A look at how public relations has dominated public understanding of the natural environment for over one hundred years.

“Through a deep and illuminating historical investigation of the many ways public relations have shaped our understanding of the natural world, A Strategic Nature invites readers to rethink the assumptions underpinning many public debates about the climate crisis.”
— Naomi Klein, author of On Fire: The Burning Case for the Green New Deal

“Rather than a blight, PR in Aronczyk and Espinoza’s brilliant rethink is an essential part of our environmental and informational habitat. PR’s constitutive role in the making of the environment is a feature-and an opportunity.”
— John Durham Peters, Yale University

“In this fascinating, timely, and beautifully researched book, Aronczyk and Espinoza reveal the dark history of the American public relations industry, and how it has worked to defend prevailing business interests against environmental critique.”
— Christopher Wright, The University of Sydney

Photo: Blaga Ditrow

Melissa Aronczyk is Professor of Media Studies in the School of Communication & Information at Rutgers University. She is the co-author, with Maria Espinoza, of A Strategic Nature: Public Relations and the Politics of Environmentalism (Oxford University Press), winner of the 2023 Roderick P. Hart Outstanding Book Award in Political Communication and the 2022 Outstanding Book Award in Public Relations, Innovation, Development and Educational Achievement (PRIDE), both from the National Communication Association.

Her research on how PR affects our ability to communicate about climate change has been featured in The Nation, the Financial Times, Rolling Stone, CNBC, The Intercept, Grist, AdWeek, and Yes Magazine. She has also written stories about PR and sustainability for The Washington Post and Foreign Policy magazine.

Audio interviews about her work include an episode of the podcast DRILLED on greenwashing (available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify), an appearance on This Moment in Democracy hosted by the Eagleton Institute of Politics, and a long-form interview on the New Books Network.

Her previous books include Branding the Nation: The Global Business of National Identity, available from Amazon or via Oxford University Press; and Blowing Up the Brand: Critical Perspectives on Promotional Culture, edited with Devon Powers, available from Amazon.

At Rutgers, Prof. Aronczyk is a Faculty Associate with the Eagleton Institute of Politics and Affiliated Graduate Faculty with the Department of Sociology. With Jeff Lane, she co-hosts the Digital Ethnography Working Group at Rutgers. She is also a Faculty Fellow with the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University and a Research Affiliate with the Center on Digital Culture & Society at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

She is an adjunct Research Professor in Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University in Canada. She has held visiting positions at the London School of Economics, Yale University, and the University of Helsinki.

She holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University.

From 2023 through 2026, Dr. Aronczyk is the Director of the PhD Program in Communication, Information and Media in Rutgers’ School of Communication & Information.