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Google has released data that appears to demonstrate a shift towards climate awareness in the U.K. Users of the search engine have been looking for ways to reduce their environmental footprint, with specific methodologies starting to trend. Vintage and recycled clothing has proven to be a popular query, alongside electric vehicle searches.
The revelation came as part of Google’s Earth Day 2022 efforts. Search and Maps data were both used to conclude that, overall, the U.K. population is leaning towards a widespread commitment to living sustainably. The findings were revealed by the Think with Google platform.
How are people searching for sustainability?
Since March last year, Google Maps searches for ‘used clothing stores’ have increased more than five times. Alongside, searches for donation locations have more than doubled. Tellingly, searches for waste management locations were up by 86 percent, highlighting that consumers are becoming cognisant about disposing of waste efficiently.
“These trends show how enthusiastic the U.K. is about making sustainable choices,” Matt Brittin, Google president for EMEA said in a statement.
The searching for local businesses and services demonstrates that sustainability issues are resonating at home for U.K. citizens. More general terms point to bigger lifestyle changes being considered as well.
What is the U.K. searching for the most online?
Google is the most frequently used search engine in the U.K. Users have been honing in on climate-specific topics since the beginning of 2022. Of all environment-related terms looked at, the top five are: “veganism”, “recycling”, “waste collection”, “electric car” and “landfill”.
Electric car searches spanned a number of niches. From sourcing new vehicles to charging existing investments. Searches for charging points have more than doubled since March last year.
Google’s data reveals that entire households are looking to make positive changes. “What is sustainability for kids” was named as one of the highest trending questions within the climate search topic.
“We know people aren’t always sure where to start so we’re doing everything we can to make it easier, including making changes to some of your favourite tools, Brittin said. “We’re displaying carbon emissions in Google Flights, enabling travellers to search for eco-certified hotels and we’ll shortly be adding eco-routes to Maps, showing you the most fuel-efficient routes.”
Search engines as instruments for change
Google is not the only platform helping people switch to more conscious living. Ecosia, widely regarded as the ‘ethical Google’ has been instigating online activism since its inception in 2009.
For every search carried out on Ecosia, the company plants a tree. A further 80 percent of all profits are diverted to causes that look to carry out reforestation projects. The German company has placed sustainability at the core of its operation. Solar energy powers its web searches, it’s a certified B Corporation and it has already reported that Brits are showing signs of looking to fight climate change.
Earlier this year, Ecosia reported that 20 percent of people in Britain are eating less meat in a bid to reduce climate change. More than 50 percent of people taking part in a nationwide survey commissioned by the search engine revealed they don’t think the government is doing enough to combat the climate crisis.
This assessment has been somewhat supported by those in power including just one paragraph about ‘novel foods’ in a post-Brexit report. Observers see this as a reference to potential future cultivated meat developments, thorough nothing is specifically mentioned or given much page space. This is despite the sector being regarded as a potentially critical weapon in the fight against the climate crisis.
Lead photo by Firmbee at Unsplash.