Monday 12th April
Monday 12th April 2021
Panel Presentation 1
Chaired by Jessica Hampton
The Game Changers: Narratives of the Vegan Hero
This paper presentation takes a critical look at the documentary film The Game Changers—a high-profile mainstream documentary about veganism—by exploring its narrative structure (Todorov 1977; Leeming 1998; Bal 2017) and evaluating its narrative entailments according to my vegan ecosophy (Stibbe 2021). The research is theoretically grounded in ecolinguistics (Stibbe 2021) and aims to distinguish the stories of veganism as identified through an interdependent collection of narratives, expert opinion and nutritional misconceptions. The documentary debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018 and was later released on several online streaming services, becoming “the best-selling documentary of all time on iTunes’s—within just a week” (Chiorando 2019). Since then, it continues to educate and inspire, and for this reason was considered a potential source of beneficial stories of veganism to be promoted in the interest of tackling real-world ecological issues related to animal agriculture. The Humane Society International (2014) has concluded that “the farm animal production sector is the single largest anthropogenic user of land, contributing to soil degradation, dwindling water supplies, and air pollution [and] is responsible for approximately 14.5% of human-induced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions” (1). With greenhouse gas emissions overall at an historic high, veganism has thus become the single most effective way to reduce the negative human impact on the climate and the environment, and understanding how the stories of veganism are linguistically constructed will play an important role in promoting the lifestyle and influencing how society chooses to address key ecological issues, from climate change and biodiversity loss to environmental justice.
Mario Leto is assistant professor in the School of Global Japanese Studies at Meiji University in Tokyo, Japan. He has degrees in 20th-Century American Literature and Applied Linguistics and is currently working on his PhD in Ecolinguistics at the University of Gloucestershire in the UK. He is the convener of the Japan Ecolinguistics Association, a local branch of the International Ecolinguistics Association. Contact information can be found at ieajapan.blogspot.com.
Maria Cristina Caimotto
Campaigning for cycling and well-being as resistance to hegemonic economic discourses
Advocacy groups campaigning for increases in everyday cycling often struggle to understand why policies have often failed to generate the expected results (Oosterhuis 2019), in spite of all the evidence we have on how beneficial everyday cycling is in terms of increased levels of health, road safety and well-being. This paper is based on the results of a study (Caimotto, forthcoming) which investigates Cycling Mobilities from the perspective of Ecolinguistics (Stibbe 2014; 2015) and Critical Discourse Studies (Fairclough and Wodak 1997). Inspired by the work of Lakoff (2010) and Mautner (2010) – and drawing insights from System Thinking (Meadows 2008) – it shows how the language we use, even when promoting active mobility, is deeply influenced by a market-related discourse and by “growthism” (Halliday 2001).
This paper reveals some of the pitfalls that cycling advocates need to avoid, but it mainly concentrates on positive discourse analysis (Martin 2004). The promotion of everyday cycling is envisaged as one of the possible “new stories that work better in the conditions of the world that we face” (Stibbe 2014, 217). Employing Stibbe’s ecosophy (2015, 14-15), an increase in the number of people cycling is presented as an effective and significant solution that celebrates life, increases well-being for present and future generations, generates empathy and increases levels of social justice (Sheller 2018; Walks 2015). Through the analysis of newspaper articles, institutional documents and spoken interviews, discourse strategies about cycling are observed in order to identify which linguistic features work best to foster alternative worldviews. The overall aim of this work is to show how discourses of cycling can be a starting point for the creation of new ways of framing ecosystems, life and what “well-being” can mean.
M. Cristina Caimotto is Assistant Professor of English Linguistics and Translation at the University of Torino, Italy. Her research interests include political discourse and environmental discourse, with a focus on ideology. She is the author of Discourses of Cycling, Road Users and Sustainability: an Ecolinguistic Investigation, a study that searches for a positive new discourse that would inspire and encourage cycling as a habitual means of transport, rather than simply exposing ecologically destructive discourse. She is also a cycling advocate.
An analysis of climate change discourses in the UK parliament (2006 – 2018)
The political implications of addressing the climate emergency have come into ever sharper focus over the past decade. As pressure mounts for a reassessment of environmental strategy, this presentation examines the UK parliament’s position through an analysis of language used in the debating chamber. It considers how politicians’ choice of words and topics reveal underlying narratives of accountability, and how these have shifted over time.
The project used corpus analysis to explore keywords and collocations related to “climate change” from the House of Commons over a twelve year period. It then applied narrative analysis to consider the discourses this data may represent. Three major discourses related to climate change framed the study: gradualism, scepticism and catastrophism (Urry 2015). The findings complemented research highlighting the dominance of gradualism in UK politics in the mid-2000s (Willis 2017). However it also suggested that apparent consensus on this issue has grown less stable over time, and that the scepticism discourse has seen some resurgence.
Narratives play a strong role in communicating political information and influencing opinion (Fløttum and Gjerstad 2017), and this analysis allowed for an examination of underpinning attitudes on acceptance, responsibility and action. These were explored through a close study of language related to dangers and threats; challenges and opportunities; science and experts; and denial and scepticism. The findings highlighted that climate change in the UK parliament was viewed as an abstract challenge or threat, often considered solely on economic grounds, largely ignoring social impact and non-humans.
In keeping with the conference theme, this research adds to the discussion on recognising and resisting hegemonic discourses of industrial societies. The presentation explores the evolving attitudes towards environmental responsibility and duty within the UK parliament. It highlights and critiques the dominant narratives on climate change, scrutinising both key language used and important topics omitted.
This project is an updated study based on my Linguistics MA dissertation at the University of Brighton, completed in 2017. I am currently a PhD candidate at Queen Mary University London, researching grammatical variation and change in English dialects. My research interests include sociolinguistics and corpus linguistics, and I am currently designing a diachronic corpus of spoken English, based on the sound archives of the British Library.
A tale of two narratives in a time of climate and ecological uncertainty: Rewilding as an inspiring imaginary or economic, utilitarian, value-free pragmatism?
With the media providing us with a constant flow of worrying messages about climate heating, ecological collapse and species extinction, it can be difficult to envision a way out of our current predicament. Indeed, many writers now question what they call apocalyptic narratives on environmental breakdown. Neimanis et al (2015) call for the environmental humanities to embrace the need for new, inspiring narratives regarding our relationship with the rest of the living world; stories that represent imaginaries that can perhaps galvanise our efforts through linguistically mediated representations of a better, more ecological future. Currently, we are presented with a paucity of such imaginaries through mainstream media channels. However, one imaginary that has gained some traction is the concept of rewilding. Writers such as George Monbiot and organisations such as the Lynx and Beaver Trusts, and Rewilding Europe are presenting persuasive arguments for the return of ‘keystone species’ and ‘ecological engineers’ to the UK and the rest of Europe. Key elements within this narrative are land use change and the development of more ecologically diverse and stable ecosystems in a time of ecological and climate uncertainty. Meanwhile, in Sweden, Greenpeace Sweden has highlighted the importance of criticising the state-run forestry company Sveaskog for greenwashing and managing Swedish forests as a form of forestry agriculture for the maximisation of profit rather than ecological integrity at a time in which the Swedish forestry model is being taken up around the world. Likewise, the Swedish environmental protection agency maintains a similarly utilitarian and instrumentalist perspective on the natural world. This talk will address an ongoing PhD project that seeks to apply the post-humanist methodology of diffractive reading (Haraway, 1992, 2004; Barad, 2003, 2007) to an examination of the imaginaries and discourses present within British, European (including rewilding Sweden) rewilding campaigns and those utilised by Sveaskog and the Swedish environmental protection agency.
Having started my career as a teacher of English as a foreign language and academic writing, I have spent the last twelve years working as a junior/adjunct lecturer at the University of Westminster and the University of Linköping, Sweden. As well as ecolinguistics, I teach a wide variety of linguistics subjects, such as critical discourse analysis, syntax, phonology, morphology and register analysis. I have recently published on an educational design research and action research project at Linköping University for the implementation of ecolinguistics within the English teacher degree programme. I am currently planning the writing of a book on ecolinguistics in education.
“the food we eat is responsible for 80% of tropical forest loss”: Visibility of the ‘environmental destroyer’ in activist campaign mails.
Appraisal markers (Martin and White, 2005) realised in grammatical metaphors and passive verbs structures make social actors obsolete, thus absolving them from responsibility and accountability (Fairclough, 2003:13). This study looks at the use of these two grammatical forms, as well as the participants embodying conceptual metaphor (e.g. ‘the food we eat is responsible…’, see Marìn-Arrese, 2002:3), in implying Judgements of companies, governments and other third-party text participants held responsible for social and environmental degradation in the online campaign communications of four groups: Greenpeace, The Green Party, The Story of Stuff, Freedom United.
I wish to propose an innovative form of presentation in which the online audience will initially be presented with 3 re-workings of an extract of an environmental campaign communication. The 3 re-worked texts will employ varying degrees of explicitness of Judgement, one employing explicit Judgement through epithet and predicative adjectives, another a mixture of adjectives and impersonalising structures (i.e. grammatical metaphor, passivisation, conceptual metaphor), while a final re-wording will employ only implicit Judgement through these impersonalising structures. The audience will be asked to rate each re-writing for their immediate perception of its potential real-world effectiveness in convincing the putative reader to take action. The results of this mini-survey will guide the direction taken by the researcher during the rest of the presentation.
