Climate action among Generation Z: The association between ingroup identification, collective efficacy, and collective action intentions and behaviour

Date

2021-12-23

Authors

McCreary, Breanna

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Abstract

The majority of today’s emerging adults view climate change as the defining challenge of their generation (Amnesty International, 2019). Young people’s climate concern has translated to unprecedented collective climate action, such as the youth climate strikes of 2019. However, young people and their relevant social identities are underrepresented in research on collective climate action. Following the social identity model of pro-environmental action (Fritsche et al., 2018), the current study assesses the extent to which emerging adults identify with Generation Z, or Gen-Z, as a relevant ingroup. In a Prolific survey of 296 participants aged 18-24 and currently living in Canada, I examined young people’s Gen-Z ingroup identification, perceived collective efficacy of Gen-Z, and three collective action outcomes: intentions to follow youth climate groups on social media, intentions to engage in future collective climate action, and participation in sending an advocacy message to the B.C. Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. I hypothesized that the interaction of ingroup identification and collective efficacy would predict collective climate action outcomes above and beyond the influence of each construct individually. This hypothesis was not supported. While Gen-Z ingroup identification and perceived collective efficacy each predicted intentions to follow youth climate groups on social media and intentions to engage in future collective action, the interaction term added no explanatory power to the models. Neither Gen-Z ingroup identification nor collective efficacy predicted participation in the advocacy message behaviour. These findings underscore the importance of systematically investigating broad social identities in the field of collective climate action, which has predominantly focused on specific environmentalist groups. The current study also highlights the need for further investigation of predictors of behavioural outcomes.

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Keywords

ingroup identification, collective efficacy, collective action, social identity, Generation Z

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