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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation

Environmental Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Neff, Mark W.

Second Advisor

Darby, Kate J.

Third Advisor

Vidaña, Seth


Americans have varying ideas about the validity of climate science, the risk that climate change poses, and what action should be taken to address that risk. To effectively address climate change, policy makers must imagine and implement solutions that are meaningful and affirming to people with fundamentally different ways of perceiving the topic. In this study, I utilized Q-method to uncover distinct perspectives that stakeholders in Bellingham, Washington have regarding two proposed climate mitigation measures that would require the electrification of the City’s building sector. I conclude that the study participants represented three well-developed perspectives regarding the topic—the “Bold Climate Action Now” perspective, the “Unregulated Energy Independence” perspective, and the “Cost Concerned” perspective. Each perspective prioritized different concerns and values in their support for or opposition to the proposed measures. I discuss policies and strategies that the City can pursue to address building electrification while honoring these different perspectives. I suggest that such widely acceptable policies could be more viable, durable, and effective in mitigating for climate change than a policy rooted in just one perspective. My findings are relevant to policy makers and decision makers in Bellingham, Washington and beyond who seek to design and implement widely acceptable and long-lasting policies that effectively mitigate for climate change.




Cultural theory, Cultural cognition, Clumsy solutions, Climate policy, Building electrification, Q-method


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Climatic changes--Government policy--Washington (State)--Bellingham; Cognition and culture--Washington (State)--Bellingham; Q technique--Washington (State)--Bellingham; Electrification--Washington (State)--Bellingham

Geographic Coverage

Bellingham (Wash.)




masters theses




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