The reason for taking this approach is that the rhetorical implications of using these various structures which encode different degrees of explicitness of Judgement is held to be uncertain. Many researchers (Fairclough, 2005; Fowler et al, 1979; Fowler, 1991; van Dijk, 2001b; Wodak, 2006, 2007) have argued that the use of these ‘agent-masking’, impersonalising structures is motivated by ideology as opposed to a more ‘objective’ re-telling of events, and thus should be avoided. However, the results of the present study show that these impersonalising structures are favoured over more explicit Judgements in social issue campaigning (59% impersonal vs. 41% explicit adjectives) compared to environmental campaigning (35% impersonal vs. 65% explicit adjectives). One reason for this is that the targeted third-party text participant in societal issue campaigns are often more dispersed and thus less well-defined than in environmental campaigns. However, as regards discoursal implications, the use of more ‘agent-masking’ structures allows these social issue campaigns to employ a continued textual focus on the impacted text participant, that is the victim of the perceived social injustice. This could promote greater empathy with the victim as opposed to outrage and possibly a sense of helplessness towards the agentively powerful ‘environmental/social destroyer’. So, the question to be discussed is: What are the discoursal implications of a facilitating the identification of the responsible agent, thus provoking a sense of outraged injustice, versus focusing on the impacted grammatical patient, thus favouring empathy and solidarity, in inspiring action in real-world environmental campaigns?
I’m a fourth year PhD student in Ecolinguistics at ‘La Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3’, which I hope to complete by December 2020. I have recently taught a course in Ecolinguistics at my local university, Aix-Marseille, to a group of students of the interdisciplinary Bachelors’ programme ‘Science and Humanities’ (see https://formations.univ-amu.fr/ME3SHU.html). As mentioned in my abstract, I have also recently finished translating a book on nature poetry from a broad range of languages/cultures. The proposed presentation builds upon one I made at ICE4, but has completely new content, a deeper, more complete analytical basis and new proposals for environmental campaigning.
Revealing the Greenness of Northern Words. Linking Ecolinguistics with the Study of Finnish Poetry
In my presentation, I examine how to bring together ecolinguistics and ecopoetics by analyzing the poetry of the Finnish poet Eila Kivikk’aho from an ecolinguistic perspective. Kivikk’aho is an interesting poet in the field of Finnish literature, as her poems reflect both the urbanization of Finnish society and the modernization of Finnish poetry during the 1900s. She is not political in the traditional sense of the word, but ecolinguistic analysis enables demonstrating how her poetry carries powerful ecocentric attitudes and criticizes the anthropocentrism of Western culture.
In my presentation, I apply Arran Stibbe’s concept of salience to my analysis by exploring the natural world’s agency and the activation of the more-than-human world in Kivikk’aho’s poetry. By utilizing the analytical tools of Stibbe’s Ecolinguistics (2015), I also examine how the poems question conventional nature and human regarding cultural evaluations of the West and reform them in an ecocentric way. Thus, I highlight how ecolinguistic methods are in a key position when revealing the environmental ethos of Kivikk’ahos poetry.
The aim of my presentation is to underline how ecolinguistics can crucially enrich ecopoetic approaches when dealing with poetry’s attitudes towards the natural world and exploring the relationship between human and the more-than-human world in a lyrical text. Poetry tends to be based on dense and charged language, in which hidden nuances, semantic layers and thematic roles truly matter, and therefore, if we want to understand poetry’s potential to speak for nature’s own sake, we need green theory that consists of both linguistics and literary criticism. I hope that my presentation strengthens the collaboration of ecolinguistics and ecopoetics and emphasizes the ecological power of the northern poetry.
Reeta Holopainen is a second-year doctoral student of Finnish literature in the Department of the Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Helsinki. Her key interests concern ecocriticism, lyric theory and the study of Finnish poetry. In her dissertation, she explores the Finnish poet Eila Kivikk’aho’s poetry from an ecocritical perspective. The dissertation examines how an environmental ethos is constructed in Kivikk’aho’s poems and how nature makes Kivikk’aho’s poetry political in a sense that has not been properly recognized before. Holopainen also writes poetry reviews and has previously worked in textual research projects.
Human–Nonhuman Animal Dichotomy: Towards a Harmonious Relationship Between Human and Nonhuman Animals
Recently, the world has been facing a number of critical issues related to the environment such as global warming that has turned into climate crisis, forest fires, different animal species’ extinction to name a few, which threaten the wellbeing of our planet. A significant part of these issues is caused by nonhuman animal exploitation, in particular, for food. Being responsible for heavy greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, land and water pollution, animal agriculture continues to grow as a response to the food demand of an increasing population around the world. Part of the reason why people rely heavily on animal products is due to the fact that many nonhuman animals are not seen as sentient individuals who, along with humans, deserve to live, and rather perceived as food and objects for consumption. This reflects a long-established hierarchy and an anthropocentric human / nonhuman animal dichotomy. This paper attempts to answer the question about how to minimize the existing dichotomy between human and nonhuman animals and increase a harmonious, free from speciesism relationship between them which may lead to humans resisting exploitation of nonhuman animals and choosing plant-based living. Language plays an important role in shaping how we look at things and subsequently how we see the world. Therefore, applying an ecolinguistic perspective, the author searched for the language that could be beneficial with regards to nonhuman animals. This study looked into three vegan campaigns, Be Fair Be Vegan, Go Vegan World, and Veganuary, and with the help of a multimodal approach, analysed both their language and image features in order to identify the underlying stories. The language analysis included van Leeuwen’s (2008) social actor and social action theory, while the “Grammar of Visual Design” by Kress and van Leeuwen (2006) was implemented in the image analysis. The stories (Stibbe, 2015) were further compared to the ecosophy of the study and proved to be beneficial with regards to nonhuman animals.
Alena Zhdanava, originally from Belarus, is a PhD Candidate at the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, University Malaya. Her research interests include critical discourse analysis, ecolinguistic studies and multimodal analysis in the areas of ecology, environment, nonhuman and human animals, and veganism. She has been vegan for over a decade and has frequently given talks with regards to nonhuman animals and veganism.
Panel Presentation 2
Chaired by Mariana Roccia
All Activism is Political Activism: Discursive Strategies for Animal Rights in Argentina
As Freeman (2014: 17) points out, in order to promote veganism among an audience that eats meat, animal rights activists must face a communication dilemma that all anti-hegemonic social movements have historically faced: Should their campaign messages be more pragmatic and utilitarian (emphasizing reform and human self-interest) or more radical and ideological? (emphasizing the concepts of justice, abolition and altruism). In practice, this means deciding between meeting pragmatically with the people where they are (for example, messages that promote the reduction of meat and the welfare of farm animals) or taking them further to challenge discriminatory beliefs, that is, messages that promote animal rights and veganism.
This paper aims to analyze the resources deployed by four NGOs: Animal Save Argentina, Animal Libre Argentina, Vegano Cordobés and Voicot, in four different graphic campaigns, classifying them based on their orientation, pragmatic or ideological. The corpus includes video and posters. For this purpose we will adopt the theoretical framework proposed by Kress & van Leeuwen (2006), extended by Hart (2014), and the classification proposed by Ekman (1978, 2003) for the analysis of facial expressions.
We will argue that Argentine NGOs, based on the tradition of political activism in the country even though when they move away from traditional practices, work from an ideological perspective, separating activism from academia, while those with international roots are based on the utilitarian perspective for the construction of new cruelty-free narratives.
Diego Forte is a researcher at University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. PhD candidate at the same university. He inscribes His work in the fields of Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis and Ecolinguistics. He has numerous publications and has lectured on both topics both in Spanish and English. He is Regional Representative for Argentina and Subject Representative in CDA in International Ecolinguistics Association. He is the founder of the local research group Ecolingüística Argentina.
Extinction, Joy, and Eco-Linguistic Activism
We face a monumental ecological mess that we have helped create. Despite the myriad environmental philosophical movements, there is no armchair solution to global ecological collapse. The voice of the activist is only as good as the attention span and memory of her audience, both of which are highly contested in the digitally-mediated world. To overcome these challenges, the activist should think about narratives differently, both by extending her voice so that it persists over time and by identifying and disrupting narratives that seek to silence others. This project resonates with the ethical consequences of radical embodied ecolinguistics, which challenges mind-body and human-world dualisms. While Steffensen (2011) is primarily concerned with challenging the incidental extended mind hypothesis of Clark and Chalmers (1998), the impact of his work extends far beyond the philosophy of mind. Steffensen invokes the image of the beaver’s dam to demonstrate how languaging shapes our world, extends in space, and persists in time. Thinking of the ecological crisis in this embodied way properly situates activism as a project that must both challenge those who silence others and ensure her message remains accessible over time. To provide the activist with tools to accomplish these goals, I propose that we turn to the often overlooked wisdom of modern Shinto embodied in the work of Marie Kondo. My goals for this project are twofold. The first is to explore pragmatic methods for engaging with, organizing, and discarding the many persistent monuments of misinformation that stand in the way of ecological reform. The second i s to do so without slipping into a theoretical project that can only be understood by specialist philosophers. In some ways, the realization of the present ecological crisis can be compared with the shameful realization one has when caught living in a disorderly home. While our poor practices have contributed heavily to the mess we are in, at least we do not have to deal with it alone.
Jonathan McKinney is a PhD candidate in Philosophy and a MA student in Experimental Psychology in the Center for Cognition, Action, and Perception (CAP) at the University of Cincinnati. Jonathan’s research focuses primarily on Cross-Cultural Embodied Cognitive Science, Comparative Japanese philosophy, and community-based inquiry. Jonathan’s current projects include the development of tools for teaching engaging and community-based classes online, exploring agent-world, agent-tool, and agent-agent relationships, and establishing spaces for international and interdisciplinary research. The thread that ties these projects together is an interest in escaping historical boundaries between cultures, disciplines, and between human beings and the world.
Douglas Ponton & Peter Mantello
The representation of Nature in Covid-19 Memes: Contagion and Public Discourse
Social media has become the pre-eminent tool of civic engagement and political expression, and it has played a significant role in visualizing and shaping public discourse in the face of the recent global pandemic. Memes have become vital markers for communicating and visualizing public sentiment during a period of enforced social isolation which has confined citizens around the world to their homes.
