June 5-9, 2023

17th Biennial Conference on Communication and the Environment

Welcome to COCE 2023!

COCE 2023 is being hosted by the School of Communication Studies at James Madison University, located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley in Harrisonburg, VA, USA. This year’s conference theme is “Many Voices, One Planet: Accounting for the Past and Narrating Sustainable Futures.” The theme refers to the many voices vying to lead, as well as those struggling to be heard, in discussions about the future of our planet. How are these many voices strengthened and enabled by storytelling, strategic communication, and public memory (and forgetting)? How are tensions with the past addressed in the search for future narratives? This theme brings together and bridges the diverse voices and perspectives from academia and practice that are represented in our field.

The IECA exists to promote stronger collaboration between researchers, practitioners and artists working in environmental communication and COCE is one of our key forums for fostering such connections. Since 1991, COCE has been the leading global conference on environmental communication. COCE has been hybrid since 2013, with an all-online conference in 2021.

Conference Planning Committee: Anke Wonneberger (Chair), Pete Bsumek (Local Host), Emma Bloomfield (Programme Co-Chair), Pieter Maeseele (Programme Co-Chair), Cate Bruns, Steve Depoe, Katie Hunt, Yvonne Love, Gabi Mocatta, Franzisca Weder, Barb Willard.

COVID Precautions Update

Please be advised that pre-COCE travel comes with risks, including COVID-19. The COCE Planning Committee is monitoring changing conditions and provides the following information regarding health and safety protocols. Masks are not required, but we recognize the right of each individual to mask as they see fit. Disposable masks will be available at the Registration table throughout the conference week. Additionally, proof of a COVID vaccination is not required to attend COCE. Attendees who experience systems consistent with COVID while in Harrisonburg are asked to isolate, take a self test, and/or access medical care as needed. See the Harrisonburg/Rockingham County Health Department website for FAQs and a testing site locator. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for further resources.

JMU Health Center hours: Monday-Wednesday 7:45am-4:45pm (closed 1-2pm); Thursday 9am-4:45pm (closed 1-2pm); Friday: 7:45am-11:45a

COVID Precautions Update

COCE2023 Program Overview and PDF

  • Registration: The registration table will be located in Ballroom A of the JMU Conference Center.
  • IECA Book Exchange: books generously donated by Steve Depoe and Willam Kinsella available on first-come, first-served basis at the table in Ballroom A of the JMU Conference Center. Donations to the organization appreciated.
  • Art Exhibition: the works in Shifting Climate: Artists Respond to the Earth in Crisis will be on display in the Duke Atrium throughout the conference week. Reception with the artists will be held on Monday, June 5, 7-8:30pm.
  • Conference Dinner: banquet-style, vegetarian dinner open to all attendees on Tuesday, June 6, 6:30pm.
  • Hybrid Poster Session: posters will be on display in the Conference Center Ballroom (B & C) all week; the hybrid poster session will be held on Tuesday, June 6, 5pm.
  • IECA Board Meeting with Members: general meeting will be held on Thursday, June 8, 5:30pm. All attendees welcome.
  • Meet the Incoming Journal Editor: an informal meeting with the new Environmental Communication editor during lunch on Tuesday, June 6.

COCE Sustainability Statement

COCE 2023 has made every effort to host a sustainable conference and create mutually beneficial collaborations with our community partners. We recognize that an international gathering of this size, no matter how conscientious, negatively impacts the environment. However, we feel strongly that gathering (face-to-face and virtually) to share knowledge, ideas, and experiences and, most importantly, for cultural exchange, is vitally important.

COCE 2023 has chosen not to rely upon controversial carbon offsets to address our environmental impact. Instead, IECA will be donating 10% of COCE2023 proceeds to Give Solar, and we are encouraging individual attendees to make a donation as well. Give Solar is a nonprofit organization based in Harrisonburg, VA. Visit the Give Solar table during the poster session to learn about their innovative social change model. If schedules allow, COCE attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a local solar barn raising.

COCE Sustainability Statement


  • JMU College of Arts and Letters
  • JMU Institute for Stewardship of the Natural World
  • JMU School of Communication Studies


  • Swedish Agricultural University-Uppsala, Environmental Communication Unit
  • George Mason University Department of Communication
  • George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication
  • Yale Program on Climate Change Communication


  • The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University
  • University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication


  • University of Queensland Center for Communication and Social Change
  • University of Utah Department of Communication
  • Michigan State University Knight Center for Environmental Journalism


Hybrid event

James Madison University

Contact us

If you have any questions, please contact coce2023@theieca.org .

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