Week Three: Supporting Materials


Keep the following questions in mind as you read Heather Houser’s, “Human/Planetary.” The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.

What, according to Houser, separates the “human” from the “planetary (i.e., nonhuman).”?

Why/how do the realities of climate change force us to rethink the way we conceive of human and nonhuman relationships?

What does it mean to say that human and nonhuman systems are fused or blended?

According to Houser, what are the advantages to living in “geological time” (144)? OR why must “we all get on geologic time if we are to understand and address climatic disturbance” (145)?

What’s the problem with the “(incomplete) bifurcation of human and planetary time” (145)?

How do the representational tools of “inhuman time give access at once the rift between human and planetary time, but also to their integration” (145)?

What sorts of timescales are humans used to operating on?

How is the manipulation of these timescales an example of human exceptionalism?

“One of the unique characteristics of the present, however, is that the range of time concepts keyed to human phenomenological experience will not suffice for apprehending environmental crisis.” (145).

To what does the word “Anthropocene” refer?

What are the drawbacks and advantages to a term like Anthropocene?

“How might climate change media conceptualize humanity in terms of the planetary or block that correspondence” (147)?

What makes it so hard to communicate climate change to audiences?

“Might carbon calculators make climate threat sense-able by quantifying it in the dollars and cents that fuel households, businesses, and governments rather than the datasets that fuel climatological research and modeling” (148)?

What are the representational drawbacks of carbon calculators?

What are the representational benefits of carbon calculators?

27 Jan. Sustainability & Risk Communication.

Featured Image: United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Class Meeting Agenda

The Following are the topics/goals we will cover into today’s class session:

Sustainability: A History

Remote Class Video 1

DQ: Breakout Session 1

Please respond to the following in your breakout sessions. Just write down as much information as you need to respond during discussion:
  • 1. What’s your final assessment of “sustainability”? As a descriptive term, how does “sustainability” differ from some of the terms/movements that it subsumes? For instance, what does “Sustainability” communicate that say, “Climate Change” or “Global Warming” cannot?
  • 2. What are some drawbacks, OR how well does sustainability withstand the criticism leveled at it by guys like Bill McKibben way back when it first entered popular usage (2)
  • 3. If sustainability is such a useful term why have environmental conditions deteriorated so much since the 1970’s?

Risk Communication, 4 Models

Remote Class Video 2

DQ: Breakout Session 2

Please respond to the following in your breakout sessions. Just write down as much information as you need to respond during discussion:
  • 1. Do Grabill & Simmons have suggestions for how to communicate sustainability more effectively?
  • 2. For example, how can sustainability discourse be fit into a participatory democracy model?

Skills: Defining Key Terms in Professional Academic Writing

Remote Class Video 3

Key Term Definition


Respond to the prompt in 400-500 words. Please include at least one in-text citation from the assigned class readings.


The authors we have read so far this semester investigate terms key to environmental communication. For this short response, choose a key term from one of the readings (e.g., sustainability, risk communication, futurity, green infrastructure, etc.) and define the term according to both the author(s) we read. After you define the term, please respond to the following: how does the term you chose shape relationships between experts and audiences.


To set up your Blog go to https://classblogs20.iac.gatech.edu/wp-iac-signup.php (Links to an external site.). Please see the IAC Blogs How-To Slideshow for more on how to create and configure IAC Class Blogs.


As long as you publish your post to your IAC WordPress class blog on or before the assigned time/date, you will earn full points per document. Remember these activities are designed to develop skills we will use throughout the class and in the major projects. The documents also provide an opportunity for invention and revision.


Paste the URL from the post on your IAC WordPress site into the field in the Canvas Assignment Page. Don’t hesitate to email me with any questions if you run into any technical problems.