During the crisis, the production and dissemination of memes provided a means for online community members to find and share their voices, and also played a crucial role in visualizing, amplifying and alleviating public fears over the dangers of contagion. However, after the first phase of humorous or ironic memes, and those singling out specific political targets, some memes began to emerge with ecological themes. Such memes highlighted positive aspects of Covid 19, since the drastic fall-off in human industrial activity, mass tourism and other activities, while provoking untold damage to global balance sheets, were undoubtedly beneficial in environmental terms. The virus was represented as the voice of Nature, or as a hidden friend, revealing truths that mankind, in its headlong pursuit of a capitalist project, had forgotten about. Thus, the lockdowns were contextualised as periods of enforced meditation, opportunities to reflect on deeper realities than normal daily routines afford.
Our paper explores the representation of Nature in Covid 19 memes, from an interdisciplinary perspective that comprises Media Theory and Linguistics. It identifies features of memes from a multimodal perspective (Kress 2010) that probes their pragmatic significance (Kecskes 2013; Senft 2014) and interpersonal dimension.
Douglas Mark Ponton is Associate Professor of English Language and Translation at the Department of Political and Social Sciences, University of Catania. His research interests include ecolinguistics, sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, pragmatics, political discourse analysis and critical discourse studies. His research deals with a variety of social topics such as tourism, ecology, local dialect and folk traditions, including proverbs and Blues. Recent publications include For Arguments Sake: Speaker Evaluation in Modern Political Discourse (2011 Cambridge Scholars), Understanding Political Persuasion: Linguistic and Rhetorical Aspects (2019 Vernon Press), and Blues in the 21st Century: Myth, Self-Expression and Transculturalism (2020 Vernon Press).
Peter Mantello is Professor of Media, Politics and the Cyber Realm at APU, Japan. His area of specialization focuses on the intersection between technology, conflict, AI and surveillance. Combining media studies, International Relations theories, data studies, and technologies studies, Peter is interested in the various feedback loops between media, technology, popular culture, and big data. Currently, he is a principal investigator on an international project with UK researchers to study the impact of Emotional Artificial Intelligence in Smart City Design. A co-founder and editor of TheVisionMachine.com, a multi-platform project dedicated to issues surrounding war, peace, and media.
The linguistic underpinnings of environmental personhood
This paper examines a fundamental difference between the concepts of corporate and environmental personhood and argues that the encoding of the latter in indigenous languages can be used as a legal argument for conservation. Environmental personhood has emerged as part of a conservation strategy enabling landscapes to be named as legal persons, just as corporations have been defined as entities possessing juridical rights (Gordon, 2019). New constitutions in Ecuador (2008) and Bolivia (2010) recognized the rights of Pachamama ‘Mother Earth’, and in New Zealand (2014) environmental personhood was acknowledged for the Te Urewera forest and the Whanganui River. However, corporate and environmental personhood are only superficially analogous. Corporate personhood has always been a metaphor for pragmatic ends, allowing a corporation to sue, face liability, or own property. This metaphor may be seen as socially and environmentally pernicious (Stibbe, 2015). In contrast, environmental personhood can be literal: many communities living in endangered ecosystems do not restrict personhood to humans or animacy to animals (Descola, 2013). Dogon healers in Mali classify kapok trees as [+animate] beings, while Desana shamans in Colombia must negotiate with a [+person] forest spirit to determine how much hunting is allowed to maintain ecological balance. In Maori, possessive morphology indicates whether the noun is alienable (separable from the speaker) or inalienable: ancestral land is inalienable, such that the people belong to the land; the land does not belong to the people. Environmental personhood may be encoded in language through animacy hierarchies, numerical classifiers, direct object marking, relative pronouns, or verbs of existence. In indigenous communities resisting language shift, the linguistic encoding of ecological relations is argued to be an untapped source of legal argument for conservation, as well as an additional reason to promote bilingual education beyond a critical period for language attrition in childhood.
David Stringer is an Associate Professor of Second Language Studies at Indiana University. His research in linguistic approaches to bilingualism focuses on universal aspects of word meaning that play a role in grammar across languages. Research interests include language attrition, multilingualism in postcolonial societies, and biocultural diversity conservation (linking indigenous language revitalization to the conservation of ecosystems). Recent community outreach initiatives include the elementary school slideshow Saving Languages, Saving Species and the cinema series Biocultural Diversity: A Film Journey.
Valentina Boschian Bailo
Stories-in-progress: Communicating environmental migration.
Environmental migration is a wide-ranging issue affecting the lives and identities of many people in migrating and host communities. A relationship between ecological and socio-cultural systems and the ability to adapt underlies this phenomenon (Warner, 2010). Environmental migration is often framed and approached in ways that work against the interests of migrants and host communities and may affect the interdependency between humans and their lived environments.
This paper aims at exploring the discourse of intergovernmental organizations and media outlets. More specifically, the study focuses on the main representations of environmental migration, migrants and host communities, and the role attributed to the environment in causing environmental migration. Mainstream authoritative representations play a relevant role in building stories around environmental migration and its interrelatedness with other factors, and set boundaries to both understanding and action (Stibbe, 2012). Environmental migration as emerging from the texts analysed is an issue of power as well as human and environmental justice. The study about the way environmental migration is framed will contribute reshaping understanding of the phenomenon and offer new insights to deal with it in an effective way based on human rights principles.
This study combines eco-critical discourse and corpus analysis of two specialized corpora-built ad-hoc with open access publications and news articles, and it examines language used for environmental migration in institutional and official documents as compared to news discourse. Ecolinguistics is used as a framework for exploring the way language construes and impacts on our views of environmental issues and the participants involved (Stibbe 2014, 2015; Fill and Penz 2018).
The interest at the basis of this paper is a renewed caring attitude towards the ecosystem, its inhabitants and their close connection, together with the need to approach environmental migration in a considerate and humane way.
Valentina Boschian Bailo is a PhD student in Linguistic and Literary Studies at the University of Udine (Italy). Her research project investigates the discourse of international organisations and newspapers on environmental migration, using eco-critical discourse analysis and corpus analysis. She graduated at the University of Udine and has an MA European and Extra-European Languages and Literatures cum laude. She won the Panicali Award in 2016 for her Master’s dissertation Identity Construction in News Discourse. ‘Refugees’: a Case Study. She has been a visiting PhD student at University of Gloucestershire (UK) between 2018 and 2019.
Dirty or clean? Frameworks for waste
“We’ve made it do that people really don’t have to connect to their waste at all really. Don’t have to think about it”
The language that is used by waste professionals reveals the range of frames with which it is currently possible to talk about garbage. Waste is framed in relation to business and economics, the environment and nature and in relation to cultural norms about dirt and matter being out of place. More generally, the language of waste focusses on value(s), systems and cycles. In this paper, I analyse the language used by waste professionals in Seattle, Washington to identify the different frames through which waste is seen. Close comparison of these frames reveals their absences and tensions, especially in relation to business and environmental understandings of waste. In addition to documenting these frames, I argue that a distinction between use value and exchange value is important in the field of waste as it helps to distinguish between waste as commodity and waste as a (natural) resource. I further argue that by considering different conceptions of time (natural, cultural and individual) it becomes possible to see the kinds of actions that need to be taken in order to deal with waste in an environmentally sensitive way. Finally, by reflecting on recent changes in attitudes to plastic waste, arguably caused by a media event, I suggest that the frames themselves may be useful in reminding and reframing our relationship with waste.
Annabelle Mooney is Professor Language and Society at the University of Roehampton. She has previously worked on the language of human rights and the language of money.
Morgan Sleeper & Jessica Love-Nichols
A musico-linguistic analysis of the imagined futures of ‘eco grime’
Although music is an important medium through which people make sense of and communicate about environmental issues, it remains understudied within Environmental Communication and Ecolinguistics (Pedelty, 2015). This project aims to address that gap, and to show the inseparability of musical and linguistic elements in creating meaning within one genre of eco-musical activism called ‘eco grime’. The term ‘eco grime’ was first used by the Sydney-based netlabel Eco Futurism Corporation in 2015 for a particular genre of club-oriented electronic music which uses environmental sound samples, overt ecological themes, and a concern for ongoing environmental destruction (Brown, 2018). This analysis focuses on two eco grime artists in particular — Russian producer tropical interface and Finnish producer Forces. Tropical interface’s track eco world uses shifting musical instrumentation (from industrial machinery to flowing water) and linguistic elements (synthesized speech announcing “nature has higher priority than humanity”) to imagine a post-human future of natural harmony. Forces’ album Plastisphere imagines a different ecological utopia by theorizing microorganisms that feed on the plastic polluting the world’s oceans. Plastisphere was written using the audio programming language SuperCollider, which was ‘fed’ samples of EDM and synthetic trance music in order to procedurally generate glitchy, disquieting recycled music with chopped and screwed vocal music samples reconfigured to unintelligibility, marking the marginal status of humans in this imagined solution to ocean pollution. Through this musico-linguistic communication, eco grime recontextualizes ‘the club’ into a space of sonic environmental activism. Eco grime artists create a feeling of concern about environmental destruction, but also use this medium to imagine regenerative futures. Notably, these thematic elements are communicated through the combination of musical and linguistic elements, neither of which may be fully understood in isolation — this project therefore analyzes them as inseparable components, jointly creating meaning through eco-musical activism.
Morgan Sleeper is an Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Macalester College in Minnesota, USA. His work focuses on musicolinguistics — the integration of musical data into structural and sociocultural linguistic analyses and language revitalisation efforts.
Jessica Love-Nichols is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Macalester College. Her research focuses on gender, class, and regional identities—how people position themselves and others linguistically and ideologically—and especially on the relationship of language and identity to environmental conservation.
