Thomas Library

Honors Thesis Archive

Author William Krueger
Title The Purification of Earth: The Apocalyptic Narrative and Whiteness in Climate Change Rhetoric
Department Communication
Advisors Sheryl Cunningham, John Ritter, and Kathleen Warber
Year 2013
Honors Departmental Honors
Full Text View Thesis (1441 KB) Note: This is a very large file; it may be easier to download the file to your computer and open it from there.
Abstract The Diesel (2007) "Global Warming Ready" campaign is a very different and unique take on climate change advertising/activism. In America, we are never exposed to advertisements of any sort making light of the world flooding, and even more improbable still is the notion of the world flooding linked to selling clothes. I argue that, first, if the purpose of the ads is to raise awareness about global climate change they do so in ways that are likely to mislead viewers about its potential effects. Second, these ads depict a future where only the affluent white people of society survive the global flood representing a racial component of these ads quickly lost in their global warming message. In this both comic and tragic apocalyptic jeremiad, racial minorities are symbolically annihilated thereby reinforcing whiteness through performance of race and the ability of one to "buy" into the Diesel lifestyle. Both the inaccuracies of the ad campaign as well as the symbolic annihilation of non-white people carry ethical implications for companies and organizations who want to engage with climate change on a global scale reinforcing the importance of environmental communication as a crisis discipline.

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