Eco-Analysis of Personal Gadget

This learning activity aims to critically examine the environmental impacts of personal electronic devices through ecomedia literacy, fostering awareness of their ecological footprint and encouraging responsible usage and disposal. It highlights the importance of understanding the interconnections between digital technology and environmental sustainability within the broader context of ecomedia literacy.

Consumerism and Sustainability

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Media literacy and critical thinking lesson asking students to consider their own consumer decisions relating to sustainability through a process of decoding TV commercials and videos about bottled water.

Story of Stuff

A simple and short video that helps explain how the global, linear supply chains of the economic system works from an environmental perspective. Synopsis: “From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of […]

Sun-Maid Raisin Girl goes to Hollywood

This advertisement for Sun-Maid Raisins is a strong example of the pastoral environmental discourse. It represents an idyllic version of farming that has a long tradition in Western visual culture. Discuss with students about whether or not this ad accurately represents the reality of industrial farming. They can research how raisins are produced and the conditions for laborers who pick grapes. They can also explore what kinds of beliefs about the environment are communicated in the ad. Finally, what do they think about the ad’s focus on celebrity?

Ford’s EV Ad: Organic Compost

Pashon Murray, founder of Detroit Dirt (http://www.detroitdirt.org), parodies the Cadillac ELR Coupe Super Bowl ad. It shows a version of the American Dream in which an entrepreneurial Black women succeeds by creating a business of organic compost. This video should be juxtaposed with the Cadillac Super Bowl ad and can be used as the basis of a discussion about competing visions of the American Dream (who it includes or excludes and its impact on the environment). This ad can be used to explore ecological values. It can also be used in any discussion about the range of environmental politics portrayed in advertising.

Cadillac EV Super Bowl Ad: The American Dream?

This Cadillac 2014 Commercial is for their electric vehicle (EV) ELR Coupe. Explore with students how it represents the American Dream and its connection with class status, race, and gender. The ad is promoting an EV, but are the beliefs and values depicted beneficial or damaging to the environment? Compare this ad with Ford’s Upside: Anything is Possible ad.

Samsung Ad: Drag and Drop World

A 2008 ad from the early days of touchscreen technology, it touts the benefits of being able to change and manipulate the world. This is a great warm-up video to discuss whether or not it expresses anthropocentric (human centric) or ecocentric (environmental centric) values. Students can discuss who has the power to shape and change the world and for what ends (for example, what kind of person in the video has the power to manipulate the world). It also allows for the discussion of the types of behaviors that are beneficial or damaging to the environment. Finally, it also depicts gender relations and can be used to discuss the relationship between gender and the environment (ecofeminism).

Toys R Us vs. Outdoor Education

This 2013 “mockumentary” ad for Toys R Us shows a group of school kids being taken on a field trip to the forest. The kids are shown to be bored and disinterested until the trip leader announces that they are actually going to Toys R Us. This provides a rich discussion for how different environments are portrayed. You can can compare the framing of the natural world versus the the environment of the toy store and how they are represented as distinct. You can also discuss which provides more education, excitement, and fulfillment, according to Toys R Us and our own lived experience. This can also be used to discuss the issue of nature deficit disorder.

Outdoor Education – Toys R Us Parody

This should be shown along with the Toys R Us ad. This short grassroots video responds to Toys R Us by showing the benefits of outdoor education. The discourses around the benefits of outdoor education can be compared to how it is represented in the Toys R Us ad.