Award-winning author David J. Park argues that the battle against global warming is also a fight for media reform. With his new book Media Reform and the Climate Emergency: Rethinking Communication in the Struggle for a Sustainable Future, he critically examines how advertising, the digital infrastructure, and journalism advance the climate emergency and lays out a path of reform to help create a more sustainable world. The production and consumption of goods and services within consumer societies lead to unsustainable greenhouse gas emissions, and Park finds that much of mass communication is either dependent upon or closely tied to the success of this social organization. As a result, he suggests successful environmental movements creatively dismantle or reform institutional infrastructures that extend the planetary global warming crisis and the unsustainable consumption of nature.
Communication policies and industries are part of these infrastructures. Advertising evolved to propel a new consumer society that would encourage the over-consumption of goods and services with harmful and unsustainable production processes. Our digital infrastructure is largely premised upon the surveillance of online consumer habits and preferences, with the goal to create individualized messages to more effectively persuade people to increase their consumption habits. Much of commercial journalism resists the drastic and immediate regulatory changes necessary to address the worst aspects of this crisis. This is because so many of the needed changes challenge the media’s source of income, their libertarian philosophy, and the general status quo, which is preferred by elites. Bound to foster conversations among scholars, activists, politicians, and those who work in the communication industries, this book rethinks mass communication and highlights how immediate reform is needed in the struggle for a sustainable planet.