A new interactive website shows the most frequent questions people ask Google about climate change. The project is the result of a collaboration between Google News Lab and Pitch Interactive, a studio in San Francisco reports Smithsonian Magazine. The results are compiled from 20 cities around the world.
On Earth reports:
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. Top requests include: “What is Global Warming?,” “How to stop global warming?,” and “How is global warming a threat to life on earth?”
Meanwhile, residents of New York City are searching “If there is global warming, why is it so cold?” a query that reflects how the northeast has experienced oddball cold winters while most other places are breaking records with warm temperatures.
“We wanted to show how this big issue looks when viewed through the lens of Google search data. Google data is so big — there are over 3 billion searches a day — that our challenge was how to make those huge numbers meaningful,” Simon Rogers, data editor of the News Lab told Chis Mooney of The Washington Post.
Mooney also points out that the data from many of the cities peaks in 2006 to 2007 — reflecting the conversation surrounding climate change generated by Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”. Since then awareness, or Google searches at least, have declined. Perhaps Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical will generate a similar surge.
If information is power, Google may someday rule the world. This spectacular interactive presentation tells us more about what our fellow travelers on Spaceship Earth are thinking than all the news reports, television documentaries, and social media statistics combined.
Climate change may be a myth to some of our leaders, like James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the intellectual pygmy known worldwide as Senator Snowball, after he brought a snowball into the US Senate to prove that global warming was a hoax because it was cold outside.
For the rest of us ordinary people, real information, not doctrinaire political rhetoric, is what we crave most.