Summer 2022 - CMNS 349 D100

Environment, Media and Communication (4)

Class Number: 1505

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    HCC 1900, Vancouver

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 15, 2022
    11:59 PM – 11:59 PM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby

  • 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., 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 and principles are most effective in encouraging and facilitating 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 (due with tutorial facilitation) 20%
  • Mid-term exam (likely take-home, early July) 20%
  • Take-home final essay/exam (due Aug 16) 30%


Grading breakdown above to be confirmed in the first class.

The school expects that the grades awarded in this course will bear some reasonable relation to established university-wide practices with respect to both levels and distribution of grades.  In addition, The School will follow Policy S10.01 with respect to Academic Integrity, and Policies S10.02, S10.03 and S10.04 as regards Student Discipline.  [Note: as of May 1, 2009 the previous T10 series of policies covering Intellectual Honesty (T10.02) and Academic Discipline (T10.03) have been replaced with the new S10 series of policies.]



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 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction.  Some courses may be offered through alternative methods (remote, online, blended), and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes. 

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, online, or blended courses 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 ( or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the summer 2022 term.