Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Editorial2024Peer reviewedOpen access

How research on communication can help to understand the management of natural resources and sustainability transformations: practices, concerns and new perspectives on environmental communication

Fischer, Anke; Joosse, Sofie; Hallgren, Lars; Westberg, Lotten


Communication is an integral part of natural resource management and sustainability transformations, and questions on how communication helps or hinders the development of more sustainable relationships between people and their environments have become increasingly urgent. This special issue directs our attention to the processes and outcomes of such communication and explores what a focus on communication makes visible and accessible for practical as well as academic analysis. The twelve articles collected in this issue examine a wide range of contexts and practices of environmental communication, here understood as the joint construction of meaning related to environmental and sustainability issues. In this editorial, we propose five conceptual lenses that, as we argue, are crucial for an in-depth engagement with environmental communication. Together, these provide us with an understanding of communication as arising from manifold interactions that are shaped by and shaping disagreement, power relations and, more generally, the interplay between structure and agency. We examine the contributions to this special issue in light of these conceptual lenses and highlight how the twelve articles help us to understand the role of meaning-making in environmental management and sustainability transformations. We conclude with suggestions for future work, identifying spaces for further conceptual development and empirical scrutiny as well as scope for new ideas on environmental communication to gain in importance and influence.


environmental governance; climate communication; sustainability communication; deliberation; facilitation

Published in

Journal of Environmental Planning and Management
2024, Volume: 67, number: 9, pages: 1871-1885