Old Harry and New Media: Environmental Movements and the Oil-Tourism Interface in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 12:00 PM
Room: 315
Distributed Paper
Mark STODDART , Sociology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NF, Canada
Paula GRAHAM , Sociology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NF, Canada
Over the past two decades, offshore oil development and tourism have gained importance within the political economy of Atlantic Canada. In the province of Newfoundland, these sectors represent alternative models for living with and making use of coastal environments. While environmental movements routinely mobilize against oil projects like the Alberta oil sands, Enbridge pipeline, or Keystone XL pipeline, there has been an absence of critical engagement by environmental movements in relation to offshore oil development in Newfoundland. However, recent proposals to open up oil exploration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which boarders five Canadian provinces, as well as Gros Morne National Park, has sparked resistance from environmental movements and has brought the tourism-oil interface into sharper focus. We draw on internet ethnography of key websites and web 2.0 content, as well as interviews with core members of environmental organizations, in order to better understand how environmental movements are for intervening in environmental governance and shaping the oil-tourism interface in the region. Our analysis shows that environmental organizations use websites and web 2.0 applications to make productive use of the tensions between different political and ecological scales. These new media technologies offer environmental movements important tools for inserting themselves into the oil-tourism interface and defining offshore oil development as both environmentally and socially problematic.