Biodiversity concerns high among Aussies

Liv Casben
(Australian Associated Press)


A new report has found Australia is leading a global trend showing hundreds of millions of people are concerned by biodiversity loss.

The study by The Economist Intelligence Unit is called “An Eco-wakening: Measuring global awareness, engagement and action for nature”.

Commissioned by the World Wide Fund for Nature, part of the research analysed news articles and social media trends from 2016 to 2020.

The report found Australia exceeds global averages on many key findings relating to public concern for nature.

In Australia, stories on biodiversity and nature increased by 407 per cent, from 37,562 articles in 2016 to 190,558 articles in 2020.

While globally, there was also a big jump with the number of online news articles on the same topics growing by 19 per cent in the same period.

Since 2016, nature-loss and biodiversity conversations have grown globally, with a 65 per cent increase in twitter mentions.

The report found in Australia, the popularity of Google searches related to sustainability and biodiversity in the shopping category surged by 165 per cent.

WWF said the research shows people all over the world are increasingly aware of the planetary crisis.

The research found Australia sits alongside the UK, the US, Germany and Canada in driving this trend, which is forcing corporations to respond, particularly in the cosmetics, pharmaceutical, fashion and food sectors.

The report listed three possible barriers for nature still being under threat – existing laws and regulations, cost implications and a lack of awareness.

WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman said extreme events have likely influenced the explosion in news stories and tweets about nature-loss in Australia, and the substantial jump in sustainability shopping.

“Given the unprecedented bushfire crisis, it’s understandable these categories were through the roof in Australia compared to global average increases,” Mr O’Gorman said.

“This surge of interest has been driven by so many conservation groups working to raise awareness of nature-loss and the plight of Australia’s wildlife after the fires.”

The report found the number of people signing online petitions to protect the environment is also on the rise.

Since 2016, more than 159 million signatures for biodiversity-related campaigns have been collected globally.

The report cited an Australian Conservation Foundation petition which gained almost half a million signatures from people calling for stronger national environmental laws in Australia.

The report comes ahead of International Day for Biodiversity on the 22nd of May, which the UN hopes will increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues


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