“We are the Lorax; we speak for the trees”: A theoretical starting point for investigating environmental grassroots movements online activists networked information ecologies

Authors: Sol Agin*, Karlstads University
Topics: Environment, Communication
Keywords: online activism, place identity, agenda setting, network theory, information ecologies
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Bayside A, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Forests are the world’s most species-diverse habitats, they store carbon and regulate our climate, which makes them crucial for coping with climate change. Through promoting privatisation and international trade liberalisation, neoliberal policies have contributed to increasing large-scale monoculture plantations and legal/illegal logging industries worldwide. It is now estimated that half of the worlds’ forests are gone, but they are disappearing too slow to be sensational headlines, and thus creating real change in global policies is hard. But, there are those who try to create change, by proposing sustainability through actions and campaigns. This paper is the theoretical starting point of my dissertation, where I will investigate and compare how local groups within the international organisation Friends of the Earth utilise various media (e.g. traditional and social media platforms) to transform a local matter to suit the global debate, to mobilise and to lobby for policy changes in municipalities that deal with the delicate matter of local activism and national/global policies concurrently. Looking at places in Brazil, Indonesia, Ireland, Nigeria and Sweden that thus far have not been extensively researched, this will fill the current knowledge gap between small-scale and global organisation communication. By combining ideas of network theory and information ecologies with online activism, place identity and agenda setting, and applying them to five cases, I aim to shed light on how global environmental grassroots movements organise themselves, tries to impact their communities’ policies, and how they through creative communication practises contribute to the development of social media landscapes

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