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The Greta Thunberg & David Attenborough Effect; How influential are they?

Author: Mike Holiday
Last Updated 16th February 2021

Climate change is an issue that affects us all, whether we like it or not. It’s not uncommon for people to have peaks of interest in living a more sustainable lifestyle but not maintaining them. We analysed when and why people become interested in sustainability and why some people don’t stick to their sustainable habits.

We investigated which moments during the last two years resulted in our interest in climate change peaking. To do this, our team used Google trends data to analyse when people searched for terms surrounding ‘climate change’ or ‘sustainability’ the most.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg's public stunts topped the list for being the most influential moments in the last two years.

Please find a list of notable moments, in order of peak search volume:

  1. Greta Thunberg’s White House Protest - 13th September 2020

  2. David Attenborugh joins Instagram & Greta Thunberg delivers a speech at the U.N - September 23rd & 24th 2019

  3. Greta Thunberg comments on climate change during the Davos Economic Forum - January 21st 2020

  4. Global climate change protests across Australia - September 20th 2019

  5. Greta Thunberg crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a boat - August 28th 2019

  6. David Attenborough releases “A life on our planet” - October 4th 2019

  7. Australia's climate change policies were ranked as one of the worst amongst G20 countries - November 19th 2019

  8. The 2019/2020 bush fires - November 27th 2019

  9. Australia revealed to be the only developed country on world list of deforestation hotspots - January 13th 2021

  10. Australia recorded the 4th hottest year on record - January 8th 2021

So, we can see that such publicity stunts, film releases, or political movements cause us to become more curious about sustainability and climate change. However, we were keen to find out more about the public and their views on climate change. We surveyed 2,056 people and asked them the following questions.

What is most likely to increase your interest in climate change?

  • Word of mouth - 36%
  • Watching / reading the news - 62%
  • Other - 2% (reasons including; the future of children, moving saving and having more time)

Do you believe your children are more involved with climate change matters than you had been at the same age?

  • Agree - 92%
  • Disagree or unsure - 8%

Do you actively keep up to date with the government’s policies surrounding climate change and sustainability?

  • Yes - 10%
  • No - 76%
  • Sometimes - 14%

After watching a David Attenborough film / series do you feel the need to make a positive change in your lifestyle?

  • Agree - 67%
  • Disagree or unsure - 33%

After hearing / reading about Greta Thunberg in the news do you feel the need to make a positive change in your lifestyle?

  • Agree - 52%
  • Disagree or unsure - 48%

If you aren’t living as sustainable as you would like to be, why?

  • Too expensive - 60%
  • Time consuming - 34%
  • Information is complicated - 6%

Your Solar Quotes recognise that children are our future and that education is vital in our collective fight against climate change. We have prepared some simple advice to help children live sustainably. Take a look below!

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