COVID-19 as a framing device for environmental protest: The ECOSYSTEM HEALTH metaphor

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Abstract

This paper focuses on the ECOSYSTEM HEALTH metaphor which has long prevailed in environmental communication. Following the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we propose a contrastive view on the use of the ECOSYSTEM HEALTH metaphor in environmental discourse: we distinguish the metaphorical expressions used before the pandemic from the ones used during the pandemic. This distinction is aimed at identifying the new arguments promoted by COVID-19 metaphors. The publications released by the international environmental organization Extinction Rebellion are of particular interest. Through a detailed analysis of texts published between January and July 2020, we show that the impact of COVID-19 has modified our understanding of the ECOSYSTEM HEALTH metaphor. While environmentalists used to depict the environment as a SICK BODY prior the pandemic, the occurrences discussed below demonstrate that COVID-19 metaphors highlight the human characteristics associated with the source domain HEALTH.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental Communication
Early online date1 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • ecosystem health
  • metaphor
  • COVID-19
  • Extinction Rebellion
  • Climate Change
  • Ecosystem health
  • climate change

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