Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Sarah Kye Price

Second Advisor

Dr. Karen Chartier

Third Advisor

Dr. Nicole Corley

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Jody Davis


Environmentalist narratives have left out the labor of Black environmentalists, mischaracterizing Black communities as disinterested in environmental problems or solutions. The purpose of this critical transformative exploratory qualitative study, guided by critical race theory, was to explore the meaning of pro-environmental behaviors among Black environmental advocates. Ten adult Black environmental advocates and organizers were interviewed using semi-structured interviews which were transcribed and analyzed using directed content analysis and thematic analysis. The findings demonstrated divergences between definitions of the environment and how that impacts what is considered pro-environmental behavior; the breadth of the pro-environmental behaviors in which Black environmentalists are engaged; racism’s impact on Black visibility in environmental spaces in the past, present and future; and the need to address Black visibility in environmental spaces as a critical pro-environmental behavior going forward. Implications for those in environmental spaces, including funders, social workers, and researchers, are addressed as well as the methodological implications on reflexivity and emergence learned in the process of the study.


© Kimberly S. Compton

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission