Folks who study environmental communication internationally shared stories over the last few days at the University of Leicester.
I heard about news coverage of the oil pipeline cutting through Lakota territory in North American, the trope of dying animals in literature, pirates who stop whale hunting, and tips on teaching today’s multitasking students.
Our presentation–which looked at news coverage of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge takeover in Oregon last year–raised questions about who should own and manage the lands considered “public” in the US.
The questions are particularly salient today, when the administration that governs the US is bent on placing the care of our wildlife, woodlands, waterways, forests and deserts into the hands of individuals who have a vested interest–and whose associates have a vested interest–in turning over our public lands to private interests.
The situation sounds absurd–like a page torn from a novel by Margaret Atwood or George Orwell.
But the special interests aren’t hidden: they lay bare in their immorality.
The individual responsible for environmental protection for our country has eschewed his role, instead courting industry interests rather than citizen interests.
Instead, the EPA is scuttling policies that protect our shared resources–national parks and forests–and refusing its core responsibility of monitoring oil and gas leaks and preventing the contamination of our drinking water.
What is clear from our meetings in Leicester is that our colleagues in Europe, Asia, the Middle East–everywhere–see the United States in a new–and dark–light.
We are an embarrassment.
Our ruler is a clown and our policy-makers have traded the health and welfare of the citizens for corporate interests.
3 July 2017