Seeing the Climate? The Problematic Status of Visual Evidence in Climate Change Campaigning

Doyle, Julie (2009) Seeing the Climate? The Problematic Status of Visual Evidence in Climate Change Campaigning In: Dobrin, Sidney and Morey, Sean, eds. Ecosee: Image, Rhetoric, and Nature. State University of New York Press, New York, USA, pp. 279-298. ISBN 9781438425832

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This paper argues that the effectiveness of visual rhetoric as a persuasive discourse within environmental campaigning reached a crisis point in the history of climate change communication. International environmental groups such as Greenpeace are often dependent upon the photographic image to provide evidence of environmental degradation and threat in order to persuade the public and governments to take action. As a result of this reliance, efforts over the last decade to bring awareness to a sceptical global audience of the potential impacts of human induced climate change were constrained by the very lack of visual evidence about this issue. This paper argues that this lack calls attention, on the one hand, to the problematics of communicating an ‘unseen’ environmental issue such as climate change within the confines of the visual rhetoric of much environmental discourse. At the same time, these limitations are inscribed more specifically by those of photography as a discourse of visual evidence and truth, unable to visualise, and thus make ‘real’, future environmental threats.

Item Type: Chapter in book
Uncontrolled Keywords: photography, visual, climate change, environment, time
Subjects: F000 Physical Sciences > F800 Physical Geography and Environmental Sciences > F850 Environmental Sciences
P000 Mass Communications and Documentation > P300 Media studies
L000 Social Sciences > L900 Cultural Studies
Faculties: Faculty of Arts > School of Arts and Media
Depositing User: Julie Doyle
Date Deposited: 04 May 2010
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2015 11:00

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