Monday, March 1, 2010

The invention of environmental

E nv i ronmental commu n i c ation emerged from the notion of ‘ green commu n i c at i o n ’ thought up by Th i e rry Libaert in 1992; although Paul Deb a cke r discussed it in his book ‘Le Management Ve rt ’ ( G reen Management) in the same ye a r. The book i n cluded so-called green management in a fi rm ’s ove rall planning. Libaert did the same, defining environmental commu n i c ation as:

• protecting the environment;
• teaching people about the environment;
• publicity campaigns to mobilize people on environmental issues.

Such communication must take into account:

• the state of public opinion;
• the strategic aim of the message communicated;
• definition of the target audience;
• the goals of communication;
• the message and the means to convey it;
• how measures develop.

On this basis, Vigneron and Francisco came up with what they called the ‘ten commandments’
of environmental communication.
i. Environmental communication must take the complexity of the environment into
account, especially the number of people involved, their status and the nature of the
resources which define and drive human ecosystems.
ii. The individual is the vital element in environmental communication. Social models
are overridden by cultural identities which link each person to his environment. 36 CSI info No. 7, 1999
iii. E nv i ronmental commu n i c ation seeks to involve the individual and relies on neighbourhood or even door-to-door communication. It uses dialogue, participation, interactivity
and partnership.
iv. The final effectiveness of environmental communication is judged by a permanent change in individual behaviour. The modern social trend towards individualism cuts people off from their bearings and their membership of social groups which means their behaviour is crucial in protecting the environment.
v. Time is essential for environmental communication, to allow people to reconsider and change their attitude towards the environment. Because this takes place over years, memory plays an important part in it, as a link between the past, the present and the future. Events are only important if they can be incorporated in a long-term strategy.
vi. Inside a firm, internal communication used in staff management defines environmental
vii. Eco-tools (product lab e l i n g, e c o l ogi c a l inventories, projects and charters concerning
the environment) which rely on volunteer workers are the technological part of environmental communication. They also fit in with the growth of individualism by giving each partner a reference and a guarantee of the quality of a product or service.
viii. E nv i ronmental commu n i c ation ch a n ge show societies work, with interactive networks
replacing hierarchical pyramids.
ix. The role of education is constantly emphasized in environmental communication. The
behaviour of tomorrow’s citizens is shaped by their education.
x. Reference to ethics enables people involved in the environment to relate its local management
to the stability of the global environment. Eco-citizenship arises from the need for each person to choose a morality based on universal values and a code of conduct to behave as a responsible consumer. Eco-citizenship, environment, sustainable development and citizen-run organizations
are the basis of a new morality, which includes and completes environmental

In this spirit, the UN Population Fund, at the end of the 1980s, encouraged the idea of IEC in its

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