Lights, camera ... action? Altered attitudes and behaviour in response to the climate change film The Age of Stupid

Rachel A. Howell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The film The Age of Stupid depicts the world in 2055 devastated by climate change, combining this with documentary footage which illustrates many facets of the problems of climate change and fossil-fuel dependency. This study investigates the effects of the film on UK viewers' attitudes and behaviour through a three-stage survey. Analysis of changes in attitudes focussed particularly on respondents' concern about climate change, motivation to act, fear about the potential for catastrophe, beliefs about responsibility for action, and sense of agency. The film increased concern about climate change, motivation to act, and viewers' sense of agency, although these effects had not persisted 10-14 weeks after seeing it. It was also successful in promoting some mitigation actions and behavioural change, although respondents reported barriers to further action, such as limited options for improving home energy efficiency among those in rented accommodation. However, filmgoers were atypical of the general public in that they exhibited very high levels of concern about climate change, knowledge about how to reduce their carbon emissions, and contact with organisations campaigning about climate change, before they saw the film. The paper considers how these factors may have enabled viewers to respond to the film as they did, as well as policy implications for those seeking to develop effective climate change communications. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-187
Number of pages11
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • Pro-environmental behaviour
  • Behavioural change
  • Climate change communications
  • Public attitudes
  • Agency
  • Motivation
  • Risk perception
  • Public perceptions
  • Intentions

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