Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis


Environmental Studies

Thesis Type

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors, Environmental Studies Electronic Thesis

First Advisor

Adrian Ivakhiv

Second Advisor

Pamela Fraser

Third Advisor

Cameron Davis


activism, communication, ecofeminism, public art, environmental messaging


This creative thesis is a five-poster series critiquing symbolic tropes in contemporary environmental discourse. After establishing in the literature review symbolism’s important function in culture and society, the problematic history of environmental imagery, the field of ecocriticism, the genre of ecocritical art, and the activist potential of poster art, five examples of problematic symbolic tropes in contemporary environmentalism were selected for further exploration: anti-urbanism, greenwashing, charismatic species, apocalypse and nature as female. Written research pieces on each explain the use of the symbolic trope, why it is problematic, associated imagery, and the opportunity for ecocritical poster art. The final posters were printed, and displayed around the University of Vermont campus, with the intention of prompting viewers to think more critically about their environmentalism and the broader way in which they relate to their environment. An online survey conducted to aid in the project’s evaluation found that the posters were successful visually, as well as mostly successful, although to varying extents, in terms of communicating their individual messages.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.