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Author ORCID Identifier


Campus-Only Access for One (1) Year

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Anne Ciecko

Second Advisor

Benjamin Bailey

Third Advisor

Martha Fuentes-Bautista

Fourth Advisor

Sharon Mijares

Subject Categories

Communication Technology and New Media | Digital Humanities | Environmental Studies | International and Intercultural Communication | Leadership Studies | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Speech and Rhetorical Studies


In May 2020, during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Dalai Lama made a thought-provoking statement in an interview with ABC News, declaring that the virus would alter fundamental aspects of human nature. Despite being asked about how the pandemic had affected him, the Dalai Lama chose to focus on the dangers of climate change, referring to it as "the real tragedy." In August 2021, as the world was grappling with the deadly delta variant of Covid-19, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a major UN scientific report warning of a "code red for humanity" and emphasizing how human activities were changing the climate in unprecedented and irreversible ways.

This study employs qualitative digital ethnography to examine the Dalai Lama's discourse events delivered through cross-cultural, multimedia platforms during the Covid-19 pandemic. Through critical inquiry, it explores the Dalai Lama's rhetoric of identification and persuasion related to human values and environmental ethics. The research investigates the intersection of human consciousness and communication in a digitally-mediated, intercultural context, employing humanistic inquiry methods to address pressing issues highlighted by the pandemic, such as environmental vulnerability, economic inequality, and social inequities. This study concludes that the Dalai Lama crafts his discourse thoughtfully to influence human consciousness, ethical decision-making, and societal behaviors in response to the urgent challenges facing humanity, notably climate change.

Through an in-depth analysis of the Dalai Lama's digital rhetoric of human values, which extends across multiple media, cultures, and languages, this dissertation presents an interdisciplinary exploration of human consciousness and communication in the context of the urgent global challenge of climate change. It argues that adopting an eco-ethical consciousness presents a viable solution for addressing the complex and interconnected challenges of human, climate, and planetary well-being.


Available for download on Sunday, May 26, 2024