1:0 for the environment: Engaging football fans on tackling climate change
In general, the existence of anthropogenic climate change and the need for deeper societal transformations are widely accepted. Less agreement exists on how to best motivate the public to act in a way that allows for these transformations to happen. Currently, research stresses the potential of existing communities. This thesis argues that particularly one existing community has not been considered yet when it comes to engaging the public to take climate action: football fans. Coming together regularly in support of and showing a high level of identification with their team, fan groups have increasingly become an area of political mobilisation. However, until very recently, climate change has not been a major concern for fan groups, hence literature connecting football fans and climate change is rare. This study intends to fill this gap by assessing the potential of an environmental campaign called ‘Pledgeball’ encouraging football fans to commit voluntarily to pro-environmental lifestyle changes (ranging from buying seasonal food to installing solar panels) in support of their team. The thereby saved emissions from all fans are tallied, compared to the opposition, visualised in a league table and translated into cars taken off the road. Using surveys and in-depth interviews, the case study analysis shows that engagement with Pledgeball makes fans realise the impact they can have as a group. This makes them re-evaluate their role in tackling climate change resulting in further engagement with the topic, thus indicating a lot of untouched potential for mobilising existing communities to take climate action.
mobilising climate action
pro-environmental behaviour change