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Greening Media Education

Bridging Media Literacy with Green Cultural Citizenship


Antonio López

Media are a powerful educational force that teaches about the relationship between humans and living systems while also physiologically impacting the environment. However, although long considered a tool for promoting critical thinking and cultural citizenship, media literacy does not adequately address environmental sustainability. Drawing on original research, Antonio López demonstrates how common media literacy practices reinforce belief systems at the root of unsustainable behaviors. By combining emerging literacies from social media, networked activism, sustainability education, critical media literacy, and digital ecopedagogy, the author offers a solutions-oriented critique and paradigm-shifting reappraisal of media education by advocating «ecomedia literacy.» This groundbreaking book builds on López’s previous two books, Mediacology and The Media Ecosystem, by offering a cutting-edge and radical reappraisal of conventional media literacy practices. Written in accessible and jargon-free language, this book is ideal for students and educators of media literacy, media studies, and cultural studies, and will also be vital to those advocating sustainability education, environmental studies, and social justice.
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Chapter Six: Ecomedia Literacy

← 132 | 133 → CHAPTER SIX


Given my ecocritical critique of the media literacy ecosystem, is it possible to combine green cultural citizenship with media literacy? In this chapter, I propose that ecomedia literacy is a potential solution to the challenges raised by this book’s analysis. I first discuss how ecoliteracy, education for sustainability, ecological design, and ecopedagogy can contribute to an ecomedia literacy framework. I then outline the curriculum principles of ecomedia literacy and close with a case study in which the framework was implemented in an undergraduate digital media culture course.

A meaning system that incorporates sustainability will encourage practices that promote healthy, vibrant living systems. As such, Stibbe and Luna (2009) propose that 21st-century skills for sustainability consist of ecological intelligence, systems thinking (gaining holistic perspective), appropriate technology, appropriate design and cultural literacy. According to Blewitt (2009), media education plays an important role because “sustainability literacy, however defined, requires sensitivity to virtual realism, to media ecology, and to those ongoing processes through which we shape and are shaped by increasingly ubiquitous technologies” (p. 1). Stibbe and Luna (2009, p. 10) broadly define ecoliteracy as “the skills, attitudes, competencies, dispositions and values that are necessary for surviving and thriving in the declining conditions of the world in ways which slow down that decline as much as possible.” Capra’s (2005) definition of ecoliteracy is, “to understand the principles of organization, common to all living systems, that ecosystems have evolved to sustain the web of life” (p. 230). Accordingly,

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