Year of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Environmental Studies

Department or School/College

Environmental Studies

Committee Chair

Phil Condon

Commitee Members

Dan Spencer, Amy Ratto Parks


climate change, climate anxiety, eco-anxiety, apocalypse narratives, zombie, personal essay


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Environmental Studies | Nonfiction


Pellegrino, Elizabeth, M.S., 2020 Environmental Studies

Abstract: A Restless Imminent Dread

Committee Chair: Phil Condon

This Environmental Studies thesis is a series of six hybrid (creative nonfiction and poetry) essays that center around anxiety and climate change. The essays weave together personal narrative with pop culture, folklore, myths, climate science, and geology.

Pellegrino crafts essays by pulling together seemingly disparate ideas into one narrative. In one essay, the discussion of courage in the face of climate change is done through talking about a Christmas-themed zombie movie and a Broadway musical that re-imagines a Greek myth. In another essay, the story of a grandmother jumping out of a plane while on a date becomes a meditation on geologic time. Other essays tackle the extinction of trilobites, the Doomsday clock, melting glacial ice, themes of cultural anxiety in pop culture, Icelandic folklore, and experiences in group therapy.

Despite all the talk about storied apocalypses, the real-life ecological crisis posed by climate change, and the mental harm caused by anxiety, this collection doesn’t impose a narrative of doom and gloom. Instead, it’s a collection about recognizing the resiliency and courage in every action taken in the hope of bettering the future.

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© Copyright 2020 Elizabeth M. Pellegrino