First Advisor

Brianne Suldovsky

Term of Graduation

Spring 2021

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Communication






Internet and activism, Internet and environmentalism, Environmentalism, Social media



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 55 pages)


Past and present human activities have created and accelerated an array of environmental catastrophes and various systems in the environment remain under threat as a result of human behavior. In hopes of mitigating environmental consequences, a social movement has arisen to encourage people to behave in ways that are more environmentally sustainable. Research shows that individual behavior choices impact the environment, and this influence can be used to positively affect the environment through engagement in pro-environmental behavior. Like with many other social movements, the internet has been a tool in spreading awareness of a cause and allowing people the opportunity to engage in online activism. This paper considers the relationship between engaging in online activism via social media and pro-environmental behavior. Prior literature has mixed findings regarding this relationship; some have criticized engaging in online activism for its potential to replace, rather than complement, other forms of participation in a cause, described by a concept known as slacktivism. In addition to exploring this relationship, this paper focuses on the motivation for social media use as an explanation for the relationship found between online activism and pro-environmental behavior. Correlation analyses indicate there is a significant positive correlation between online activism and pro-environmental behavior. The data also reveals a significant positive relationship between social media use motivated by altruism and pro-environmental behavior, aligning with prior research about altruistic values and pro-environmental behavior.


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