Waterlines: Confluence and Hope through Environmental Communication

2019 Conference on Communication and Environment in Vancouver

Published On: March 14th, 2019

From June 17-21, 2019 the 15th biennial Conference on Communication and Environment (COCE) will be held in Vancouver, B.C., on the traditional unceded territory of the Musqueam people.

This international conference is held every two years, and this is the first time it will be held in Canada. The event offers an unique opportunity for a diversity of communications practitioners and researchers from around the world—scholars, practitioners, artists, students, and concerned citizens—to share and learn from each other, with the goal of fostering more effective, inspiring, ethical, and hopeful environmental and sustainability communication.

Communicating water is the theme of this year’s conference, Waterlines: Confluence and Hope Through Environmental Communication. Recognizing that water is all-important to life on Earth—a reality too often at odds with how it is viewed, talked about, and treated—this conference will focus on the challenges faced by water communicators and new ways of telling our water stories. POLIS’ Laura Brandes will be in attendance, co-presenting with Sutton Eaves (BC Freshwater Initiative) at a session on water governance.

“Water remains an understudied area in environmental communication. Water-related issues are multiplying globally, but research on how to most effectively communicate about them is not keeping up,” said Mark Meisner, Executive Director of the International Environmental Communication Association and Member of the Conference Committee. “This event will build networks, foster shared learning, and enhance capacity for more creative and more effective communication on this vitally important topic.”

Being in Vancouver, the program will also shed light on water challenges being faced in B.C.—from issues of water quality in Indigenous nations to the impact of increased oil-tanker traffic on B.C.’s coastal ecosystems.

“By bringing together researchers and practitioners we’re trying to foster more collaborative, hopeful, and, ultimately, effective communication about the future,” continued Mark. “Environmental communicators need to cut way back on the doom and gloom messages that leave the public feeling hopeless. Instead, we need to give people ways to flex and strengthen their hope with messages that lead to meaningful actions in their communities.”

Early-bird registration is open until April 15, 2019.