The Distribution of Eco-Anxiety Media Impacts

Authors: Russell Stockard*, California Lutheran University
Topics: Ethnicity and Race, Communication, Climatology and Meteorology
Keywords: climate, communication, environment, race, ethnicity
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM
Room: Virtual 46
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Eco-anxiety is a phenomenon that came to the attention of mental health professionals at the end of the first decade of this century. The authors of a 2017 report linking mental health and climate change declared that “it is time to expand information and action on climate and health, including mental health.” An NBC News article in fall 2019 suggested that as climate change is becoming a reality for increasing numbers of citizens, it is causing eco-anxiety (Fitzsimons, K, Climate change is causing eco: anxiety: here's what we can do about it, 29 October, 2019). Media members looked at their own uneven role in covering climate change and responded with an initiative named Covering Climate Now, co-founded by The Nation and Columbia Journalism Review that includes “hundreds of outlets worldwide, with a combined audience of over 1 billion people." The objective of this study is understand the affective content of messages about climate change in mainstream and social media and how different demographic segments are treated in these messages, particularly as pertains to coverage of African American, LatinX, and other communities of color as well as Caribbean immigrant communities in the U.S. and Caribbean residents. The study will also explore to what degree the media fuels eco-anxiety. Finally, the study will include an exploration of the possible contributions to eco-anxiety of media coverage of the social justice movement following the murder of George Floyd and the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

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