Download the full-sized PDF of Visualizing Climate Change Through Photography: Outdoor Educators Examine Climate Change Within Their Personal ContextsDownload the full-sized PDF



Permanent link (DOI):


Export to: EndNote  |  Zotero  |  Mendeley


This file is in the following communities:

Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty of


This file is in the following collections:

Theses and Dissertations

Visualizing Climate Change Through Photography: Outdoor Educators Examine Climate Change Within Their Personal Contexts Open Access


Other title
climate change education
climate change communication
environmental education
outdoor education
ecological thinking
autodriven photo-elicitation
climate change photography
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Munro, Tai
Supervisor and department
Barker, Susan (Secondary Education)
Examining committee member and department
Shapiro, Bonnie (Education, University of Calgary)
Wallin, Jason (Secondary Education)
Shultz, Lynette (Educational Policy Studies)
Reichwein, PearlAnn (Physical Education and Recreation)
Department of Secondary Education

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Climate change is one of the most serious threats to Earth and its inhabitants (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007). There are attempts to engage individuals and groups in taking action to reduce climate change in both communication and education. Images are an increasingly significant part of these attempts. Research regarding the use of images indicates that they are capable of affecting a viewer’s thoughts about climate change (Leiserowitz, 2006). However, they have met with limited success in terms of encouraging relevant responses to climate change. Hence, there are calls to increase the association between climate change and the personal contexts of viewers. The study draws on a theoretical framework based on the research in education and visual communication of climate change; and a conceptual framework of ecological thinking. The current study utilized autodriven photo-elicitation to explore how outdoor educators visualized their thinking about climate change. Further, it examined how these photographic images relate to those that are found within the variety of communications about climate change. Autodriven photo-elicitation modifies traditional interview formats by using photographs to help guide the discussion (Harper, 2002; Schwartz, 1989). Further, the approach engages participants in generating the topics to photograph and taking the photographs. Analysis was carried out using a framework based on Peirce’s understanding of semiotics. The results indicated that the outdoor educators were skeptical regarding their ability to determine that a particular event or scene was related to climate change. At the same time, they showed conviction in relating societal aspects, primarily consumption and reduced connection with nature, to climate change. The participants even expressed concern regarding their own levels of consumption with regards to participating in outdoor activities themselves. The participants’ photographs exhibited differences when compared to the main approaches to climate change photography that have been used within education and communication about climate change indicating the importance of directing photographs towards the personal contexts of specific groups of people. The project also demonstrated the pedagogical potential of autodriven photo-elicitation for engaging individuals and groups with thinking about climate change. Future research and pedagogical opportunities are also discussed.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication

File Details

Date Uploaded
Date Modified
Audit Status
Audits have not yet been run on this file.
File format: pdf (Portable Document Format)
Mime type: application/pdf
File size: 3615731
Last modified: 2015:10:12 18:30:41-06:00
Filename: Munro_Tai_Fall 2012.pdf
Original checksum: fbf335536cc7448a4c053aabed86d4e5
Well formed: true
Valid: true
Status message: Too many fonts to report; some fonts omitted. Total fonts = 1179
File author: Tai Munro
Page count: 240
File language: en-CA
Activity of users you follow
User Activity Date