Green advocacy in Cascadia’s borderlands: The role of cross-border media and persuasion in protecting the Skagit Headwaters Donut Hole

Dr. Derek Moscato

Associate Professor, Department of Journalism, Western Washington University

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The recent saga of the Skagit River Headwaters “Donut Hole” saw a coalition of advocates and stakeholders on both sides of the U.S./Canada border come together for a common cause of environmental protection and resisting a gold mining proposal. This presentation analyzes this transboundary network to identify opportunities and challenges in organizing, communicating, and persuading across an international border. It also looks at specific tactics and strategies used in the media, and directly with policymakers and publics, to ultimately win hearts and minds in British Columbia and Washington State. Finally, this presentation contextualizes this most recent ecological skirmish as an extension of cross-border mediation and advocacy dedicated to the protection of the cross-border Skagit watershed for many decades.

headshot of Derek Moscato

Derek Moscato is an associate professor of journalism at Western Washington University, where he teaches classes in public communication, journalism, and environmental and cross-border media. He is also a faculty affiliate with the Border Policy Research Institute, the Salish Sea Institute, and the Canadian-American Studies Program. Moscato’s research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of environmental communication, public diplomacy, and globalization. He is the author of the 2022 book Dirt Persuasion: Civic Environmental Populism and the Heartland’s Pipeline Fight (University of Nebraska Press) which examines the media and advocacy strategies of grassroots activists in the state of Nebraska in opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline.

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