Media Ecology is a wide tent whose history, perspectives, and scholarly interests incorporate a broad array of academic and professional disciplines focusing on “the study of media environments and the idea that technology and techniques, modes of information and codes of communication play a leading role in human affairs” (Lance Strate, 1999). This interdisciplinary approach towards the exploration of media as environments fosters a rich discourse of investigation, and each MEA convention provides a unique opportunity for academics and professionals to come together in a relaxed, convivial and intimate environment that encourages deep conversations alongside activities that encourage friendship and fun.
The theme for the 18th annual MEA Convention is Technology, Spirituality, Ecology. This tri-part theme provides a confluence of topics that represent major global concerns in the contemporary age. This is probably best articulated in the papal encyclical from Pope Francis, Laudato Si, when he stated that “when media and the digital world become omnipresent, their influence can stop people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply and to love generously. In this context, the great sages of the past run the risk of going unheard amid the noise and distractions of an information overload. Efforts need to be made to help these media become sources of new cultural progress for humanity and not a threat to our deepest riches. True wisdom, as the fruit of self-examination, dialogue and generous encounter between persons, is not acquired by a mere accumulation of data which eventually leads to overload and confusion, a sort of mental pollution. Real relationships with others, with all the challenges they entail, now tend to be replaced by a type of internet communication which enables us to choose or eliminate relationships at whim, thus giving rise to a new type of contrived emotion which has more to do with devices and displays than with other people and with nature” (para. 47).