Rhetorical Recommendations Built on Ecological Experience: A Reassessment of the Challenge of Environmental Communication Academic Article uri icon


  • 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This article reconsiders the challenge of environmental communication by inquiring into the fundamental rhetorical difficulty of thinking in terms of ecology. We discuss two essential yet bewildering aspects of ecology: its focus on interconnection and its use of multiple scales. On this basis, we distil six rhetorical recommendations: a shift from appealing to pre-existing values to avenues for transforming values; a shift from arguments from authority to addressing legitimate resistances; a shift from a focus on mutual agreement to a mutual bewilderment; a shift from intellectual comprehension to personal experience; a shift from negative effects to positive connections; and, finally, a shift from a focus on political results to local transformations. We experiment with this rhetorical approach through two applications: for critical reassessments of past articulations we consider the Gaia Hypothesis and Deep Ecology, and for current refinements to environmental problems we consider controversies around Marcellus Shale gas development.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 8.3

author list (cited authors)

  • DiCaglio, J., Barlow, K. M., & Johnson, J. S.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • DiCaglio, Joshua||Barlow, Kathryn M||Johnson, Joseph S

publication date

  • May 2018