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Inoculating against threats to climate advocates’ image: intersectional environmentalism and the Indian farmers’ protest

Sabherwal, Anandita, Shreedhar, Ganga ORCID: 0000-0003-2517-2485 and van der Linden, Sander (2022) Inoculating against threats to climate advocates’ image: intersectional environmentalism and the Indian farmers’ protest. Current Research in Ecological and Social Psychology, 3. ISSN 2666-6227

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.cresp.2022.100051


An emerging strategy in climate movements is to build solidarity with other social movements to mobilize climate action—but can this backfire? In a pre-registered experiment (N=541 Indian adults), we investigated the effect of Greta Thunberg’s tweets expressing solidarity with the Indian farmers’ protest on Indians’ receptivity to her climate advocacy and their intentions to take collective climate action. Protest support moderated the effect of her tweets such that after reading her tweets, those who opposed the farmers’ protest found Thunberg to be less effective as a climate advocate compared to the control condition. Exposure to the tweets also lowered protest opposers’ collective climate action intentions. In contrast, those who supported the farmers’ protest became more receptive to her climate advocacy after reading her tweets. Pre-emptively clarifying Thunberg’s motives using an image-prepare pre-bunk inoculated against the negative effects on her image– protest opposers who received the pre-bunk before reading Thunberg’s tweets were as receptive to her as were protest opposers in the control condition. The results suggest that climate advocates’ intervention in other social movements can polarise the public’s opinion about them and the public’s pro-climate action intentions. This unintended effect may be mitigated by clarifying advocates’ motives before they intervene.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Author(s).
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2022 11:00
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2022 13:00

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