Tuesday 13th April
Tuesday 13th April 2021
Parallel Workshops 1
Tania Haberland (chaired by Camila Montiel McCann)
Art/ body workshop
An interactive BodyWording live collage exploring the eco and human healing power of biosemiotic practices in/with nature. A poet-bodyworker invites delegates to connect with nature within and around via their bodies’ breath, sounds, movements, words and sense of touch. A meditative, poetic performance/mindfulness practice. Language is born from the body which is an integral part of nature. If we can reharmonise with our natural bodies in order to speak and write, move and touch from a space of connection as opposed to abstract disassociation, we can begin to co-create a ‘technology of tenderness’ towards ourselves, others and our environment. By technology I mean the soft technologies and knowledge of the body as opposed to AI. Poetry and somatic movement combine with breath and voicework. The delegates become participatory witnesses to a process of merging with our surrounding environment, and our inner landscapes, creating a moment of suspension leading to stillness and silence… spaces our uber-frenzied and sped up societies are desperately in need of in order to halt the fracturing of reality into virtuality as predicted by the philosopher-artist Paul Virilio.
Tania Haberland is a poet and singer, artist and teacher. From a Mauritian-German family, she was born in South Africa and lived in the United States, England, Germany, Italy and Saudi Arabia. For her first book Hyphen, she received the Ingrid Jonker Prize. For Tania Haberland art, literature, education and therapy should work in interplay and weave into the social space. Her art represents multidisciplinary interaction between writing, music and movement. Currently Tania Haberland is working on a project based in Mauritius, Milan and Cape Town that aims to link artistic creation with a ‘Technology of Tenderness’. The heart of her work revolves around gender issues, sexuality, freedom and the destruction of the unity between humans and nature. She views the ocean as a muse that stimulates our senses and that as a constitutive element of our globe offers the insight that humans are only a small part of a greater entity.” – Sylt Foundation
Wendy Wuyts (chaired by Mariana Roccia)
Shortened forest therapy
Duration: 60-70 minutes
Maximum participants: 20
I would like to offer a free (shortened) forest therapy guide. I am getting trained by the Association of Nature & Forest Therapy (ANFT). Since September 2019 and already guided 7 walks, in Belgium or Japan. I participated in forest baths in USA, Norway and England and share my reflections and stories in my blog (www.woodwidewebstories.com).
A Forest Therapy Guide facilitates safe gentle walks, providing instructions — referred to as “invitations” — for sensory opening activities along the way. These walks follow a standard sequence. Each walk begins with establishing embodied contact with the present moment and place. Next comes a series of connective invitations. The walks end with a ceremony of sharing tea made from foraged local plants. This practice integrates indigenous knowledge, shinrin-yoku and other ideas. A guide we pick our words for designing the invitations as carefully as possible. I am not only a forest therapy guide to offer mental health benefits, but also to restore/improve the relationship with the more-than-human world. During the tea ceremony I will also share some stories from my (then) 1 year journey on the path of the forest therapy guide and also how I feel learning ecolinguistics and being a guide are intertwined learning paths for me. Normally a forest therapy session is 2-4 hours. I would be happy if I can have a slot of 90 minutes (or more) to guarantee a deeper immersion, because 60 minutes would not be enough. Gathering and the introduction already takes 20 minutes, before the invitations start.
Wendy Wuyts is a Belgian PhD student in Environmental Studies at Nagoya University, Japan and a forest therapy guide with the Association of Nature & Forest Therapy (ANFT). She blogs about sustainability issues in Japan for Mo*, a Flemish magazine focusing on social and environmental matters globally, and has her own personal blog where she collects stories about trees, tree spirits and forest bathing (woodwidewebstories.com). In november 2019, Wendy’s first fiction book got published: ‘Als Meubels Konden Spreken’ (If Furniture Could Talk), which introduces the main character to the different dimensions and aspects of the circular economy and integrated ideas Wendy learned from an on-line course in ecolinguistics.
Helina Hookoomsing (chaired by Jessica Hampton)
Rising from seed to tree – ‘The Walk Home’
A 30 minute movement, visualisation guided-meditation and storytelling session.
Rationale: This session represents an ecologically-grounded meditative energy-healing session, which is interwoven with an original story, about finding one’s self through reconnecting with nature. This session comprises two interwoven parts. Reiki and Pranic healing practices will be used to cleanse and charge the energy of the space before the session begins and will be used throughout the first part. The first part begins with a movement meditation in which participants visualise themselves as small seeds crouched on their knees on the ground, with their arms wrapped around themselves. They will be guided to visualise themselves as seeds in the earth, sentient and peaceful, enveloped by the cool, wet soil. Participants will be guided to keep their eyes closed throughout, and to connect with their breathing and their body to recognise the simultaneous softness, tensions, and emotions inside of them. From this, they will be guided to slowly unfurl from seed, to embryo, to cotyledon, reconnecting their energy roots through their feet deep into the Earth as they gently begin to rise up and stand. As they do so, participants will be encouraged to breathe deeply and consciously, to extend and move their arms until they visualise themselves as strong, healthy, happy trees. They will be asked questions for silent reflection on how they visualise their bodies as trees, to sway gently and feel their torsos as trunks, their arms and head as branches and leaves. They will be asked to reflect on a word or phrase as an affirmation for themselves and the energy they wish to embody in this world. After repeating this to themselves for some time, they will be gently guided back to the present moment and asked to open their eyes. This will be followed by a moment of silent breathing and lead into the second part of the session, which is a circle storytelling of my original short story ‘The Walk Home’ published in a Mauritian anthology, Collection Maurice (2017).
Helina Hookoomsing is an academic in English and Performing Arts at the Mauritius Institute of Education. She is currently doing doctoral research in ecolinguistics and education. Her research interests relate to ecocritical discourse analysis, Holistic Education, children’s literature, drama and meditation/mindfulness in education. She is a published short-story and poetry writer who won the national Edouard Maunick Poetry Prize 2019 in Mauritius. She is also a certified Reiki and Pranic healing practitioner who facilitates meditation, creative writing, and performance workshops.
Parallel Workshops 2
Pamela Candea (chaired by Mariana Roccia)
60-minute table workshop
Max: 16-20 participants
Using the tools of Nature to Breakthrough for Resilience
The Surefoot Effect CIC has been engaged in assisting those working to tackle climate change since its inception in 2012. In late 2019 we were awarded an Erasmus+ Grant to work on the Breakthrough for Resilience project with partners in Greece, Sweden, and Italy. People have connections with Places for many reasons. Communities are shaped by the Places in which they exist. Places are shaped by People, not always taking into account protection of the Place. Communities are created by and of people and shape the people in them. This project will look at how the connections between people, place and community can create resilience using approaches or tools in each of these areas, exploring how each model, method, or technique can be used to promote resilience in the other two aspects. For example, the principles of nature conservancy can be applied to fostering resilience in people and in communities too. As an example, The Wheel of Life technique for personal resilience will be examined for use in places and communities. Similarly, the processes used in nature conservancy for establishing resilience for ecosystems will be examined for applicability to people and community. Through this the project will increase awareness of humans as part of a larger ecosystem. We will use our research to develop a workshop to help people break through the boundaries between the concepts of people, place and community to see how these tools can bring benefit across all 3 areas. This table workshop will explore how natural systems and nature conservancy tools can be adapted to reconnect people with the rest of nature and build personal resilience and tackle eco-anxiety as well as building more environmentally beneficial interactions between people, places and communities in this environmentally challenging time.
Pamela Candea, founding Director of The Surefoot Effect, CIC, trains group work facilitators, runs personal resilience workshops, assists community groups with defining and implementing their values into their work, and works with corporates to lower their carbon impacts. She is a Natural Change facilitator, a programme offering transformative experiences of nature. After an award for Social Innovation from The Melting Pot, Edinburgh, set up Surefoot which supports practitioners working for values-based change. Surefoot recently created a graphic novel about the Climate Emergency with European partners in an Erasmus+ Project and is now engaged its 3rd Erasmus+ project on Resilience.
Gazelle Buchholtz (chaired Maddie Mancey)
60-minute table workshop- potential outdoor
Max: 8 participants (pen and paper needed)
Your World in Words – Nature, Creative Writing & Shared Reading
The project Your World in Words seeks to support people’s growth of nature connectedness and confidence. Your World in Words is run as a series of workshops with an ideal group size of five to eight participants. Each workshop uses exercises in creative writing and shared, guided reading with nature and the natural world as the focus. The aim is to create space for expression where the participants can consider their thoughts and feelings and experience how nature and natural surroundings might affect them. The full workshop takes up to 3 hours. The workshop at the conference at the University of Liverpool will be a 60 min. taster where the participants will be involved in all three elements: experiencing nature elements, creative writing and shared reading. After a few writing exercises the participants are asked to go for a brief walk alone in silence, and immediately after the walk to complete a given writing exercise. They are encouraged to write about what is seen, heard and smelled, to write fiction, feelings or memories based on the nature encounter. This is also an exercise which aims to open up reflection and strengthen the capacity to formulate thoughts and feelings. It is helpful to have access to natural surroundings but a session does not have to take place in the wilderness. Nature is everywhere and sunlight, the weather, a plant bursting through the pavement and urban gardens are as valid as the remote wilderness. Finally, there is a shared reading of a short story interspersed with group discussion, and the session ends with a poem. The workshop elements can support people to use their own words to describe their own world, during the process of nurturing their connection to nature.
Gazelle Buchholtz is associate at The Surefoot Effect, CIC, which equips people, communities and organisations with skills for sustainability and resilience. Gazelle holds a Master of Science, Biology – Communication of Scientific Knowledge from Denmark and has a minor in creative writing. She has completed a course in ecolinguistics via The University of Gloucestershire. Gazelle is involved in communication centered on environmental subjects. She has experience as project manager at an Agenda 21 office and projects engaging people in sustainability. She is passionate about writing and diving into the processes of creating captivating text.
Polly Moseley (chaired by Jessica Hampton)
“Whose narrative is it anyway?”
This abstract submission is for a storytelling session leading into a short analysis relating the social context of wildflowering North Liverpool to the ecological science.
