Climate change: Rise in Google searches around ‘anxiety’

Kathmandu: Online search queries related to “climate anxiety” have risen, according to data gathered by Google and shared exclusively with BBC 100 Women.

Studies also suggests that women are more affected by climate anxiety than men.

The rise of wildfires, floods and droughts around the world are just some of the highly visible signs of climate change.

What is reported less is the impact of climate change on human minds.

Climate anxiety – defined as feelings of distress about the impacts of climate change – has been reported globally, particularly among children and young people.

Data from Google Trends shows that search queries related to “climate anxiety” have increased dramatically.

Search queries in English around “climate anxiety” in the first 10 months of 2023 are 27 times higher than the same period in 2017.

There have been surges related to climate anxiety in other world languages over the same period.

  • Search queries in Portuguese have risen by 73 times
  • Search queries in (simplified) Chinese have risen by eight-and-a-half times
  • Search queries in Arabic have risen by a fifth

These are not the languages with the most commonly searched queries around climate anxiety but are just some of the world languages the BBC asked Google to look at.

Searches may be higher among speakers of languages with greater awareness of climate anxiety, or among those who use Google most often and do not necessarily suggest that people in countries with bigger shares of search queries are more prone to experiencing climate anxiety.

The Google Trends data combines search queries for “climate anxiety” and “eco-anxiety”, terms which are often used in the same way but which have slightly different meanings.

News Source: BBC