Department or Program



Over the past fifteen years, wildfires have decimated millions of acres of terrain in both the United States and Australia. Recent scholarship argues that environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are becoming increasingly fragmented along radical-reformist lines. This research aims to further an understanding of how Australian and American NGO advocacy surrounding forest fires has shifted over time and contributes an explanation for what may have caused NGO polarization. The period in question begins in the year 2007 and culminates in the year 2022. Drawing upon the existing literature on emotional framing and NGO operations within climate change politics, I analyze the positions of eight forest-affiliated NGOs along the radical-reformist spectrum. I use qualitative approaches and sentiment analysis to examine wildfire-related press releases, social media posts, and newsletters from these organizations. The evocation of positive sentiments is associated with a reformative approach, whereas negative sentiments are aligned with radical stances. My findings indicate that heightened polarization among environmental NGOs has been precipitated by both an increase in climate-induced disasters and political polarization in both the United States and Australia.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Richter, James

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file

Open Access

Available to all.