My interest is in the words which form the narrative which is rooted in an authentic sense of place and how ecological restoration can be a signpost towards community wellbeing. The place I am focussing on for my PhD, where I have been working for 11 years is Everton Park, Anfield, Kirkdale and the North Docks in Liverpool. These remarkable neighbourhoods were some of the most densely-populated in Europe. In the late C20th, rapid population loss was accompanied by brutal demolition and ‘slum clearance’ – a justly maligned term. I will tell their story through a collage of first-hand reports recorded from people of all ages.
A striking sense of loss underpins the observations of those who have lived their lives here. Indigenous Scousers in the North End are predominantly related to those who fled famine in Ireland in 1847. I’m interested in how their vernacular exposes conflicted views towards the land. In urban neighbourhoods where decline has become the norm, and the lived experience of nature is minimal, which linguistic triggers resonate?
In 2015-16, I programmed songwriters’ and writers’ workshops with youth groups to respond to wildflowers. I’m very keen that my current research reflects back useful ways to embed wildflowering and nature-awareness within the communities. To date I have recorded 18/36 interviews and 6 songs. Oral storytelling, anthems and inventive wit are very strong in this part of the City. There is a disjunct between a science of ecosystem services that is imposed and harnessing a powerful energy that exists.
Wrapping up with learning points and recommendations, I will highlight the latent potential in eco-linguistics to shift practice and mindsets.
Polly Moseley graduated with a Dual Honours in English and French Literature from University of Oxford in 1996. She is interested in phonetics and linguistics, especially the resonance of local and regional vernaculars. After working in public health, cultural and economic development policy, Polly completed a Clore Leadership Fellowship in 2005, and has been working in North Liverpool since 2009. Working at a citywide, Polly has been involved in successful local public health, cultural events (Royal de Luxe) and urban wildflower campaigns. Polly’s work with urban wildflowers has been the impetus for her current PhD in the levers and barriers for the natural capital approach to valuing nature.
Presentation Panel 3
Chaired by Maddie Mancey
Sandra G. Kouritzin, Taylor F. Ellis, & Satoru Nakagawa
Sustainability weaponised: Ecojustice versus the marketization of Canadian higher education
Through the lens of CDA, we consider the discursive roles of “sustainability” in higher education discourses by considering strategic plans and websites of Canada’s U15 Group of research-intensive universities. Within these, sustainability is constructed as a generic social justice issue, normally not referenced as ecojustice. Even while identifying the climate emergency as a priority, universities relegate ecojustice to a list item, grouped alongside gender and sexual orientation equity concerns, representation and engagement with ethnic or racial groups, and/or cultural or linguistic concerns, among others. In these cases, sustainability is constructed as an addendum to other groups also written out of the larger promotional narrative of an institution (Wilson & Meyer, 2009). Additionally, ecological sustainability is prized separately from these other categories whenever its value can be positioned in order to continue pursuing exploitative extraction models which support capitalist enclosure and land exploitation, as is the case in certain discourses such as “liberating” the oil from the Alberta tar sands, or the production of “greener” petrochemicals.
The discourse of sustainability most often references institutional sustainability, within which strategic plans and website discourses construct a narrative of pessimism necessitating reform. In these instances, internal units are made to compete for their own continued support and viability based on instrumental concerns such as market competitiveness. Initiatives proposed may include (linguistically disguised) land appropriations, participation in human and animal rights abuses domestically and internationally, and capital expenditure projects focused on infrastructural spending which often come at the expense of less commodifiable intellectual pursuits. Choices are presented that justify further spending in categories where the competitiveness of the institution is seen as lacking. These discourses also fundamentally transform all knowledge and knowledge holders into commodities.
We cite examples from the institutional websites to demonstrate these extractive and reactive trends in higher education strategic plans and websites. We suggest that initiatives addressing ecojustice must address the foundation—the focus on “money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth” in higher education. This research is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Dr. Sandra Kouritzin is Professor of Education (TESL and applied linguistics) in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba. She is principal investigator on a SSHRC Insight Grant examining neoliberal discourses and workload creep in Canadian U15 universities.
Dr. Satoru Nakagawa is an instructor in Asian Studies at the University of Manitoba and in the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg. An Indigenous Amami (Ryukyuan) focused on language, culture, and identity, Dr. Nakagawa is a collaborator on Dr. Kouritzin’s research grant.
Taylor F. Ellis is a Ph.D candidate in Education and is a research assistant on the SSHRC project. His own work focuses on language planning and policy enactments in Inuit educational contexts in Nunavut, Canada.
My presentation will explore ways primary school teachers can introduce climate change into their literacy curriculums.
A recent poll conducted by NPR/Ipsos established that most American teachers do not cover climate change in their teaching. The NPR broadcast stated that although most teachers and parents thought climate change should be taught, more than half of teachers responding said they did not do so as it was “outside their subject area” (Kamenetz, 2019).
Research stemming from Oxfam was similarly reported on in The Guardian: three-quarters of UK teachers felt they did not have “adequate training to educate students about climate change” and wanted “environmental training so they [could] prepare children for a rapidly changing world” (Taylor, 2019).
I will address the growing need for interdisciplinary climate change education through a discussion of the following works related to literacy and ecology: Alan Stibbe’s (2015) Ecolinguistics, Bruno Latour’s (2018) Down to Earth, Michael Derby’s (2015) Place, Being, Resonance, and Rebecca Young’s Confronting Climate Crises Through Education (2018). Using these works as a foundation, I will present ideas for developing a climate change curriculum inside literacy education.
I am currently working on my Ph.D. in Schools, Society, and Culture with a focus in literacy at the University of Florida. I am very interested in embedding Ecojustice and Ecolinguistics in the pre-service teacher literacy curriculum and related professional development workshops for in-service teachers. Ecojustice and Ecolinguistics are currently neglected in K-12 public education and teacher preparation programs. Currently, I am focusing on the work of Rebecca Martusewicz, Chet Bowers, and Rebecca Rogers to further envision and build a literacy curriculum that addresses the eco-crisis and environmental racism through inclusion of positive literacy practices and Critical Discourse Analysis.
Linguistic rewilding on a university campus? From an online EFL course to a space for tangible multilingual interaction tasks and projects, where university students and the local community document and celebrate linguistic diversity, inventing responsible ways of living and learning together.
This is the story of how my pedagogical design shifted in response to changing environmental and ideological factors. At ICE-4, I presented workshops I had run with migrant families and students, making multilingual digital books for children, with nature themes, available via an online platform. For ICE-5, I intended to present a course which brings ecolinguistic analysis into the English for Specific Purposes classroom. The course, designed to precede the book writing workshops, trains students to identify frames and metaphors (Lakoff, 2010) in media while also harnessing what Sockett calls the online informal learning of English, (Toffoli and Sockett, 2010; Sockett, 2011, 2012, 2014). The aim is to guide English learners through reflexive media consumption and the analysis of series and films whose plots are based on the premise that humanity will be saved from a hostile environment by leaving planet Earth.
But several things have happened since I wrote that proposal which led me to change my pedagogical design focus. The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in all teaching and learning taking place online; I suffered severe digital indigestion. The French government made private English certification obligatory for all students. I joined an interdisciplinary group of academics in the Breton political ecology group EPolAr and discovered the issue of the environmental impact of digital technology. I discovered the power of the What If question (Hopkins, 2019) and remembered the power of a good story. So when invited to present my vision of the future of my university’s language centre, I imagined a place where linguistic diversity is celebrated and where interdisciplinary and multilingual approaches are applied to problem solving. A place where interaction tasks are available in tangible form, inviting the manipulation of objects, creativity, and crafting. Languages move into and out of this space, bridging the gap between academia and the local community. This is a place where people cooperate to collectively imagine, design and create activities for themselves and for others so that the communicative experiences available and the objects on display are constantly evolving, remaining relevant and engaging, giving people the power to direct their learning and sharing in meaningful directions.
Steve L. Thorne describes projects that send pupils out from the classroom and “into the world” as rewilding (Little and Thorne, 2017). Could “rewilding” also label a process whereby multiple and diverse experiences of language connect a campus to its “outside world” environment? The emphasis on linguistic diversity in higher education is a necessary counterbalance to the simplification that is represented by the current focus on English as the most valuable language for students and academics, no matter where they are in the world. The human need for embodied, sensory communicative experience cannot be replaced by online learning or media consumption. It is our duty to ensure that it remains the predominant experience in the face of pressure to digitalize all forms of learning and communication exacerbated by the current pandemic. We must decide whether the environmental impact of such emphasis on digital technology in education is justifiable. The environmental and social impact of all our teaching practices must be taken into account in pedagogical design so that students and their communities have access to respectful and meaningful learning environments and experiences.
Catrin Bellay is a senior lecturer in English for specialists of other disciplines and director of the Language Centre at Rennes 2 University, France. She is a member of the LIDILE research group in linguistics and language teaching. Her doctoral thesis examined the bilingual language acquisition of her four children and the role in that process of a variety of media forms (songs, stories, films) within a cognitive linguistics framework. Previous and current projects focus on developing and evaluating language teaching and learning methods, including the BookHoof workshop methodology for the collaborative creation of multilingual children’s books with ecological themes.
Revitalizing a translingual commons in language education: Toward a convivial vision of English language teaching
English language teaching has, for at least the last half century, been deeply embedded in a neoliberal economic and political regime, in which English functions as a commodity to facilitate free global flows of capital, goods, and labor (Flores, 2018; Holborow, 2006, 2015). One implication of this neoliberal regime of English has been the distortion of English into a non-convivial tool that promotes an ideology of monolingual English hegemony and standardization, as a form of enclosure of the previously commonly-held good of language. In this presentation, I propose a theoretical basis for a convivial and translingual language commons that realizes the promise of a more equitable and convivial language teaching that works to undo existing relationships between standardization of language, the radical monopoly of “schooling” over education, neoliberal economic and educational reform, and the power of native-speaker “ownership” of language.
