The famous Australian poet Dorothea Mackellar wrote “I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, of ragged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains.” Indeed, no truer words spoken of the landscape and climate I live in here across our great southern land, known to most as Australia.
If anything, it’s even more relevant now than it was in 1908 when she scribed these words that echoed in my head on NYE 2019 when fires raged around where my family was staying on the south coast of New South Wales. Unlike others, we did not end up evacuating that night, but a chilling automated call from the Rural Fire Service that night did warn us it was too late to leave by main roads anyway. Since then, we have seen equally devastating weather-related events take place in the US and southern Europe through 2021.
We have also had a small issue of a global pandemic to content with which, on the surface of things, seems to have overshadowed our attention to the climate. Or has it?
Research undertaken by Ipsos for EDF in late 2021 asked what issues worried people from 30 countries across the globe and revealed that while the cost of living and pandemic ranked first and second respectively, the environment ranked fifth. This marked a +2-point increase from the year prior. The study further revealed that 77% of the planet’s inhabitants believe that they are already seeing the effects of climate change in their region. Climate issues are among their top priorities in terms of environment-related fears with 72% of the world’s population feeling concerned, 30% feeling angry, and 26% feeling demoralized about the environment’s position across the globe.
If we scratch the surface of this using social data though, we can see that points of inflection rise quickly, suggesting that while health issues are posing imminent challenges, the environment still remains a simmering issue. Overall volumes of online conversations have increased exponentially over the last couple of years – driven by news coverage of extreme weather-related events – but let’s take a look at a couple specific moments over the last twelve months that highlight the world’s views on climate change.
The first of these is COP26 Conference on climate change that took place in Glasgow in late 2021. With the peak in online conversation volumes, so too came the range of debate and rich contextualized views on the role of the summit and the issues it raised on both sides of the aisle – from those who praised world leaders to those who were more skeptical about the real impact and effect the conference would have.
“Prime Minister @narendramodi gave a historic speech at #COP26 in Glasgow, presenting the #India vision on mitigating Climate Change. It was a reaffirmation of India’s commitment to an action plan that benefits all. Our goal: Net Zero by 2070”
“Thank you to all who worked so hard & went without sleep to fight for real climate action at #COP26 this historic fortnight: the scientists, youth, Indigenous ppls, activists, journalists, organisers – not the fossil fuel lobbyists. We see you and appreciate your hard work 💛🌍”
“Decadence. Hypocrisy. Greed. Ego. Power. Control. Waste. #COP26”
“This photo of Tuvalu’s virtual address to the Climate Conference says everything that should need to be said. #COP26…The message is so strong. Islands in the Pacific are the most affected with sea level rise.”
A more recent glimpse into the way people feel about the issue can be seen with the release of the Hollywood movie Don’t Look Up which, at the time of writing this article, was Netflix’s third most viewed film ever, amassing 263 million viewing hours across its initial eleven release days. Using the Synthesio platform, it easy to see the sharp rise in related-conversation volumes, the main topics emerging, and dive into individual posts to uncover the context and detail of global sentiment.
While reviews were mixed about the quality of the film overall, it did not take away from the messaging about the role of governments and media in the climate change debate, and the need to look at reliable, scientific ways to communicate climate issues.
“I thought #DontLookUp was excellent even though it was deeply disturbing. Climate change. End of story. If it doesn’t matter, nothing else does. And Govts driven by short term individual & party interests will destroy us”
“The movie #DontLookUp informs us we need to teach science better and we need to find more reliable ways of communicating science to the public”
“I’ve just watched, “Don’t Look Up”. I thought it darkly funny and a great Climate Change metaphor. Perfect on populist government ineptitude. Plus sad. No wonder media reviewers hate it, it shows them up for what they are. #DontLookUp”.
For brands and businesses likely to be impacted by climate change and looking for business opportunities presented by shifting macro factors and consumer preferences, using social intelligence is an effective way to monitor the wave of needs. Real-time social insights allow you to track online conversations across a range of climate-related issues, assess influencer activity in the climate space, know which type of communication generates more engagement than others, and keep a pulse on topics of discussion across the globe. With data access to over 190 countries and over 80 languages, you can keep up with climate change’s impact on every part of the world.
For a deeper look at how leading brands use the Synthesio platform to surface mission-critical insights, request a demo with one of our experts here.