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Celebrate Earth Day: Google Reveals Top Sustainability-Related Trends in South Africa

In celebration of Earth Day, Google has released data highlighting the top sustainability-related trends in South Africa. The data showcases South Africans’ growing interest in environmental issues, as they search for answers to questions and learn more about the pressing concerns of our planet.

South Africans are demonstrating a strong desire to understand environmental terms and concepts, such as global warming and climate change. In simple terms, global warming is the gradual increase in Earth’s temperature due to human activities, while climate change refers to the wider effects of global warming, including changes in weather patterns and more extreme weather events. Both of these issues have a significant impact on South Africa’s environment, economy, and society. The most asked questions on Google in South Africa include:

  1. What is global warming?
  2. What is climate change?
  3. What causes global warming?
  4. What are the effects of global warming?
  5. How to prevent global warming?

Google’s data also highlights the top trending topics in South Africa, showcasing a growing interest in these areas. Flooding and heatwaves, such as the severe heatwave experienced in January 2023, are two extreme weather events that are becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change. In that heatwave, temperatures reached 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in some parts of the country, causing widespread power outages, crop damage, and livestock deaths. This event served as a reminder of the threat of climate change and the need for South Africa to act, to adapt to a changing climate. The top trending topics are:

  1. Flood
  2. Heat wave
  3. Solar lamp
  4. Solar power
  5. Environmental, social, and corporate governance
  6. Wildfire
  7. Wind turbine
  8. Wind power
  9. Hydropower
  10. Carbon footprint

The most searched topics showcase a range of environmental subjects that South Africans are eager to explore:

  1. Solar energy
  2. Solar power
  3. Flood
  4. Climate
  5. Recycling
  6. Climate change
  7. Used goods
  8. Veganism
  9. Sustainability
  10. Pollution

Reflecting on these findings, Siya Madikane, a spokesperson for Google, emphasised the importance of individual and collective action: “Climate change is one of humanity’s most urgent challenges, and Earth Month is an opportunity for all of us to consider how we can make a difference. By providing accessible information on environmental topics, we hope to empower South Africans to take action for a more sustainable future. It’s not just about what Google does; it’s about how we can all work together to protect our planet.”

The data highlights South Africa’s growing awareness and commitment to sustainability and environmental protection. As the country faces unique challenges in combating climate change, such as extreme weather events and the need for sustainable energy sources, the increased attention to these issues is a testament to the growing public engagement on Earth Day and beyond.