Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Environmental Program

First Advisor

Adrian Ivakhiv

Second Advisor

Richard Watts

Keywords

Vermont, Wind Power, Media Analysis, Renewable Energy, Environmental Studies, Frames

Abstract

The debate around wind power in Vermont is extremely contentious and has ultimately led to a halt of new wind development. As human induced climate change poses a threat to modern society, the state of Vermont has adopted ambitious renewable energy goals that will require a large increase in renewable infrastructure across the state. Although wind power is generally supported by the population based on polling data, projects are faced with a strong opposition. The Kingdom Community Wind project, operational in 2012 in Lowell, VT, was especially contentious, and has left lasting marks on the future for wind energy development in Vermont. To understand how the issue of wind power is communicated in Vermont, I conducted a content analysis of articles published in the Caledonian Record, Burlington Free Press, and Associated Press in the year 2011 on the Kingdom Community Wind project to determine how the debate is being shaped and what frames are employed to contextualize it. This study seeks to answer the questions: Which actors are journalists prioritizing in their coverage? What frames do different actors present? How do different actors employ collective action frames? What are the greater environmental, political, and ethical meanings present in the content of the frames? In doing this research I discuss some of the core conflicts which operates under the surface of the media content, and provide recommendations for potential steps forward in Vermont’s renewable energy future.

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