Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Transformative Education and Social Change

Committee Chairperson

Dana Morrison, PhD

Committee Member

John Elmore, PhD

Committee Member

Jason Wozniak, PhD


With the ever-present pressure of the climate crisis intensifying, the mental health impacts of climate change are becoming much more prevalent and severe. Eco-anxiety, the anxiety and fear people feel about climate change, is a rising issue in educational spaces, adding another concern to the overflowing responsibilities of educators. In this thesis I examine how educators can utilize collective action, emotionality, ecopedagogy, place-based education, and Indigenous Knowledge to face eco-anxiety in their classrooms and help students feel more hopeful and empowered. I analyze how the history of public perception of climate change leads teachers to shy away from emotionality in science, and how the military-industrial-academic complex has contributed to standardization of education for profit in a neoliberal system. I contextualize eco-anxiety within the current literature surrounding it, elaborate upon critical pedagogical practices for teachers to use to combat it, and analyze the hidden role social media has in cultivating eco-anxiety. To address eco-anxiety in education, I propose a workshop series within a context of Critical Action Research designed to empower educators with transformative pedagogical practices that will help them face their own eco-anxiety, support their students, and make their classrooms hopeful, transformative spaces for combating the climate crisis.