How One Direction Got Tweens Screaming About Climate Change and Poverty
British boy band One Direction made headlines around the world last week when it confirmed plans to break up, but that hasn't stopped the foursome from attempting to change the world in the meantime.
The band's new online movie, Dear World Leaders, which was released Monday night on the streaming platform Vevo, seeks to address world issues including extreme poverty and climate change. The film uses fan-created videos from around the world in an effort to influence leaders’ decisions on how they plan to tackle these issues at two upcoming United Nations conferences. The first summit conference, which runs Sept. 25–27, will determine the post-2015 development agenda on social, economic, and financial plans for all nations. A follow-up debate will take place in October.
Last month, the boy band teamed up with social action coalition action/2015 to create "Action/1D," a campaign in which they reached out to fans via YouTube, asking them to send videos or pictures of what they want their world to look like.
“We can be part of something that actually makes a difference to our future and helps people who need the support,” said Louis Tomlinson, one of the band's members, in the video.
In the course of a month, the "Action/1D" site received almost 78,000 fan submissions from 172 countries. The hashtag #action1D has since reached 2.5 billion users on Twitter and trended on the platform for more than 11 hours following the video’s release, according to a press statement.
It's not the first time the band has used its popularity as a platform for social change. During a tour stop in San Diego in early July, band member Harry Styles told concertgoers that they shouldn’t go to SeaWorld, which inspired fans to start the Twitter hashtag #dontgotoseaworld. Styles’ influence is said to be a contributing factor to the 400 percent spike in mentions of SeaWorld on Twitter, Business Insider reported.
With more than 25 million followers on Twitter and 38 million on Facebook, One Direction has an influence that spans social media platforms worldwide. The social analytics site PeerIndex dubbed the foursome the most influential U.K. Twitter users in 2013.
The band devastated many of its young fans when it announced its planned hiatus in March to pursue solo projects.
"Don't worry though, we still have lots we want to achieve!" band member Niall Horan tweeted last week. "Can't wait for you to hear all the new music we have for you and to perform."