Sustainability

An Eco-wakening: Measuring global awareness, engagement and action for nature

May 18, 2021

Global

An Eco-wakening: Measuring global awareness, engagement and action for nature

May 18, 2021

Global
Antonia Kerle

Manager, Policy and insights

Antonia Kerle is a research manager with Economist Impact’s Policy & Insights practice. Antonia leads research programs for foundations, international organisations, private sector clients and non-profits seeking evidence-based analysis and policy recommendations. She specialises in the intersection of media, technology and education. She leads Economist Impact’s work on technology and media in the EMEA region, with a focus on topics relating to media viability, disinformation, hate speech and trust in institutions. Antonia holds a master’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Bryn Mawr College. She also has a certificate in Data, Law and Policy from the London School of Economics.

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The natural world is under threat. Scientists warn that 1m species, out of an estimated total of 8m, face extinction—many within decades. This decline is putting the future of the planet and everyone on it at risk.

Time is running out, and action to prevent fatal nature loss is urgently needed.

Do people care?

Given the scale of the problem, it would be easy to assume that ordinary people are turning away, not only believing that biodiversity loss is not a priority, but also that nothing can be done.

We find the opposite.

New research by The Economist Intelligence Unit, commissioned by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), shows that hundreds of millions of people all over the world are concerned, and that this number is growing.

People increasingly care about nature-loss — especially in emerging markets. This shift in public sentiment reflects a hard reality, as people in these countries are most likely to experience the devastating impact of the loss of nature.

Nature-loss and biodiversity issues are gaining more traction online than ever before. Major influencers around the world—including political figures, celebrities and religious leaders—are using their platforms to amplify nature issues, with messages reaching a combined audience of almost 1bn people worldwide.

Consumers are changing their behaviour, with searches for sustainable goods increasing significantly since 2016. Corporations are responding, particularly in the cosmetics, pharmaceutical, fashion and food sectors.

Public demand for action is rapidly growing through protests, petitions and campaign donations. Between 2016 and 2018, global news media coverage of nature-based protests grew steadily. Between 2018 and 2019, however, coverage jumped, driven by protest movements such as Extinction Rebellion.

The call for bold, decisive action by governments and businesses on behalf of the planet and future generations is getting louder and louder. 

Download the report to learn more. For the complete dataset please email: [email protected]

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