Explaining participation in Earth Hour: the identity perspective and the theory of planned behavior

  • Hoi-Wing ChanEmail author
  • Vivien Pong
  • Kim-Pong TamEmail author


Earth Hour is a globally celebrated environmental campaign that is aimed at converting bystanders into active participants in the combat against climate change. Although it has become a global movement, to date, few studies have investigated the motivations behind people’s participation in Earth Hour. The present study fills this gap by examining Earth Hour participation through the integration of the identity perspective and the theory of planned behavior (TPB). We argue that environmental self-identity and humanity identity motivate people to participate in Earth Hour via the pathways identified in the TPB. We tested our model by conducting a survey in Hong Kong (N = 239). Results from a series of mediation analysis revealed that Earth Hour–specific attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioral control, and moral norm were positively associated with behavioral intention, which in turn predicted actual participation. Further, we found that environmental self-identity and humanity identity were positively associated with attitude and moral norm, which in turn predicted behavioral intention. These results demonstrate the viability of integrating the identity perspective and the TPB to understand people’s performance of specific pro-environmental behavior, including participation in collective action that aims to convert unconcerned individuals into active participants in environmental endeavors (i.e., conversionary collective action), such as Earth Hour. This integrated model can tell researchers and environmental practitioners not only which behavior-specific factors determine people’s behavior but also how these behavior-specific factors arise in the first place.



We acknowledge with thanks the informational support by the World Wide Fund for Nature Hong Kong throughout this research project.

Supplementary material

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Chinese University of Hong KongSha TinHong Kong
  2. 2.The Hong Kong University of Science and TechnologyClear Water BayHong Kong

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