A new study found that participants were more likely to adopt eco-friendly behaviors if they were told they could make a difference in the fight against climate change. Conversely, those who were told that climate change was out of their control exhibited less eco-friendly behaviors than they had before.
According to Psych Central, researchers took this as evidence of "how destructive a feeling of helplessness can be." A message of empowerment, though, seemed to lead to not only more positive actions, but also a stronger belief in the moral weight of those actions, and "a [heightened] awareness that the energy we consume could either prevent or cause damage to human life."
Therefore, in terms of mobilizing the public, researcher Jesse Preston says, "mere belief in climate change is not enough, and fear can backfire if we feel helpless and overwhelmed." More positive messaging about energy saving behaviors may be necessary.