Terror Management Theory (TMT; Greenberg et al. 1986) provides a comprehensive explanation for human motivation and behaviour, suggesting that the awareness of mortality is a core driving force behind human action. According to this perspective, viewing our lives as purposeful and seeing ourselves as valued members of something meaningful allows us to quell existential concerns engendered by the awareness of our own vulnerability and inevitable mortality. To maintain this psychological equanimity in the face of the awareness of death, human beings establish and maintain faith in cultural worldviews, striving for a sense of personal value, or self-esteem, by living up to the standards of worth prescribed therein. When our protective psychological buffers are threatened or attacked, people are motivated to reaffirm and restore the integrity of these structures. Much of the TMT literature has revealed that death awareness can increase expressions of prejudice, discrimination, sexism, racism, nationalism, religious intolerance, and political discord. That is, the awareness of death leads people to defend their sense of value by upholding their in-group identities and becoming more antagonistic towards disparate others. However, research has also revealed conditions under which death awareness can lead to more socially adaptive and less deleterious outcomes, such as becoming more open-minded and embracing prosocial values of tolerance and helping. As such, TMT may be in an optimal position to shed light on both the barriers and pathways to social change, as well as how the awareness of death may be understood as a driving force for societal advancement.