The Pragmatic Environmentalist

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Presentation about a blog project at Lund University. In the blog fallacies of environmental communication are analyzed. See

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  • 1. The 'Pragmatic Environmentalist' by Jonas Sonnenschein Learn, Apply, Communicate Web Conference, June 2009 IIIEE, Lund University, Sweden This presentation is available on:

2. Outline

  • The Learn, Apply, Communicate course 3. Environmental Communication and Fallacies 4. The 'Pragmatic Environmentalist' 5. Reactions to the project

6. Part I The Learn, Apply, Communicate Course Course Website: 7. Learn... ... what is taught in the online part of the Master inEnvironmental Management and Policy ! Apply... ... your knowledge about a specific topic that isapparent in your surrounding! Communicate... ... your project and discuss it with your peers andexternal experts! 8. So, what projectshould I chose? 9. My location during the online-course was the Internet 10. The topic was our natural environment real life! 11. But if you cannot see the natural environment you have to rely on communication! 12. Environmental problems and their social, economic and political consequences are often not visible in our direct surrounding! Happy Scanian Cow, Autumn 2008 13. Therefore,environmental communicationis necessary ...... but might be flawed! 14. Part II Environmental Communicationand Fallacies 15. Some commonfallaciesin Environmental Communication: 16. 1.An expert in a field is not always an authority! 17. ... but some experts definitely are. 18. 2. Environmental problems usually have more thanone solution! 19. ... leaving out alternatives might createfalse dilemmas A B C D E F G H I J K L or M N O P 20. 3. A logical structure does not help if the underlying assumptions are wrong! 21.

  • If a substance is nottoxic, we can use it forfood production. 22. Nicotine is not a toxicsubstance. 23. Thus, we can use nicotinefor food production.

Logically valid, but wrong. Nicotineistoxic! 24. 4. Too many IFs might lead to questionable solutions! (slippery-slope arguments) 25. Ifcarbon from the atmosphere can be stored in biochar, CCS in biochar can contribute to the reduction of the greenhouse effect. Ifbiochar can reduce the greenhouse effect and the addition of biochar to the soil can be made economically attractive biochar producers, farmers, and politicians can profit. Ifall important stakeholders profit from biochar it will be successful on the market.Ifa product is successful on the market it will spread out around the world. Ifbiochar issuccessful around the world the greenhouse effect will be reduced significantly. Thus, the use of biochar will reduce global warming significantly! Is it really that easy? 26. 5. The lack of proof for a statement does not support the opposite! 27. Uncertainty about future globalwarming does not mean thatthere will not be any warming 28. Fallacies in Environmental Communication can befound everywhere! 29. Seldom in reviewed articles ... 30. ... more often inscience journalism ... 31. KEELY reckons yesterday's climate change demo atStansted backfired. She said: I have some sympathy withprotesters, but causing somany planes to divert putsMORE carbon dioxide into theAtmosphere. ... regularly in tabloids ... 32. ... countlesstimes on theInternet. 33. Policy makingis based on scientific consultancy, lobbying and public opinion. 34. Behaviorof individual people is strongly influencedby media and byother people'sopinions andbehavior. 35. Therefore, environmental policies or consumption decisions might easily be based on flawed communication ! 36. Part III The 'Pragmatic Environmentalist' 37. The 'Pragmatic Environmentalist' blog analyzeslogical errorsin environment related communication. 38. Thepowerto communicate a certain statement and bias public debate is not in the focus of this project ... 39. ... but differences in power do exist and matter. 40. Isbloggingthe appropriate form of communication for my project? 41. YES! free accessibility easy commenting function unproblematic linking to sources subscriptions to new posts tracking of the success interactivity good writing practice 42. NO! insignificance in the width of theInternet not r egarded asscientific not suitable for long analyseseasy tracking of failure :( 43. Be that as it may, I set up a blog and called it ... 44. PragmaticEnvironmentalist relating to matters of fact or practical affairs often to the exclusion of intellectual or artistic matters : practical as opposed to idealistic Source: Merriam-Webster OnLine 45. Pragmatic Environmentalist an advocate of environmentalism which is the advocacy of the preservation, restoration, or improvement of the natural environment Source: Merriam-Webster OnLine 46. The name of the blog is reflected in my posts about ... 47. ... thefalse dilemmaof choosing between climate change or no climate change ... 48. ... appealing to the IPCC as anauthorityin the field of climate change ... 49. ... theslippery slopeargument ofusing biochar as a panacea to stop global warming ... 50. ...wishful thinkingabout the effect of reducing the amount of plastic bags ... 51. ... andirrelevantandwrong premisesin an argument against the credibility of climate models. 52. So far, the blog is mainly inspired by a couple of online sources. 53. green 54. A good introduction to the theory ofinformal logicscan be found in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 55. Part IV Reactions to the Project 56. A free software allowed me to analyze the traffic on my blog. 57. Weekly visitors (June 3rd) [In week 22 I sent the address of the blog to two different mailing lists.] 58. Countries Top 10 (June 3rd) 59. Some readers leftcommentsto my posts. 60. I received some mails with statements of support ... 61. ... but all the mails I sent to people or institutions that are quoted in my blog remained unanswered. 62. Now it's time to visit my blog: Thanks for your attention!And in the end some ... 63. ...environmental silence after all the communication Bohusleden north of Uddevalla, Sweden