Eye Opener

OK Google, Tell Me About Climate Change

A new data visualization shows where in the world people are searching environmental topics.

Every day, web surfers of the world search Google more than 3.5 billion times (a stat I just Googled, incidentally). You can tell a lot about a society by the kinds of questions it has on its mind, and a new data visualization has the goods on when and where people are—and are not—looking for answers about climate change.  

A World of Change, the result of a collaboration between Pitch Interactive and Google News Lab, has Google Trends statistics for 20 of the world’s largest cities between 2004 and 2015. Users can see what each city wants to know about environmental topics like recycling, drinking water, and wildlife, whether those questions have changed over time, and how the curiosities of residents in each place stack up against the rest of the world. Delhi, for example, ranks no. 1 for searches about global warming. Those types of searches peaked in 2007, and top requests include: “What is Global Warming?,” “How to stop global warming?,” and “How is global warming a threat to life on earth?” Remember, with great search-engine technology comes great responsibility—I hope you answered wisely, Google.

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