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Google Search data shows people are becoming more climate-conscious

A person holds an iPhone showing the app for Google chrome search engine. Picture date: Friday January 3, 2020 (Andrew Matthews/PA)
A person holds an iPhone showing the app for Google chrome search engine. Picture date: Friday January 3, 2020 (Andrew Matthews/PA)

People in the UK are taking steps to live more sustainable lives by trying to make greener and cleaner choices, according to new data from Google.

Figures from the technology giant’s Search and Maps apps show that in the last year, search queries on how to find more vintage or recycled clothes and get more information on topics such as electric cars have risen significantly.

The firm revealed that since March last year the number of people searching for a “used clothing store” on Google Maps has increased more than five-fold – a sign people are trying to live more sustainably, Google said.

According to the data, released to mark Earth Day, Google Maps searches in the UK for donation centres have more than doubled in the last year, while searches for waste management services are up by 86%.

On Google Search – the most commonly used search engine in the UK and globally – the five most searched for topics around climate since the start of the year all related to living more sustainably, with “veganism”, “recycling”, “waste collection”, “electric car” and “landfill” being the most searched terms on the issue.

Searches linked to electric cars have also spiked on Google Maps, with searches for electric vehicle charging stations more than doubling since March last year.

In response to the growing public awareness of the human impact on the climate, Google now shows carbon emissions for flights in search results and is planning to introduce other environmental awareness features.

Electric car
Searches linked to electric car charging have spiked on Google Maps, with searches for vehicle charging stations more than doubling since March last year (Yui Mok/PA)

“These trends show how enthusiastic the UK is about making sustainable choices,” Matt Brittin, Google president for EMEA, said in response to the new data.

“We know people aren’t always sure where to start so we’re doing everything we can to make it easier, including making changes to some of your favourite tools.

“We’re displaying carbon emissions in Google Flights, enabling travellers to search for eco-certified hotels and we’ll shortly be adding eco-routes to Maps, showing you the most fuel-efficient routes.”

Google said its data also showed that families as a whole were trying to do more for the environment, with “what is sustainability for kids?” named as one of the top trending questions within the climate topic on Google Search.

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