Penn's Coronavirus COVID-19 Update
2020 SAS summer courses will take place remotely. For undergraduates, please check Penn InTouch for updated summer course information. For graduate and professional students, please consult your schools and programs. Summer study abroad remains cancelled.

The College of Liberal and Professional Studies staff is working remotely to comply with University protocols as we navigate the COVID-19 virus. Penn is committed to maintaining a safe campus and workplace for faculty, students, staff, and visitors. While we are not onsite, we are still available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. by phone and online in case you need support: (215) 898-7326 or

Visit, the University's dedicated coronavirus COVID-19 web page, for the latest updates.

Climate Crisis and Media

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Subject Area: 
Course Number: 
COMM 290 920
Course Description: 

Climate change—or, what is increasingly referred to as the “climate crisis” and “climate emergency”—is an urgent yet extremely difficult problem to communicate. Heeding this urgency, young people from around the world are taking to the streets and demanding political action from older generations who steadfastly stick to the status quo. Curiously, though, many young activists are choosing to use the very same environmental slogans and images that have been around for over thirty years (i.e. burning globes, doomsday landscapes, and apocalyptic scenarios). How did these particular methods of climate communication emerge? And to what impact in terms of both public perception and policy? In this course, students will examine the historical development of climate communication within the United States from its origins in 1989 to present day. Readings and case studies will draw upon journalistic reporting, film, photography, visual art, longform non-fiction, and popular public scholarship. Students will learn how climate change is discussed, visualized, and reported in the United States and develop possible means and methods for improvement. The final project will consist of the choice of either a traditional scholarly paper (8-10 pages long) or a creative project (i.e. short film, journalistic series of articles, painting, etc.) depending on students’ interests.    

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3440 Market Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335

(215) 898-7326

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