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Greening Media Education

Bridging Media Literacy with Green Cultural Citizenship

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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 Seven: Media as Sustainability Education

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Extract

The connection between media, culture, and technology has evolved far beyond its roots in mechanistic thinking. As such it is my hope that the current evolution of media can be harnessed for the purpose of sustainability. By moving beyond a 20th-century mass society framework, media practitioners can reintroduce the democratic, and hence participatory, potential of media that had been limited under a previous hierarchical media environment. It is also my hope that greater interconnectivity can promote green cultural citizenship and lead to new conditions for social change. This is certainly part of the current thinking about emerging social movements throughout the Arab world (Mason, 2012) and the rise of the “networked fourth estate” (Benkler, 2011). Nonetheless, I believe that a critical, if not agnostic, stance needs to be maintained, because the internet is not immune to the process of enclosure (the privatization of the cultural commons) and can also be used as a tool for government repression (Morozov, 2011).

As in media studies, most classic media literacy texts were written before the rise of social media, so most do not directly address the phenomena of Web 2.0. As discussed, media literacy tends to focus on how people interpret and respond to media content. However, in recent years there has been a rise in a new kind of literacy based on participation and collaboration, what Rheingold (2012) calls “networked social learning.” Gauntlett (2011) grounds this phenomenon in the tradition of the do-it-yourself maker movement, arguing that craft, creativity, and...

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