This chapter examines how views on natural ecology connect to specific media ecologies. It focuses on activists in organisations working to highlight indigenous perspectives on climate change and the threat climate change poses to many indigenous communities. Of principal concern is how these activists discuss Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in relation to mainstream/alternative, national/local and non-indigenous/indigenous news media, in analogue as well as digital forms, and the roles indigenous perspectives play in media ecologies where the activists live.
The aim is to explore how representations of views on natural ecology are related to the constitution of media ecologies. We focus on indigenous activists’ perspectives on this in their work to spread knowledge about/influence public opinion on, the effects of climate change on indigenous lands and the planet at large. The research questions are: • How do indigenous actors facing critical ecological problems caused by climate change relate to and assess the media’s role in generating awareness of these challenges? • How are views on natural ecology, particularly TEK, connected to media ecology, specifically concerning different parts of media ecosystems? • What types of approaches to climate challenges do interviewees advocate for and how do they envision the media’s role in addressing these problems?
The chapter discusses media ecology theories, TEK and Western scientific approaches to climate change; and analyses interviews with indigenous activists at the 2011 UN climate Summit (Durban, South Africa). The activists call for changes to news ecosystems that marginalise their voices, particularly their critical perspectives on climate change and knowledge of its impact on natural ecosystems. They stress the importance of further integration of TEK perspectives into existing news ecosystem. We conclude that these changes are urgently needed to establish more democratic and effective means of addressing climate change and avoiding fatal changes to planetary ecosystems.