021 - CMNS 349 D100

Environment, Media and Communication (4)

Class Number: 4235

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 16, 2021
    5:00 PM – 5:00 PM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including at least one upper division course in CMNS, DIAL, 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%


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 all of the material to be drawn upon in research essays or projects, as well as the final exam.

Course lectures will be delivered asynchronously and available for download on a weekly basis.

Course tutorials will be delivered synchronously through Zoom as scheduled.


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 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.


Teaching at SFU in summer 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods, but we will continue to have in-person experiential activities for a selection of courses.  Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges 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. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112).