To this end, I (re-) introduce the work of radical social critic and historian Ivan Illich (Illich, 1971, 1973, 1981/2013) as a basis for reimagining the work of language teaching as a form of convivial, commons-based practice. Illich was a contemporary and collaborator of Freire (Elias, 1976), and a significant public intellectual in the 70s and 80s (Cayley, 1992; Finger & Asun, 2001), whose radical critique of the industrialized, institutionalized society of the late 20th century remains relevant today. A translingual language commons informed by Illich’s critique offers a radical alternative to a neoliberal regime of enclosure reflected in dominant language ideology. Illich’s work provides a new lens to understand how commodified, standardized language has driven out vernacular alternatives in the academy and elsewhere, and his work demands a re-centering of language teaching around the vernacular, which is to say, those ways of being, working, and speaking which are learned convivially in communities without mediation by the state or market.
John Katunich is the Associate Director of the Writing Program and Multilingual Writing Specialist at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, USA. He received his PhD from the Language, Culture and Society Program at Pennsylvania State University College of Education, based on research that examined how pre-service ESL teachers take up convivial alternatives to language is viewed and taught. He is the co-editor (with Jason Goulah) of TESOL and Sustainabity: English Language Teaching in the Anthropocene Era (May, 2020) in the Bloomsbury Advances in Ecolinguistics Series. His current research examines the role of anti-neoliberalism in English language teacher identities.
The Garden Party
This action research project explored two areas of learning: (1) How sensory can stimulate creative writing in terms of literary techniques, and (2) How might an experience in the natural ecosystem reveal attitudes towards the environment. Participant groups were 9th grade English classes (42 students), English language arts teachers and an English as an additional language facilitator at the American School of Warsaw (Poland).
Creative writing activities were coupled with tasks in the community garden for the development of language attached to each task. The writing was then extended through classroom work. Ecolinguistic analysis was made through a three-step approach by analyzing the language produced in terms of natural ecological elements, then looking at it through the lens of sustainable attitudes and finally, what these narratives may tell us about attitudes or changing attitudes of the participants (Stibbe).
It was found that the experience in the garden led to meaningful and creative development of imagery, similes and metaphors which contained natural ecological elements as a carryover from the activities. Through ethnographic data collection (questionnaire and video) it was shown that this work had an impact on the attitudes of the learners towards the environment and revealed deeper connections to their natural ecology.
Josh Skjold is an English as an Additional Language facilitator at the American School of Warsaw and an Academic Teacher in the Pedagogy Department at the University of Warsaw (Poland) with degrees in literature, linguistics, and applied linguistics (TESOL). For over 20 years he has been teaching English language, literature, theory of knowledge, vocal emissions, public speaking and second language teaching methodology to high school and tertiary students. In addition, he has taken part in various European Union teacher exchanges and projects. Bike Friendly Youngsters, an EU sustainable transport project between Italy, Poland, Romania, and Turkey, initiated his course of ecolinguistics. It openly showed young people’s attitudes towards the power of sustainable practice and the beauty of language that reveals deeper connections to the natural ecology. He continues his work in promoting sustainable discourse through his actions, writing, film documentation and course design.
Isaac Ramírez Benavides
20 Years of Ecolinguistics: An Overview on the Evolution of the Field
It has been more than 20 years since the first traces of ecolinguistics appeared in the life of scholars exploring the relationship between environmental issues and language. Notwithstanding, there are several questions that arise by looking back at these 20 years of evidence from certain points of view: Perspectives: Despite the increasing number of publications, several ecolinguistics and non-ecolinguistics scholars still call this discipline “an emerging” field. This may suggest that they feel that ecolinguistics lacks something that stops it from being a complete discipline with its own theories and methodologies. In addition, it is true that ecolinguistics is not widely known in other “mainstream” linguistics schools, and there has been resistance to accept this field as a new branch of linguistics. What is this element that ecolinguistics is missing? Do researchers agree with the term “emerging field” for ecolinguistics? What are the features that differentiate ecolinguistics from other specialized and fixed areas in linguistics? Can ecolinguistics make an impact on its own, without the help of other areas in linguistics? Linguistic populations: The English language is the lingua franca across many disciplines around the world, and ecolinguistics is not the exception. Researcher may note, however, that ecolinguistics aims at impacting real-world issues, but—given that the majority of the publications are in English and some other Indo-European languages—how likely is ecolinguistics to make an impact on non-English speakers? What are the linguistic populations that ecolinguistics is more likely to approach nowadays? Do we have enough publications from other languages and geographies? The objective of this round table is to gather a variety of researchers in order to discuss these questions and determine possible answers, subsequent questions and other aspects to consider while addressing these concerns.
Isaac got his B.A. in English from the University of Costa Rica (UCR) in 2016, and in 2017 he began the Master’s Program in Linguistics at the same university. He is currently proposing a project that analyses the frames used in the environmental agendas of 2018 political campaign as the first thesis in Ecolinguistics of the UCR. His research areas focus on Ecolinguistics and Critical Discourse Studies (CDSs) though he has also done a little research in other areas such as language revitalization, creole languages, multimodal analysis, and English as a second language.Lee Lee (chaired by Maddie Mancey)
Chaired by Camila Montiel McCann
SEED: Restoration Liberation
Exploring historic, French colonial connections between Acadia and Haiti, we examine entangled mobilities between plant-human and non-human relationships held sacred by indigenous communities. We focus on healing and how plant-based practices in both geographies may inform each other as we navigate our way through food sovereignty, sacred/medicinal relationships and rewilding efforts. Drawing from the dynamic nature of Wabanaki languages, which recognize constant changes in the landscape, we integrate linguistics, movement and cartography into our creative workshops. The indigenous Taino people met the first free Africans in Ayiti (Haiti), during the 1800’s. Ayiti means ‘mountains beyond mountains’ an expression from and of the land. Recognizing one another’s interconnected, sacred relationships with the land, Taino shared knowledge of the medicinal qualities found in Haiti’s endemic plants with the Africans. Plant, food and soil knowledge continues to be cultivated, interwoven with multiple cultural nuances, as interventions of restoration and liberation throughout the tightest corners of urban Port-Au-Prince. There is an extraordinary practice of preservation maintained in the face of extreme economic challenges as these same plants are grown in micro-gardens around the Grand Rue. Augmenting these existing efforts, we produce ongoing workshops that weave together recorded conversations, knowledge sharing and storytelling. Around the shared table in Maine, we share how localization at home supports food security abroad and demonstrate how to save seeds to restore native foodways. Through establishing networks of ‘living seed libraries’ with schools and environmental organizations, we cultivate preservation rings larger than our individual selves. We integrate eco-cultural restoration by freely dispersing native and heirloom seeds while sharing indigenous methods of tending the wild. The commonality between the different cultures who inform our work is an ability to speak the language of plants, transcending differences in spoken language to practice a literal form of ‘eco-linguistics’.
Lee Lee is a visual artist who constructs frameworks for participatory restoration projects and creative seed dissemination. She explores the impact of a mobilities-centered culture and works towards localization to promote food security in both Maine and Haiti. Taking a multi-generational approach to restoration, she founded the SEED Barn together with her father and son, in Blue Hill, Maine. Her father, Peter Leonard was awarded a masters in linguistics from the University of Colorado. Her son, twelve-year-old Thatcher Gray lends a systems-based understanding of ecology to engage youth participation. Together they cultivate gardens as platforms of community engagement.
Wednesday 14th April
Wednesday 14th April
Presentation Panel 4
Chaired by Camila Montiel McCann
The Language of Becoming-with
In the field of the Environmental Humanities, my doctoral project investigates the forms of communication of two families becoming-with their permacultural sites – Thar dö Ling in Italy, and Tree Elbow in Australia –, with a focus on the imaginaries of water, plants, food, and waste. While showing how these derive from cultural images formed by being in the land, the thesis wishes to propose that the two permacultural sites are the stories that each family lives by. One year of fieldwork for an ecocritical autoethnography about the experiences with people who have been trying to reply regeneratively to this epoch of ecological disruption. By reflecting on the regenerating narratives that I fed on during field work, this presentation explores the interdisciplinary methodology for my doctorate as one pathway for a research that conceives narration as an elemental and multispecies collective practice.
Giulia Lepori is a doctoral candidate in the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science at Griffith University; within the Environmental Humanities, informed by Material Ecocriticism, her thesis is focused on the regeneration of ecological imaginaries through human and more-than-human communica(c)tion. She is the co-creator of the independent photo-narrative project ‘Echoes of Ecologies’ (echoesofecologies.noblogs.org), through which she co-produced the ethnographic film ‘Yuyos’ (Krawczyk and Lepori 2018).
LIU Ming & HUANG Jingyi
“Global Warming” or “Climate Change”? A Corpus-assisted Discourse Study of the Competing Use of Two Catchwords in Environmental News Discourse
“Global warming” and “climate change” are two catchwords which have been used frequently and, more often than not, interchangeably in environmental news discourse. Although the differences between the terms have been discussed in some studies, few studies give an empirical study on the actual use of the two terms in environmental news discourse. This study is intended to fill in the gap by giving an extensive corpus-assisted discourse study (CADS) of the use of two terms in American news discourse during the last two decades. Two large corpora have been built by respectively collecting all the news reports containing the term “global warming” or “climate change” in the New York Times from 2000 to 2019. A CADS approach has been adopted in the present study by combining the methods and theories frequently associated with critical discourse analysis and corpus linguistics. A combination of qualitative and quantitative, synchronic and diachronic analyses has been performed in the present study. The findings suggest that “climate change” has been used more frequently than “global warming” in recent years. An examination of the use of the two terms synchronically and diachronically has also revealed significant patterns in their use. It sheds light on both the changing socio-political context as well as the changing agenda in environmental news reporting.
LIU Ming is an associate professor in linguistics at School of Foreign Languages of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. His research interests cover environmental news reporting, corpus-assisted discourse studies, critical discourse analysis, and systemic functional linguistics. His recent publications have appeared in some international journals, such as Language & Communication, Discourse & Communication, Journal of Language and Politics, Text & Talk, and Critical Arts.
