Dadit Hidayat*, Randy Stoecker**, and Heather Gates***
Environmental sustainability is a topic of discussion across the globe. But getting people to act collectively on environmental sustainability, especially in local communities, is fraught with challenges. Sociologically, the challenge is one of understanding how collective action works in order to mobilize community members around environmental issues. An important sociological aspect of mobilizing people for collective action is framing those issues effectively (see Benford and Snow, 2000). Frames are toolboxes of interpretation that help us make sense of the world. We have frames of not just what is right and wrong, but even about what does or does not exist. For example, people have various frames of what “sustainable” is. One person might interpret ethanol as sustainable, comparing it to fossil fuels, while another might interpret it as unsustainable based on an analysis of the energy required to grow and transform the corn into ethanol. Activists weigh into these controversies, attempting to bridge their frames with community members’ frames or transform community members’ frames to fit with the activists’ frames.