Green Media Studies

Green Media (BA)

Since 2019, the BA course ‘Green Media and Civic Engagement’ provides students (mostly) with a media and culture studies background with an introduction to the multifaceted and often contentious relationship between contemporary media and the climate crisis. The course further introduces four interrelated methodologies – framing analysis, discourse analysis, (software) affordance analysis and media comparison – that enable students to study a broad range of phenomena and ongoing debates.

For more information, including how to register, see the course page on OSIRIS.

Sample topics in relation to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

With their papers, our students address widespread global sustainability challenges, which correspond to many of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals, formulated by the United Nations as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2015), constitute an urgent call for civic engagement and ecological citizenship on a micro, meso as well as macro level of society. The list below provides an overview of selected topic/cases from the Green Media course linked to the corresponding SDGs.

Gender equality

  • Gender representations  and environmental themes in Disney films like Pocahontas (1995) or Moana/Vaiana (2016).
  • Ecofeminist readings of The Handmaid’s Tale (2017-) and similar serialized TV content.
  • Environmental themes and framing in American political discourse: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Kamala Harris and Deb Haaland (New Green Deal, environmental policies etc.).

Affordable and clean energy

  • SF digital AAA game Final Fantasy VII (1997).
  • Shell (greenwashing) campaign Make the future.
  • Ecogame Collapsus—Energy Risk Conspiracy (2010).

Sustainable cities and communities

  • The simulation game Cities: Skylines (2015).
  • The Sim City game series and its ecological imaginary.
  • Smart City: Clean Energy (Hololens, PC, mixed reality, 2018).
  • Play the City projects (games for collaborative decision making).

Responsible consumption and production

  • App: Too Good to Go (2018).
  • App: My Little Plastic Footprint (2017).
  • How Coca-Cola and LEGO frame their sustainability plans; the PlantBottle (Coca-Cola 2009) and Plants from Plants (LEGO 2018) marketing campaigns.
  • H&M’s fast-fashion (greenwashing) campaign on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook (2020): A media-comparative perspective.
  • Eco/environmental cinema: Okja (2017) and the moral conundrums of meat production; related documentaries like Cowspiracy (2014) and Waste Land (2010)

Climate action

  • EU climate action and the European Green Deal.
  • Greta Thunberg’s use of Instagram.
  • The #BeatPlastic campaign (by Dutch DJ Armin Van Buuren in collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature).
  • The #ForClimate campaign on TikTok (International Federation of Red Cross).
  • Framing of climate action in This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate (2014, 2015) and On Fire. The Burning Case for a Green New Deal (2019).
  • Eliasson’s art installation Ice Watch.
  • App: JouleBug (2012), suggesting new ways to ‘go green’.
  • Earth Hour as a mediatized climate awareness event.
  • Extinction Rebellion: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Rebel Radio.
  • Greenpeace and its institutional self-representation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube.
  • Theatre: World Climate Conference (2015); The Shell Trial (2020).

Life below water

  • Nature documentary BBC series Blue Planet II (2017).
  • Nature docu My Octopus Teacher (Netflix; 2020).
  • Nature TV docu Chasing Coral (Netflix; 2017).
  • Underwater diving games like ABZÛ (2016) or the Endless Ocean games (2007-2009).
  • BBC Earth Life in VR (2018).

Life on land

  • Deforestation in the animation film The Lorax (2012).
  • VR installation Tree (2017), immersing viewers into the life of a tree and its natural surroundings.
  • Photos: Earthrise (1968), Blue Marble (1972) and Pale Blue Dot (1990); NASA Images of Change (2020).
  • Music videos: Earth Song (1995), Earth (2019).
  • Comic books: Poison Ivy (1966-), a fictional supervillainess protecting endangered species and the natural environment.