Report: Measuring Global Engagement on Biodiversity

Biodiversity in the world is rapidly declining. According to a recent report from The Economist Intelligence Unit — commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) — “time is running out, and action to prevent fatal nature loss is urgently needed.” But the real question is: do people care?” The answer is “yes.”

The researchers discovered that public awareness and concern for biodiversity is growing rapidly. In fact, they found nature-related conversations increased 65% on twitter since 2016. News coverage of nature-related protests grew 103% between 2018 and 2019, up from 7% between 2016 to 2018. This indicates that people are becoming more outspoken about ecological conservation.

The report, titled “An Eco Awakening,” also found that people are more willing to make personal changes to protect the environment. Google searches for sustainable goods, for example, have increased by 71% since 2016 — suggesting that people want to make good choices as consumers.

Interestingly, the researchers found that increases in public sentiment were most prevalent in “emerging markets.”  Engagement and awareness grew 190% in India, 88% in Pakistan, and 53% in Indonesia. The report suggests that people living in developing countries are keenly aware of how they may be impacted by ecological decline.

The data from The Economist’s report has significance for environmental efforts, such as those related to the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs). Increasing consumer awareness will help to develop a more circular economy and phase out harmful consumption habits (SDG 12). Moreover, public outcry is likely to advance efforts for greater ecological conservation (SDGs 14 and 15). Generally, public support for sustainability efforts will allow for more large-scale, coordinated multi-stakeholder action (SDG 17).  

The report concludes that individuals, policymakers, and private sector companies are all calling for change. As the report notes, “The fatal risk of species extinction can be avoided if individuals, organizations, businesses and policymakers unite to identify, assess, disclose, mitigate and overcome the issues to preserve nature for all the generations still to come.”

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