Hellish memes in climate change discourse: Is Internet memes affecting youngsters’ climate engagement?

Sin Ying LIU

Research output: ThesisHonours Projects (HP)


Climate change is undoubtedly a pressing issue, young people are more likely to bear the consequences of climate change in the future which makes their engagement in climate campaign become more crucial. Recent studies have proved the socio-political functions of Internet memes as a new landscape, including in climate engagement issue. Yet, existing research have not yet covered hellish memes, the subtype of Internet memes that gaining popularity in Asian region. Young people as the age group with the most exposure to Internet memes have also not yet become the focus of recent studies. Therefore, this study is aimed to focus on the socio-political function of Internet hellish memes on the issue of climate engagement in Hong Kong, a Chinese-speaking region among young people. To obtain a profound understand on the evoked emotion from the memes and its subsequent intention of climate engagement, this study adapted an approach of semi-structured interview with photo elicitation. Two groups of researcher-controlled memes: human and animal climate change hellish memes were used to perform as visual stimuli in this study. Major finding of this study suggested that animal hellish memes and the hellish nature evoked higher level of empathy and guilt, which possibly act as a mediator in increasing youngster’s intention of climate engagement. The comprehensible feature of memes can also be a good tool to raise youngsters’ risk perception. Yet, concerns over money post restriction and suppress the willingness for youngster to participate certain climate activates. By combining younger generation’s interest in Internet hellish memes and the advancement of social media, this study adapted an innovative perspective to investigate a fresh way that can possibly increase youngsters' climate engagement.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationBachelor of Education (Honours)
  • PEI, Qing 裴卿, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Honours Project (HP)
  • Bachelor of Education (Honours) (Geography) (Five-year Full-time)
  • Programme code: A5B084
  • Course code: GGP4016


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