Media Construction of Environmental Issues


Contributed by Victoria Jordan

Chris Sperry of Ithaca College’s Project Look Sharp and Dan Flerlage of Lehman Alternative Community School present at the Sustainability Class:
Wednesday, November 9, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Ray VanHoutte classroom, Museum of the Earth, 1259 Trumansburg Rd. (Rt. 96), Ithaca, NY.

Please join us for this evening discussion, hosted by Sustainable Tompkins and the Museum of the Earth, as we explore how media shape our understanding of environmental issues, influence social consciousness, and affect our sense of responsibility for ecological stewardship and community well being.

How do European and U.S. newspapers construct the debate over genetically manipulated food? How do charts on different web sites present conflicting information about the importance and feasibility of renewable energy sources? How has media coverage of global warming changed over the last decade? What messages about the environment are communicated through music videos, public service announcements, and advertisements?

Young people's view of the environment may be shaped more by the messages in contemporary media than through classroom instruction. Yet few young people (or adults) ask themselves “How do I know what I know? Where do I get my information from? What are the perspectives and biases of my source, and is the information current, credible and accurate?”

Dan and Chris have been developing a proposal to create Media Construction of the Environment, a curriculum kit that integrates environmental issues into high school and college science classes through document-based media decoding, using a constructivist process for teaching core science content while training students in media literacy and critical thinking. Class participants will provide feedback on proposed lessons intended to integrate environmental issues into the biology, physics, Earth science, and chemistry curriculum.

Chris Sperry is the director of curriculum and staff development for Project Look Sharp, an initiative to integrate media literacy throughout the K-12 curriculum and based at Ithaca College ( He is the co-author of numerous curriculum kits including Media Construction of Presidential Campaigns and Media Construction of the Middle East.

Dan Flerlage is a science teacher at the Lehman Alternative Community School and a member of the Board of Trustees of Ithaca’s Sciencenter, and serves on the Sustainable Tompkins Coordinating Council.

Register today! The class is free, but registration is required.
*****Come early at 6:30 p.m. to view the Museum’s exhibits and enjoy refreshments*****
E-mail [] to reserve a seat.