What makes a climate story effective? We examined if short fiction stories about everyday pro-environmental behaviours motivate climate policy support, and individual and collective climate action in a nationally representative experiment (N = 903 UK adults). The story featuring protagonists driven by pro-environmental intentions (i.e., the intentional environmentalist narrative) increased participants’ support for pro-climate policies and intentions to take both individual and collective pro-environmental actions, more so than did stories featuring protagonists whose pro-environmental behaviours were driven by intentions to gain social status, to protect their health, and a control story. Participants’ stronger feelings of identification with the protagonist partially explained these effects of the intentional environmentalist narrative. Results highlight that narrating intentional, rather than unintentional, pro-environmental action can enhance readers’ climate policy support and intentions to perform pro-environmental action. Therefore, the intentions driving pro-environmental action may have implications for the extent to which observes identify with the actor and take pro-environmental action themselves. 

Sabherwal, A., Shreedhar, G. Stories of intentional action mobilise climate policy support and action intentions. Sci Rep 12, 1179 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-04392-4

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