Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Rhetoric, Theory and Culture (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Humanities

Advisor 1

Andy Fiss

Committee Member 1

Karla Saari Kitalong

Committee Member 2

Craig Waddell


Drawing on rhetorical theory as well as research in health and environmental communication, this thesis analyzes the effectiveness of messages that link climate change with health implications at moving audiences to persuasion. The two texts analyzed are a report produced by a group of physicians advocating for action on climate change and an episode from the Years of Living Dangerously Series. The findings indicate that communicators have the opportunity to frame climate-change-health messages in rhetorically sensitive ways that are more likely to empower audiences. Progressing from problems to solutions and to benefits of taking action can frame distressing health messages more positively and productively. Mindful orientations toward audiences that respect their agency and their self-efficacy appear to offer an avenue for internalized understanding of the stakes of climate change.

Included in

Rhetoric Commons