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Earth Hour: How can it help make a change?

Date:09 April 2018
Author:Elliot Sharpe, PhD Environmental Psychology, UG

Earth Hour is a noble idea but how do we make sure it has long lasting effects?

The trouble with environmentally-friendly campaigns is, when they are over, the environmentally-friendly behaviour that they encouraged usually stops too (Van der Linden, 2015). So how can we make these campaigns more effective?

We all make assumptions about who we are by looking at our behaviour (Bem, 1972). This is true for environmental behaviour too. So when we see we have acted environmentally-friendly, we begin to see ourselves as environmentally-friendly people (Van der Werff, Steg, & Keizer, 2014).

The great thing is that once we see ourselves as environmentally-friendly are likely to act upon it in future (Van der Werff, Steg, & Keizer, 2013). So by simply reminding people that when turning their lights off, they are acting environmentally-friendly, we can encourage people to act environmentally-friendly in the future.

So, to those participating in Earth Hour we should all say:

“Hey, remember when you turned your lights out for Earth Hour? That was very environmentally-friendly!”

But you don’t have to wait for Earth hour: try it out the next time someone you know brings their own cup, switches the lights off or chooses a meat-free meal.

Want to know more? Check out the Environmental Psychology department at the UG.


On the 24th of March the UG was part of the worldwide movement Earth Hour. The lights of the Academy Building were switched off for one hour. By doing this we want to draw attention to the future of our planet, and the threat of climate change. Read more about our sustainable ambitions in the Roadmap.