01 Aug No One Cares About Climate Change
Considering the level of impact that climate change is already having on humanity and how it will affect the future of life on earth, versus, say, the impact that “Games of Thrones” will have, there’s a shocking disconnect in the amount of attention people are paying to this vital topic.
Using social media applause data – which captures user actions such as likes on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and other social platforms – from Epic Beat’s analytics platform, we compared user engagement from two environmental topics – “climate change” and “environment” – to a range of popular culture topics to frame the society’s relative interest in environmental issues.
Our results were very discouraging.
Tinder receive more social attention than environment and climate change combined. Combined.
Could it be that the average human mind has simply failed to wrap itself around the enormity of the crisis we face? Or does this lack of attention reflect a sense of fatalism born of helplessness – if we cannot wipe left on rapidly melting glaciers and record-breaking hurricanes, do we simply look away?
In a world where journalism is funded by companies whose ad buys are based on metrics such as page impressions and social listening, the lack of attention people are paying to this topic and the lack of news coverage create a self-reinforcing circle.
Without in-depth storytelling that personalizes the wonk-level science and helps paint a picture of how climate change does affect people, personally and in the present tense, it’s difficult to make the case to them about why they should care, let alone why and how their individual choices can make a difference. And without ratings driving coverage, crucial environmental journalism takes a back seat to trivial pop culture.
It’s a bit like watching people vote for their favorite performances on “The Voice” while milling about on the deck of the Titanic. Can we interest anyone in a life raft?
We also believe that highly shareable, easily digestible graphics are needed to get any meaningful attention for environmental topics. Media Matters work here has been an inspiration.
This graphic succinctly captures the absurdly limited coverage of climate change: only 50 minutes of coverage in an election year.
To encourage additional social sharing to bring attention to this vital topic, we have also included alternative graphics from our social attention analysis below.
Please tag our accounts when sharing so we can amplify your efforts:
AMAZON RECEIVES 20 TIMES MORE ATTENTION THAN “CLIMATE CHANGE” + “ENVIRONMENT” COMBINED
ANDROID RECEIVES 11 TIMES MORE ATTENTION THAN “CLIMATE CHANGE” + “ENVIRONMENT” COMBINED
THE VOICE RECEIVES 3 TIMES MORE ATTENTION THAN “CLIMATE CHANGE” + “ENVIRONMENT” COMBINED
NETFLIX RECEIVES 3 TIMES MORE ATTENTION THAN “CLIMATE CHANGE” + “ENVIRONMENT” COMBINED
We are also trying to produce environmental content that has a greater chance of “breaking through the noise” using more popular topics as messaging angles – see our exploration of Tupac’s ‘Changes’ as a blueprint for climate action.
SEAL Analysis of Epic Beat Database Notes: Dataset covers May 2017 to May 2018. Social applause presented in millions.
SEAL Contributors: Amber Buchholz and Matt Harney