Framing the environment

How do you deliver your content?
Do you present facts and data?
Do you tell stories?

Did you know that human reasoning is not the conscious, unemotional, and logical process we once thought it was and that reasoning is mostly an unconscious and emotional activity?

As environmental educators, the goals we strive for in our work are awareness, understanding, and behavior change. Unfortunately how we talk about the environment or natural resources requires much more than quick facts and stories to achieve these goals. It requires the proper framing of information so that it makes sense to the people we engage with and their framing systems (Lakoff, 2010).

Each of us builds our knowledge about the world around unconscious frames. Embedded in these frames are words and emotions. In Why it Matters How We Frame the Environment, cognitive scientist and linguist George Lakoff discusses frames and how they are activated. Lakoff's introduction to framing will make you think about what you do and what you say as you engage with the public. You will learn how messaging needs to change and benefit from his helpful hints for practitioners.

Lakoff also discusses politics and compares the conservative and progressive moral systems as they relate to the environment.

Lakoff's paper is available for free. Click on the link below.

Literature Cited:
Lakoff, George. (2010). Why it matters how we frame the environment. Environmental Communication. 4(1): 70-81. Retrieved from

Tania Marien