Huang Jingyi is a PhD student at School of Foreign Languages at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Her research interests cover environmental news reporting, corpus-assisted discourse studies, and critical discourse analysis.
A Contrastive Ecological Discourse Analysis of Thematic Choices in Trump’s and Wang’s Speeches
By adopting an Ecological Discourse Analysis (EDA) approach, this article compares Donald Trump’s and Wang Yi’s speeches delivered at the General Debate of the 73rd session of the United Nation General Assembly by examining their preferences for employing thematic resources, aiming to unveil how thematic choices contribute to convey certain eco-orientations and establish the speakers’ worldviews. As the EDA approach observes the ecosophy of ‘Diversity and Harmony, Interaction and Coexistence’ concerning different factors in an ecosystem, the research focuses on the examination of Trump’s and Wang’s particular styles in the choice of participant pole Themes in their speeches. The results suggest that Trump’s thematic strategy echoed and amplified his America-centrism by constantly signaling the United States almost as an exclusive starting point, whilst Wang used a greater variety of participant role theme types to set forth his position toward multilateralism. The results also contribute to explaining how different eco-orientations are conveyed through the manipulation of thematic resources and how they might influence people’s understanding of sustainable development of the international ecosystem.
HE Wei, prof. of linguistics with and Deputy Director of National Research Centre for Foreign Education and National Research Centre for State Language Capacity, Beijing Foreign Studies University; chair of China Association of Ecolinguistics; Systemic Functional Linguistics Representative of International Ecolinguistics Association; vice chair of China Association of Discourse Analysis; co-editor of Journal of World Languages; author and co-author of nearly two hundred publications; speaker of more than eighty presentations at international and national conferences; host of more than ten significant projects; convener of 2nd International Conference on Ecolinguistics and co-organizer of 3rd and 4th International Conferences on Ecolinguistics.
Presentation Panel 5
Chaired by Jessica Hampton
Helina Hookoomsing & Shameem Oozeerally
Ecology and language in motion: Analysis of a creative performance of holistic trainee-teachers in the Mauritian context
Holistic Education (HE) has been introduced in the Mauritian primary school context in 2017. While the epistemological underpinnings of its implementation in Mauritius have been subject to criticisms, notably in terms of the disarticulation between theoretical discourses and state discourses (Oozeerally and Hookoomsing, 2019), the programme offers interesting avenues to explore the holistic facet of education. Physical education, values, music, visual arts, and drama form part of the subject areas under the responsibility of HE teachers at primary level. The Arts component includes drama, which is the focus of this presentation, and creates the space for the investment of different topics, including ecology, in multimodal communication. This contribution aims to analyse the creative performance of holistic trainee-teachers through the lens eco-critical discourse analysis. Elements from Stibbe’s (2015) eight-point framework for ‘stories we live by’ will be used as a theoretical backdrop to analyse the discourses of the trainees, which were elicited through a focus-group discussion. The questions pertaining to the focus-group discussions were conceptualised in parallel with the creative performance script, which also represents the corpus for the analysis. The creative performance in question was written and enacted by the trainee-teachers in the context of a play for the Mauritius National Day celebrations; the theme this year was ‘Lanatir nou lavenir’ (which translates as ‘nature, our future’). Ecological issues were meshed into the performance and discourse around national identity. Language choices, as well as the presentation of particular ecological topics, like deforestation and loss of beaches, will form part of the discussion in relation to analysing how and why the HE trainee-teachers focused on ecological issues as symbolically connected with the national flag.
Helina Hookoomsing is an academic in English and Performing Arts at the Mauritius Institute of Education. She is currently doing doctoral research in ecolinguistics and education. Her research interests relate to ecocritical discourse analysis, Holistic Education, children’s literature, drama and meditation/mindfulness in education. She is a published short-story and poetry writer who won the national Edouard Maunick Poetry Prize 2019 in Mauritius. She is also a certified Reiki and Pranic healing practitioner who facilitates meditation, creative writing, and performance workshops.
Ethnic vs. Civic Nationalism: Capitalist enclosures and Indigenous land rights in Nunavut
According to Statistics Canada (2016), approximately 85% of people living in Nunavut self-identified as Inuit in the most recent census. Of these, 85% self reported being proficient in Inuktitut and 74% reported Inuktitut as their mother tongue. Recently, a development has emerged within Inuktitut as a product of its political development to use the collective noun of “Nunavummiut” in order to distinguish Inuit who are from Nunavut and those from elsewhere in the broader Inuit community within Canada. Légaré (2008) describes this development as marking an important transition between ethnic nationalism based on Inuit identity formation, and an emerging civic nationalism which manifests itself with traits not dissimilar from any other sub-national jurisdiction in Canada. As a geographer, he considered the implications that the newly founded borders had on existing political and ethnic tensions in the region, noting how the settlement of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., 1993) and the establishment of Nunavut had resulted in certain incidents where neighbouring peoples were denied access to their ancestral hunting grounds on the basis of not being able to claim Nunavut Inuit ancestry.
This paper will consider the ecological implications of this settlement through the lens of primitive accumulation (Marx, 1977) and governmentality (Ball, 2006) which have marked this transition between ethnic and civic nationalism described by Légaré (2008). This has encouraged an isomorphic mode of governing within Nunavut which expands capitalist exploitation of natural resources in the Arctic. This will be accomplished by considering earlier proposed land claims and transcripts from conference during the period of early negotiations (Dunne, 1970; Inuit Tapirisat of Canada, 1976), the final agreement (Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., 1993), and existing mining and non-renewable resource exploitation regulations relevant to Inuit lands (Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., 1997) and the majority of Crown Lands (Legislative Services Branch, 2017).
Taylor Ellis is a PhD Candidate at the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Education and is University of Manitoba Graduate Fellow, and recipient of the Graduate Enhancement of Tri-Council Stipend. He is also a high school teacher trained in Ontario, Canada who taught in Nunavut and Manitoba and continues to supply teach adult education for a local community college in Winnipeg. His scholarly work primarily focuses on the politics of Indigenous language education and linguistic norms within Nunavut. Additionally, he has recently been considering the impact of neoliberal managerial structures on faculty workload in higher education.
Beyond the Hard Rain: Multimodal Ecolinguistic Analysis
This paper is based on researching Bob Dylan’s ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’ and its corresponding charity ‘Hard Rain Project’ set up by the UN and NGO Environmental Photographer Mark Edwards. I wish to highlight the ways in which this project is relevant to the issues we currently face today and how it offers a unique insight into the problems and solutions of modern society. The project provides salience for the question: What must we do when the hard rain falls?
Edwards, the director of the Hard Rain Project was inspired by the song to such an extent that he created a photography exhibition he named WHOLE EARTH? and placed it in various universities and museums worldwide and amassed over fifteen million viewers, which makes it one of the largest international educational charities ever. For its impact upon visitors and its reach spanning to the likes of the former Prime Minister of the UK, the founder of the Eden Project, the head of the UN and more, the project was awarded the UNESCO award. With Bob Dylan’s nobel prize in Literature and its ecolinguistic commentary upon issues that sadly prevail today, it could be useful to refer to the Hard Rain Project for a hopeful, multidisciplinary perspective on Climate Change, Sustainability, War, Animal Rights and so on.
Madeleine (Maddie) Mancey is a first-year PhD Researcher of Ecolinguistics at the University of Gloucestershire, UK. She won a prize for achieving academic excellence as well as an award for her final year dissertation in BA (Hons) English Language and Creative Writing. Her creative fiction has been published in the Third World Press and Superlative Literary Journal and she holds a freelance Editor role having worked on a native-American series named ‘Black Buffalo’. As current Communications Officer of the International Ecolinguistics Association, and Conference Assistant for ICE-5 she aspires to continue publishing academic and creative work in this field.
Andrea Boom, Jack Wilson, and Janet C.E. Watson
From Naming to Numbers
The rich ecolinguistic system of Dhofar, Oman and Mahra, Yemen stems from the human population’s close connection with the natural environment. Western technology was not introduce on a wide scale until 1970 and so, until recently, people depended on what they could grow or create from the natural resources available. This link to the natural environment is strongly reflected in the measurement systems in the indigenous languages of the region.
This paper focuses on these measurement systems and the gestures associated with it in the indigenous languages of Dhofar and Mahra. It discusses the measurement of time based on the position of the sun and the related gestures indicating the difference between exact and approximate timing; the measurement of distance and the gestures associated with direction and position; the measurement of herds without the use of numbers; and a dating system based on noteworthy events.
These measurement systems are under threat as digitised, western technologies take over. Now time of day can be expressed in hours and minutes, numbers are used to describe livestock and calendar dates are used to describe time of year. This shift in language also signals a shift in relationship with the natural environment and can be seen in a steep decline in the environmental health of the region. Current efforts are investigating this link and how to work toward sustaining both the languages and the natural environment of the region.
Andrea Boom is a post-graduate researcher in linguistics with a special focus in Semitic languages. Currently, she is collaborating with Janet Watson looking into the link between linguistic and biological diversity in southern Arabia. Previously, she did comparative linguistics of Ethio-Semitic, Modern South Arabian Languages and various dialects of Arabic.
Jack Wilson is a Lecturer in English Language at the University of Salford and works with The Salford Institute for Dementia Research. Jack’s research interests lie at the boundaries between semantics and pragmatics and language and gesture. He is currently working on projects exploring the use of gesture in Modern South Arabian, linguistic representations of dementia in the United Kingdom, and theoretical approaches to language and gesture production.
Janet Watson has held academic posts at the universities of Edinburgh, Durham and Salford, and visiting posts in Heidelberg (2003-4) and Oslo (2004-5). She took up the Leadership Chair for [email protected] in Leeds in 2013, and was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 2013. She is co-director of the Centre for Endangered Languages, Cultures and Ecosystems at the University of Leeds. Her main research interests lie in the documentation of Modern South Arabian languages and Yemeni Arabic dialects, with particular focus on theoretical phonological and morphological approaches to language varieties spoken within the south-western Arabian Peninsula.
