Biodiversity Communication at the UN Summit 2020: Blending Business and Nature

Matt Drury*, Janet M. Fuller, Merel Keijzer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
50 Downloads (Pure)


Biodiverse ecosystems play a key role in maintaining life on earth. In response to rapid declines in biodiversity throughout the world, the UN Biodiversity Summit 2020 brought together world leaders to discuss potential solutions. We draw on cognitive linguistics, critical discourse analysis and ecolinguistics in analysing the summit contributions. All speakers blended vocabulary from the fields of BUSINESS and NATURE; in doing so, they were able to advocate solving biodiversity loss by implementing approaches commonly found in business. In addition, three main ‘moves’ were employed in these speeches: (i) the state of nature was lamented, (ii) the interdependent relationship between humans and nature was mentioned and (iii) a call to action was given. It is argued that relying on the BUSINESS–NATURE blend for solutions to environmental problems serves to maintain the status quo and may obscure pathways to transformational change. Linguistic strategies for more effective environmental communication are suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-57
Number of pages21
JournalDiscourse & Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2022


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