Speaking directly to their fans — an extremely loyal bunch known as Directioners — the popular British boy band released a video Wednesday on their website to mark the launch of Action/1D, a campaign aimed at raising awareness about global issues like climate change.
“2015 is a year like no other, and we want you to really make it count,” the video begins. “At two historic summits in September and December, world leaders will make decisions that affect important human issues, like extreme poverty, inequality, and climate change.”
The aforementioned summits — the United Nations Summit for the Adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference — will bring together officials from around the world in the hopes of adopting international agreements on sustainable development and climate change.
“Please will you join us to put pressure on our leaders?” the boys ask. “All you need to do is tell us what you want your world to look like in the future.”
The video has only been on YouTube for a few hours, but it has already elicited thousands of responses from fans, who have sent videos and pictures responding to various “actions” called for on the band’s websites. For those that want to get involved, there are currently two actions available: one that asks fans to show how they would “celebrate” and another that asks what their ideal future world would look like. On Friday, July 10, another action is scheduled to drop (the anticipation is almost too much to bear).
Each band member will also release individual videos (except for Niall and Liam, who are apparently recording theirs together), with the first coming from Louis (the one with “light brown hair, sea green eyes and an amazing smile” according to onedirectioninfection.wikia.com) on July 13.
The Action/1D is part of a larger action/2015 campaign, which launched in January and seeks to make 2015 a defining year in the global fight against poverty and climate change, according to the Guardian. The campaign already boasts a full lineup of celebrity supporters, from Matt Damon to Malala Yousafzai.
Celebrities that take up social causes can use their influence to make an issue more visible, but that’s not the only way celebrities can shape a particular cause, according to Declan Fahy, an associate professor at American University’s School of Communication. In a 2014 interview with Yale Climate Connections, Fahy explained that celebrities can “personify ideas and social issues” and “put a recognizable, individual face on a complex, systemic phenomenon like climate change,” which can “make the issue connect with audiences, engaging them on the issue, and potentially mobilizing them to take action.”
Of the nearly 10,000 responses currently posted on the band’s website, respondents seem to skew young and female, which could be good news for those that care about climate change. According to an analysis of public attitudes and behaviors related to climate change compiled by Purdue University, older people tend to be more concerned about the environment than younger people, especially in Europe. Similar analysis by the Yale Center for Climate Change Communication found young people relatively disengaged on the issue of global warming — at least by some indicators — compared to older generations.
So One Direction probably won’t single-handedly solve global warming — but they could help encourage a younger generation to care about the issue.