Website Presentations for Q&A on Wednesday 14th April
Ecolinguistics as a science for peace
In recent years, ecolinguists have embraced two topics which are particularly relevant to the world’s present situation. One of these topics is the role of language in counteracting the ‘climate change’. The second one is its role in maintaining and creating peace all over the world.
‘Peace Linguistics’ deals particularly with the topics of growthism and thinking in contrasts, both of which are anchored in our languages. Michael Halliday (2001) wrote that “language promotes the ideology of growth” of anything human at the cost of nature or what we call the environment. The growth-word is always the neutral word: “how high is the mountain” – never ‘how low’, “how fast is the car” – never ‘how slow’. However, the ideology of growth is counterproductive to creating peace, because each nation and each group wants to grow at the expense of its neighbours, which may lead to violence and war.
A second line of thinking also based on our languages is our thinking in opposites. Our languages contain hundreds of word contrasts (large: small, high: low, young: old, friend: enemy etc.). Thus, language makes us think that the world consists of opposites, which is counter-productive to creating peace. We should be aware that between these contrasts there are ‘intermediate values‘, which can easily be expressed with language, e.g. ‘of giant size’, ‘medium size’, ‘rather small’ and ‘tiny’. Similarly, instead of ’friend‘ vs. ‘enemy‘, we should at least use three stages, i.e. ‘like-minded‘, ‘similar-minded’ and ’unlike-minded‘ person. We should also speak in a linear rather than in a polar way, which means dropping our thinking in ’either: or‘ and instead following Chinese recognition of values with ’both … and’ or ‘not only … but also’. Ecolinguistics tries to make people aware of these different ways of thinking based on language; it can thus contribute to peace in our world.
Prof. Dr. Alwin Fill
since 1980 Professor of English Linguistics, Graz University
since 2007 professor emeritus
Research interests: Ecolinguistics, the language impact, language and suspense
Latest book publications:
2010: The Language Impact: Evolution – System – Discourse. London, Oakville: equinox.
2018: ed. (with H. Penz), The Routledge Handbook of Ecolinguistics. New York and London: Routledge.
Ruby Rong Wei
An interpersonal framework of international ecological discourse
This paper explores an interpersonal framework of international ecological discourse analysis within systemic functional linguistics. It shows that the sub-categories of the functional interpersonal framework may need extending in terms of delicacy along the ecological cline to construe the ecological features in the context under investigation. The extension can be achieved through an integration of the following ecological parameters into a functional framework: a system of international ecological factors, a system of international ecological environment, and the international ecosophy “diversity and harmony, interaction and co-existence” (多元和谐, 交互共生 duo yuan he xie, jiao hu gong sheng). This integration builds an “ecological” interpersonal framework for international ecological discourse analysis, which is composed of an “ecological” Mood system, an “ecological” Modality system and an “ecological” Appraisal system. The construction of an ecological interpersonal framework is accompanied by specific case analysis.
Ruby Rong Wei is a lecturer at Department of Foreign Languages, School of Law and Humanities, China University of Mining & Technology, Beijing. Having written a PhD thesis in ecolinguistics, she took up her current position at China University of Mining & Technology, Beijing in 2019. In 2017, as secretary of China Association of Ecolinguistics, she and her supervisor Professor He Wei created WeChat Official Account Ecolinguistics, which aimed to promote the development of ecolinguistics in China. Her research interests include functional linguistics, ecolinguistics, corpus linguistics and discourse analysis.
João Nunes Avelar Filho
The Brazilian cerrado: from devastation to glory
The ideology of progress does not respond to the immense ecological crisis that our planet is going through. The new understanding of life as a scientific frontline shifting from a mechanistic worldview to an ecological worldview could be a reasonable and more satisfactory solution. Thus, it is necessary to establish a counterpoint between traditional epistemological knowledge that prioritizes the indiscriminate use of natural resources – without concern with compensating for huge environmental losses – and the more ecologically viable use of natural resources practiced by landless workers in the Brazilian rural areas. These groups live temporally on settlements while wait to be settled in expropriation areas where they produce a variety of organic food, demonstrating their extraordinary knowledge of the responsible use of the land. Based on Couto’s ecosystem linguistics (2012) this paper seeks to analyze the popular narratives of the peoples from the Brazilian Cerrado, the second largest biome in Brazil, made up of tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas and dry forests (shrublands).
João Nunes Avelar Filho is graduated in Language and Literature (English-Portuguese) by Universidade Federal de Uberlândia (UFU), master’s degree in Applied Linguistics by the University of Brasília (UnB) and doctorate in Language and Linguistics at Universidade Federal de Goiás(UFG), Brazil. Teaching experience includes languages with emphasis linguistics, performing in the following fields presently: Ecolinguistics and Discourse Analysis.
In this presentation I introduce and explain my research on the epistemology of “science denialism”. This research looks at three questions concerning the beliefs we hold about politics and scientific issues that intersect with politics, like climate change. First, are “science denialists” (e.g. climate change sceptics) irrational? Second, are they necessarily intellectually vicious? Third, what can we do about science denialism, both as an epistemological and a political problem? While I can’t promise answers to these questions, I hope by the end of the presentation you have some idea what empirically-informed philosophy can offer by way of answering them.
Robin McKenna joined Liverpool in September 2018. Previously he worked in Austria (at the University of Vienna) and Switzerland (at the University of Geneva). He completed his PhD at the University of Edinburgh. Most of his work is in epistemology, but he is also interested in philosophy of language, philosophy of science and ethics. Within epistemology, he is increasingly interested in applied epistemology, feminist epistemology and social epistemology more broadly. Current topics of interest include the epistemology of persuasion, the epistemology of climate change denial (and of “dysfunctional epistemologies” more broadly), epistemic injustice and social constructivism.
A Corpus-Assisted Ecolinguistic Analysis of the Evolving Evaluations of Wilderness in US Discourse
In this diachronic corpus-assisted ecolinguistic analysis, the evolving evaluations of the term wilderness are explored across approximately two hundred years of language use in the Google Books Corpus and the Corpus of Historical American English. The analysis identified the most frequent adjective collocates of wilderness from 1800-2010 and employed Kendall’s Tau correlation coefficient to empirically evaluate the strength of the decade-by-decade increases/decreases in these frequent collocational patterns. The analysis revealed multiple shifting patterns in the representation of wilderness with varying evaluative framings increasing since 1950. This presentation illuminates the potential of corpus-assisted diachronic ecolinguistics, the framework of evaluation, and the collocation analysis method supported by Kendall’s Tau correlation coefficient for assessing diachronic change in the representations of eco-keywords. This project is one chapter of the forthcoming text Corpus-Assisted Ecolinguistics to be published in late 2021/early 2022.
Robert Poole is an assistant professor of Applied Linguistics and TESOL at the University of Alabama. His research interests include ecolinguistics, corpus-assisted discourse analysis, and corpus-assisted approaches to language teaching and learning. His ecolinguistics research has been published in Critical Discourse Studies, Discourse & Communication, and Environmental Communication, and he has a forthcoming text with Bloomsbury titled “Corpus-Assisted Ecolinguistics”.
Julia Fine & Jessica Love-Nichols
“Overwhelmed, hopeless, galvanized”: Climate activists’ affective stances, mental health affectedness, and needs for support
As the effects of the climate crisis become increasingly visible, many researchers have noticed growing negative impacts on mental health, particularly among youth (Hayes, et al., 2018; Verlie 2019). Participating in climate action, however, has been shown to positively affect mental health (Ballard & Ozer, 2016; Hope, et al., 2018; Klar & Kasser, 2009). This study consists of an anonymous online survey of members of several climate action groups, including Extinction Rebellion and the Sunrise Movement. Through a combination of multiple choice and open response questions, we examine how climate activists frame their mental health affectedness and needs for support. We find that the majority of respondents express intense fear, anxiety, and anger in relation to the climate crisis, yet a large subset also express attitudes of hope. Despite the widely assumed dampening effect of despair (e.g. O’Neill et al. 2009), many activists report continuing to take action even though they feel it is too late to avoid disaster. Motivations for sustained action include positive role-modeling from other activists, a strong community network, and a sense of responsibility towards future generations. These factors are also linked to experiencing mental health benefits from climate activism, with approximately two thirds of respondents reporting such climate activism-derived mental health benefits. Barriers to action include work and school obligations, lack of funding, isolation, and low perceived efficacy. Taken together, our research suggests that climate action—and, by extension, activists’ mental health—can be supported by building inclusive activist communities, offering specific, practical actions with identifiable outcomes, and allocating funding or course credit for climate justice organizing. We further suggest that climate justice organizations and educators may find it helpful to conduct surveys of climate activists to understand how to support their activism and mental health, as specific needs for support may vary across contexts.
Green Tongues is a student-led, interdisciplinary group of scholar-activists based at the University of California, Santa Barbara. We use survey methods, ethnographic methods, and focus groups to examine the sociological and linguistic dimensions of climate activism with the overarching goal of inspiring and sustaining action. We ourselves participate in several climate justice-focused organizations, including the Sunrise Movement, Extinction Rebellion, Ecovista, and the Union of Concerned Scientists Team-Based Organizing Initiative. Our members include Ivana Ash (undergraduate student, Linguistics), Julia Coombs Fine (graduate student, Linguistics), Rohit Reddy Karnaty (graduate student, Electrical Engineering), Jessica Love-Nichols (visiting assistant professor, Linguistics), Delcia Orona (undergraduate student, Anthropology), Elena Salinas (undergraduate student, Environmental Studies), Forest Stuart (undergraduate student, Sociology and Language, Culture, and Society), and Shawn Van Valkenburg (graduate student, Sociology)