Winter Really Must Be Coming

By measure of Google-searches, ‘climate change’ finally conquers ‘Game of Thrones’

September 30, 2019

11:20 am

Now we’re getting somewhere.

The fine folks at Grist (the “nonprofit news org for people who want a planet that doesn’t burn and a future that doesn’t suck”) have a great story this morning about how, by comparing Google-searches, we can see that “climate change” is starting to generate the kind of significant interest commensurate with its importance as an issue. Sure, it’s gotten attention before, but not to the degree it has this past month — its biggest month of all time.

If you really want to measure how deeply a topic is penetrating the consciousness of Americans, you have to compare it to the 800-pound gorilla in the room, which these days would be “Game of Thrones.”

As Grist’s Kate Yoder reports, “For the first time since Game of Thrones became a thing, Americans showed more interest in climate change than the plight of the scattered Stark family.”

And, as Yoder notes, this latest high surpasses the previous mark set for “climate change,” which was in June 2017, “when President Donald Trump announced he intended to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement.” (See CHART below.)

Clearly, we have one person to thank for this: Greta Thunberg. Or perhaps we have 7 million people to thank — those that participated in the two strikes (Sept. 20 and Sept. 27) that bookended UN Week and Climate Week NYC, a week that strike organizers called “a week of climate action” and that Thunberg referred to as “#weekforfuture.”

Youth voices (particularly those of young women) have played an absolutely critical role in this effort, from Thunberg to Future Coalition’s Katie Eder, to Earth Guardians’ Xiye Bastida, to Earth Uprising’s Alexandria Villaseñor, to Extinction Rebellion's Sophie Anderson, to Zero Hour’s Jamie Margolin. Their relentless efforts (and those of the 7 million people that participated in 6,135 strikes in 185 countries) have certainly helped make a difference.

But so have media efforts (news outlets like CNN devoting significant time to climate “town halls”; and as Earth’s Call reported previously, newsrooms around the world participating in the “Covering Climate Now” effort). And so have UN agencies and civil society organizations from around the world, from Blue Planet Alliance (“accelerating Hawaii toward 100% clean energy”) to (“standing up to the fossil fuel industry to stop all new coal, oil and gas projects and build clean energy for all”) to Earth’s Call (which weeks ago made its first grant to Future Coalition, to power youth voices coordinating the climate strikes).

So regardless of whatever winter is doing, then, rest assured that something more important is coming, too. As Thunberg noted in a speech she gave in Montreal this weekend, “The people have spoken and we will continue to speak until our leaders listen. We are the change and change is coming.”

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