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Media and Transnational Climate Justice

Indigenous Activism and Climate Politics


Anna Roosvall and Matthew Tegelberg

Media and Transnational Climate Justice captures the intriguing nexus of globalization, crisis, justice, activism and news communication, at a time when radical measures are increasingly demanded to address one of the most pressing global issues: climate change. Anna Roosvall and Matthew Tegelberg take a unique approach to climate justice by focusing on transnational rather than international aspects, thereby contributing to the development of theories of justice for a global age, as well as in relation to media studies. The book specifically explores the roles, situations and activism of indigenous peoples who do not have full representation at UN climate summits despite being among those most exposed to injustices pertaining to climate change, as well as to injustices relating to politics and media coverage. This book thus scrutinizes political and ideological dimensions of the global phenomenon of climate change through interviews and observations with indigenous activists at UN climate summits, in combination with extensive empirical research conducted on legacy and social media coverage of climate change and indigenous peoples. The authors conclude by discussing transnational solidarity and suggest a solidarian mode of communication as a response to both the global crisis of climate change and the broader issues of injustice faced by indigenous peoples regarding redistribution, recognition and political representation.

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4 Summit Journalism, Indigenous Peoples and Digitalization: A Media Ecology Perspective


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A Media Ecology Perspective

I love the media. I make friends with them as much as I can because … indigenous communities are usually marginalized, so it is important to get indigenous voices right at the front, and the media can help do that …

I don’t necessarily trust the news that is coming from the mainstream media … they suppress events, or don’t cover them, or there are things … that happen on Twitter, but … [you] never see them in the mainstream media.

—Allison Akootchook Warden, Iñupiaq people (USA, COP21)

At UN climate conferences, indigenous peoples from around the world travel vast distances in the hopes of having their voices heard, their experiences and knowledge recognized, and their demands for climate justice answered. Hence when asked for their thoughts on media, and more specifically, on its role in communicating about climate change and its local effects, the indigenous activists we interviewed at COP17 (Durban, 2011) and COP21 (Paris, 2015) had much to say. Warden’s statements capture the conflicted feelings many interviewees expressed about the media’s efficacy in generating awareness of the climate challenges they face at home. On one hand, she emphasizes the importance of making connections with mainstream media, since doing so can help foreground indigenous voices ← 103 | 104 → and issues that are otherwise marginalized. On the other hand, Warden identifies a critical disconnection, describing what makes mainstream media...

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