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Communicating Nature: How We Create and Understand Environmental Messages 2nd Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1597260688
ISBN-10: 1597260681
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Corbett gives practical advice in this text for her students in environmental studies ... The author explores attitudes toward the environment from lawn care at home to ecotourism. Valuable for graduate and undergraduate students as well as the lay public and organizations concerned with the environment. Summing Up: Recommended."
(CHOICE)

"For those involved with the communication of nature, this is an important book. No matter where your particular point of view fits into the spectrum of environmental ideology, understanding how your beliefs were formed and how they color your views of the natural world is important."
(Science Books & Films)

" theoretically sound and immediately practical. [Professor Corbett] has writtenan excellent textbook, filled with fun little gems of activities that will encourage studentsto complement the content knowledge [she] provides with their own personal experiences."
(Tarla Rai Peterson Texas A&M University; editor of Green Talk in the White House)

"This is a wonderful book for any student of the environment.... Julia Corbett provides a valuable text exploring issues ranging from the morality of zoos to our consumer society and the 'buyosphere.' Readers will come away with a new understanding of nature and culture."
(Susan K. Jacobson University of Florida; author of Communication Skills for Conservation Professionals)

"Communicating Nature is a timely and important book on a subject that has received relatively little critical attention. This book… should be of great value to people interestedin promoting and marketing more responsible and effective resource management andenvironmental conservation."
(Stephen R. Kellert Yale University; author of Building for Life)

"This focus on the role of communication—in its broadest sense—in the construction ofenvironmental beliefs and behaviors will be… a must-read for environmental communicationstudents and practitioners."
(Sharon Dunwoody University of Wisconsin-Madison)

"Corbett's book is carefully researched and thoughtfully presented...her overall tone is unflinchingly objective...Communicating Nature is extremely successful at laying bare the messages that shape our attitudes."
(Quarterly Review of Biology)

"Traditionally, Nature's beauty has been in the eye of the beholder, when not in the wayof the bulldozer. Now, Julia Corbett turns a scientist's eye to how we communicate with each other about the natural world. Her astute and deep analysis is greatly needed. …."
(Richard Louv author of Last Child in the Woods)

About the Author

Julia Corbett is associate professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Utah, specializing in environmental communication. She has previously published articles in Journal of Communication and other communications journals, as well as Orion and Owl/Egret.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Island Press; 2 edition (November 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597260681
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597260688
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #570,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I teach various university courses on environmental communication and this book serves as the cornerstone for all of them. I can best explain the value of the book through examples of how my students and I use it in the classroom.

For example, in an honor's class last year, "Building a Local Environmental Campaign," we discussed the book for the first half of the semester. Although the focus of that class was consistent with the title (building a local campaign), the students came from various backgrounds unrelated to environmental studies or environmental communication. Corbett's book helped launch the class and introduce the students to ways we might think about environmental beliefs, experiences in childhood, media images, diametrically opposed ideologies, etc. The students especially enjoyed when we delved into how their childhood might have shaped their environmental attitudes and beliefs. They also enjoyed discussing the ideological typology offered by Corbett - which ranges from unrestrained use of the environment (for human benefit) to "transformative" ideologies that can, as that label suggests, transform how we think about our relationship with the environment. The students in that class used this book to think long and hard about how the public conceives of the environment and environmental organizations. They did this BEFORE they began working for local organizations.

The students reported after the class that reading and discussing Corbett's book gave them some really interesting insights when they began advising their "clients" (which included the local Sierra Club) about new approaches to build support and educate the public.
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Format: Paperback
Corbett writes directly to undergraduate students in this engaging textbook. I like her emphasis on historical and cultural aspects that influence how Americans have developed a characteristic range of viewpoints on the meaning of "environment." This is a fine starting point for a discussion on environmental communication, though some students (and their instructors) might not find it challenging enough on a theoretical level. It has a chapter dedicated to animal issues, but not enough discussion on risk or crisis communication.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Needed it for a class.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book addresses the topic of how we formulate our beliefs about nature and how we in turn communicate about nature. The author talks about the various views on nature from the world being there for humans to plunder to the deep ecology view of the need for an ecocentric concept of the world instead of anthropocentrism. She then goes on to look at how our attitudes about the environment affect our recreational activities, our jobs, our consumer, habits and our advertising.

I was torn between giving this book four stars because it contains a lot of insightful material and two stars because I found a lot of flaws that made it hard to take the author seriously. I settled on three. Here are the issues:

First, her discussion of Europeans and Native Americans is biased, two-dimensional and unbelievable. Her take is that nothing bad happened in America until the Europeans got here. While I agree that Europeans certainly wreaked havoc, Native Americans also affected their environment negatively. For instance, they started fires to clear areas and they over hunted certain animal species. It is an overly simplistic and misleading approach to ignore the evidence that points to Native Americans altering their surroundings to their benefit even if it was not at the scale of what the Europeans did.

The second problem I had was the amount of typos and grammatical mistakes. My favorite occurs on page 54 of the paperback edition where she is discussing emotional engagement in terms of Eastern religions and she writes "To be truly aware of nature, one must be good listener." Evidently, one does not need to have a good grammar checker or have a good editor to be truly aware of nature.
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