Accepted Paper:

Environmental communication in coast wetland communities: The case of Taiwan  

Author:

Ming-Ying Lee (Providence University)

Paper short abstract:

In Taiwan, one of intensively debated was the settlement of Kuokuang petrochemical plant in the western coast wetland. This study argued that local communities were now showcasing the tradition as distinctive tourist attractions. This reproduced local knowledge and promoted citizen science.

Paper long abstract:

Techno-science industries were intensely future-oriented public policies with emphasis on the creation of new job opportunities yet accompany environmental controversies. Understanding the ways of integrating human, cultural, historical, social and industrial features into local communities and developing grassroots, bottom-up actions of environmental communication have been widely discussed.

The aim of this study was to discuss the application of environmental communication to the production of local knowledge in communities. In Taiwan, one of intensively debated of techno-science issues in recent years was the settlement of Kuokuang petrochemical plant in the western coast wetland communities. The settlement project once faced the dilemma between local economy and ecological conservation. This study drew such a case and paid attention to the developments of local communities after the termination of project in 2011. Research question was asked: How did local communities develop diverse forms of environmental communication? Research methods employed included: secondary analysis of publicity materials and in-depth interview with different 20 local people.

This study argued that local communities were now developing eco-tour in the wetland, which showcasing the tradition of oyster farming as distinctive tourist attractions to keep them alive. This not only reproduced local knowledge of oyster farming but also disseminated community-based conservation knowledge. More importantly, local people transformed themselves into citizen scientists, paying much attention to ecological monitoring and environmental education in communities. Therefore, although ecotourism was economy-driven activity, citizen science was promoted in local communities.

Panel T032
Science Communication