Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2016

Degree Type



Environmental Health Sciences

First Reader

David Kneas

Second Reader

Ann Timberlake


Imagery is a widely used method of communication. It contains phenomenal power in its ability to connect to an audience and convey ideas. Contemporary environmental imagery has been widely utilized by environmental advocacy organizations and those involved in the modern environmental movement. These types of imagery are used as a call to action, for eco-tourism promotion, and in political campaigns, as can be seen in imagery distributed by New Zealand tourism companies and the South Carolina Conservation Voters. Historical images, particularly World War II propaganda and retro eco-tourism posters, have been reutilized to promote environmental messages. However, these images bring with them notions of late nineteenth century conservationist assumptions of class, race, and socioeconomic status that should be considered. Similar themes can be found throughout images promoting adventure tourism and extreme outdoor sports. In addition to these contested themes, modern environmental imagery also raises different ideas of nature and the environment. Because images communicate in ways much different than words, it is important to view these images with a slightly more critical eye, understanding the preconceptions that lie behind them, the sense of identification they attempt to generate, the calls to individual action they evoke, and the contexts in which they were created and are distributed.

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© 2016, Kira Nicole Koppel