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Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation

Environmental Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Rossiter, David A.

Second Advisor

Darby, Kate J.

Third Advisor

Whitley, Cameron T.


Climate communication and climate storytelling have thus far been unrelentingly bleak. However, growing evidence suggests that the barrage of negative, technical communication may result in negative mental health impacts and doesn’t necessarily translate into climate action. Rather than continuing to focus on technical and fear-based communication, there are calls to shifts towards narrative communication and hopeful communication frames. In this study, I investigate what effect hopeful climate fiction has on readers through three related avenues of inquiry using the popular solarpunk novella A Psalm for the Wild Built as an experimental text. I examined (1) what effect, if any, the text had on readers’ climate anxiety, (2) what effect, if any, the text had on readers’ environmental self-efficacy, and (3) what elements of the text were salient to participants and how they made meaning from the text. To answer these questions, I employed a mixed-methods approach combining a longitudinal survey with semi-structured interviews. There seems to be a notable positive effect on reader’s environmental efficacy, particularly regarding community efficacy, although cynicism about individual action remained. The text had a more complex impact on reader’s mental health, but appears to have assisted in positively reframing readers’ climate action, their role in their community, and their commitment to self-care. This reframing effect was most strong for those with mild to moderate reported climate anxiety. These results reaffirm recent studies about community action and framing in other areas of climate research and points the way to many avenues of further inquiry




climate fiction, empirical ecocriticism, solarpunk, communications, climate anxiety, efficacy, hope, hope narratives, mixed methods


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subjects – Names (LCNAF)

Chambers, Becky. Psalm for the wild-built

Subject – LCSH

Ecofiction; Environmental psychology; Climatic changes--Social aspects; Self-efficacy; Hope




masters theses




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