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Environmental Conflict and the Media

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Edited By Libby Lester and Brett Hutchins

Has the hype associated with the «revolutionary» potential of the World Wide Web and digital media for environmental activism been muted by the past two decades of lived experience? What are the empirical realities of the prevailing media landscape?
Using a range of related disciplinary perspectives, the contributors to this book analyze and explain the complicated relationship between environmental conflict and the media. They shine light on why media are central to historical and contemporary conceptions of power and politics in the context of local, national and global issues and outline the emerging mixture of innovation and reliance on established strategies in environmental campaigns.
With cases drawn from different sections of the globe – Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe, Latin America, China, Japan, the Pacific Islands, Africa – the book demonstrates how conflicts emanate from and flow across multiple sites, regions and media platforms and examines the role of the media in helping to structure collective discussion, debate and decision-making.

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Introduction: Tree-Sitting in the Network Society (Brett Hutchins and Libby Lester)

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ƒ In t r o duc t I o n Tree-sitting in the network society BreTT huTChins and liBBy lesTer Miranda Gibson is living on a small platform 60 metres above the ground in an ancient gum tree. The tree is located in the Styx Valley in the remote southwest of Tasmania in Australia, a state that is home to one of the three largest temperate wilderness areas in the southern hemisphere. A 31-year-old environmentalist and schoolteacher, Gibson has been there for 368 days without a break, surpassing both the Tasmanian and national records for the longest tree-sit.1 A committed activist representing the grassroots group Still Wild, Still Threatened, Gibson is attempt- ing to protect her area from logging and draw widespread attention to the destruc- tion of old-growth forests in the island state. These immediate objectives are tied to a broader vision of environmental sustainability and ecological citizenship in social, economic and political systems worldwide. Gibson’s teaching career remains on hold as she endures the trials of changeable Tasmanian weather that features sun, wind, rain and snow. Her last birthday was celebrated in the depths of winter, protected by only a small canopy. Sleep is difficult depending on the weather conditions, and there is no one immediately present to chat with for long periods of time, although her mother and sister have scaled the tree for short visits. The nearest township is Maydena (population 245), an old timber and mining town. Negotiating the track, forestry road and bush that leads...

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