Environmental Literature | Social Justice | Sustainable Futures

Introduction: Kevin Bhimani

January 19th, 2017 | Posted by Kevin Bhimani in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Name: Kevin Bhimani

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

Major: Economics

Three topics/ideas/issues that intrigue me: financial markets, electric cars, biodiversity

Most interesting bit of news that I read today (or lately): NASA and NOAA confirmed that 2016 was the hottest year followed by 2015 and 2014

A subject discussed in detail by Cox and Pezzulo in Chapter 4 of their co-authored textbook Environmental Communication and the Public Sphere, environmental communication is not limited to words but rather spans a wide range of medias, from sounds we hear while interacting with others to images we pull up on our technological devices which have become an increasingly powerful presence in our modern global age.

In specific, I would like to further examine environmentally charged images, specifically in relation to animals and their well-being.

Here, we have this image, very obviously Photoshopped, of several polar bears.

Situated very comfortably in what appears to be a wide expanse of Arctic, the bears wear headphones, hold tables, and drink soda while roasting a baby penguin over a fire pit. Found on a personal blog discussing politics from a conservative view by David Mesa of Arizona, this image fails to persuade me that global warming is a hoax as the its associated article argues. While I did find the completely divergent use of the polar bear, a seasoned condensation symbol against global warming,  interesting, it was ineffectual in changing my beliefs, as beyond making light of the polar bear symbol, there was little else conveyed by this image. Also, I am slightly confused and disturbed by the seemingly random and unexplained inclusion of the roasted baby penguin.

A more effective image, in my opinion, is this image which utilizes the polar bear in its more conventional form.

Drawing upon modern society’s obsession with the “cute” polar bear and also our natural tendency to feel protective of the family unit, this image which depicts a mother and cub cuddling forlornly on a lone iceberg amidst dark waters affirms the dangers of climate change while specifically focusing on Arctic animals.  Aesthetically, this photo speaks volumes as the white bears stand in stark contrast with the water. It also evokes an image of the phrase “No man is an island” from John Donne’s poem, reminding viewers that humanity is part of a greater whole and many in said greater whole are suffering as a direct result of climate change.

An image which I find interesting is this one:

Aesthetically, this image is jarring. Again, we see the inclusion of mother/child imagery as the gorilla carries her cub on her back and is accompanied by the simple by poignant slogan “where the wood go, wildlife goes.”Instead of peacefully roaming the trees, the gorilla mother is chopped in half, bloody, with her child still clinging to her. To me, the above image is highly effective in emphasizing the impact of deforestation on animals, however, I find it to be overly abrasive and a turn off, despite my own personal beliefs that deforestation is dangerous and has enormous negative environmental effects, on animal life, soil quality, air quality, etc.

Environmental communication can be vastly improved through the inclusion of diverse medias such as photography and images. However, when we utilize them, we must take note of the aesthetics utilized, message conveyed, and also the media’s effect on viewers. Another danger of images in particular is that as they can only capture one instance, many other critical factors pertinent to the same issue are omitted, as shown in the gorilla image above.


Works Cited:

Acharya, Ganesh Prasad. Wildlife, 3. Digital image. Ads of the World. Sanctuary India, 04 Dec. 2014. Web. 19 Jan. 2017.

Hall, David. Polar Bears. Digital image. Liberty Musings. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2017.

Lefranc, Eric. A polar bear cub is comforted by its mother as they drift miles from shore on a rapidly shrinking ice floe. Digital image. The Telegraph. N.p., 02 Mar. 2010. Web. 19 Jan. 2017.



Introduction: Joe Jacob

January 17th, 2017 | Posted by Joe Jacob in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Name: Joe Jacob

Hometown: Roslyn Heights, NY

Major: Computer Science

Three topics/ideas/issues that intrigue me: Web development, tech startups, and globalization

Most interesting bit of news I read recently: The last tenant for a to-be remodeled apartment building was given $17 million to move out

Introduction: Juliana Posen

January 13th, 2017 | Posted by Juliana Posen in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Name: Juliana Posen

Hometown: Chappaqua, NY

Major: Economics

Three topics/ideas/issues that intrigue me: Reducing ecological footprints, water pollution, financial economics

Most interesting bit of news I read recently: Exxon knew about climate change 40 years ago but former CEO Rex Tillerson still won’t admit the extent of the threat of global warming

Name: Barbara Lynn Weaver

Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Major: Environmental Science or Spanish

Three topics that intrigue me: Urban Forestry, water conservation in developing nations, and the stigma surrounding mental health

Most interesting bit of news I read today: over 2 million citizens in Lima source water from contaminated wells

Intro: Ningxin Xu

January 12th, 2017 | Posted by Ningxin Xu in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Name: Ningxin Xu

Hometown: (born and raised in) Beijing, China

Major: East Asian Studies MA

Three topics/ideas/issues that intrigue me:
1. human animal relations
2. understanding of the animal in Western discourse from Plato to the Cartisian tradition to Derrida
3. indigenous religions, posthumanism and ecological humanities

Most interesting bit of news I read today (or lately): Boyang Lake Dam project underway in Jiangxi, China

Ji Weitao, the vice director of the Jiangxi Province “Boyang Dam Construction Office,” says in an interview that although construction of the dam would potentially wipe out the population of white cranes, which is listed as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN, he believes that the cranes should “learn to adapt because the rule of evolution is survival of the fittest.”

Introductions: Akul Sharma

January 12th, 2017 | Posted by Akul Sharma in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Name: Akul Sharma

Hometown: New Delhi, India

Major: Economics

3 Topics: Future of fossil fuels in transportation, Renewable energy, Economic development in India

News: Trump admitted Putin was involved in hacking US election, despite refusing to acknowledge it previously (striking, given his personality)

Name: Jessica Li Marlow

Hometown: Spartanburg, SC (NW corner)

Major: Undecided but interested in ICS (focusing on China and East Asia) and Global Health!

Three Topics/ideas/issues that intrigue me: art, femininity/masculinity, Disney

Most interesting bit of news I read recently: There is a new primate species called the “Star Wars gibbon”! It lives in SW China.

Name: Jazmine (Jazz) Moreno

Hometown: Sacramento, CA

Major: Neuroscience

Three topics: Neuroscience, Philosophy of Mind, and Color Photography/Drawing

Interesting bit of news I recently read: I read about how by 2022 it will be possible to see the double star explosion will be able to be seen with the naked eye.

Name: Syed Ameen Ahmad

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

Major: Neuroscience

Three topics/ideas/issues that interest me: Air pollution, chemical runoff, noise pollution

Interesting Piece of News I read today: The FBI is being investigated from resurfacing the Clinton Email controversy.