As Earth Day approaches, Google has released data that sheds light on the sustainability-related trends in Kenya. The data reveals a growing interest among Kenyans in environmental issues, as they actively search for information and knowledge about the urgent concerns facing our planet.
Kenyans are displaying a strong curiosity to comprehend environmental terminologies and concepts, such as global warming and climate change. In simple terms, global warming refers to the gradual rise in Earth’s temperature resulting from human activities, while climate change encompasses the broader effects of global warming, including alterations in weather patterns and more frequent extreme weather events. Both of these issues have profound repercussions on the environment, economy, and society worldwide.
In Kenya, some of the most frequently asked questions on Google include:
- What is global warming?
- What is climate change?
- What causes global warming?
- What is the Paris Agreement?
- What is Kenya doing about climate change?
Google’s data further illuminates the most popular trending topics in Kenya, underscoring the increasing interest in these areas. Of note, there has been a notable surge in searches related to soil contamination, which holds particular relevance for Kenya’s crucial agricultural sector. Additionally, Kenyans are actively seeking information on environmental, social, and corporate governance, indicating a growing shift towards responsible business practices in the country.
Drought remains a pressing concern, as evidenced by the devastating 2022 drought in Kenya, which was the worst in 40 years according to the International Red Cross. The drought affected over 23 million people, or about 40% of the population, causing widespread food insecurity, livestock deaths, and displacement. This catastrophe serves as a stark reminder of the impact climate change can have on Kenya and the urgency to take action. The top trending topics are:
- Soil contamination
- Environmental, social, and corporate governance
- Climate change
- Electric vehicle
- Solar lamp
- Climate variability and change
- Air pollution
The most searched topics showcase a range of environmental subjects that Kenyans are eager to explore:
- Climate change
- Solar power
- Solar energy
- Dairy farming
- Electric vehicle
Google is also supporting efforts to address environmental challenges in Africa. AirQo, an initiative of Makerere University in Kampala, received a $1.3M AI Impact Challenge grant in 2019 to pioneer an innovative approach to low-cost air quality monitoring. The second grant to Makerere has enabled AirQo to scale to six new African cities including Nairobi, Lagos, Accra, Cape Coast, Kigali, Addis Ababa, and Dar es Salaam.
These collaborative efforts highlight the potential of technology to address pressing global issues and empower communities. Agnes Gathaiya, Country Director, emphasised the importance of individual and collective action: “Climate change is one of humanity’s most urgent challenges, and Earth Month is an opportunity for all of us to consider how we can make a difference. By providing accessible information on environmental topics, we hope to empower Kenyans to take action for a more sustainable future. It’s not just about what Google does; it’s about how we can all work together to protect our planet.”
The data highlights Kenya’s growing awareness and commitment to sustainability and environmental protection. As the country faces unique challenges in combating climate change, such as droughts and soil contamination, the increased attention to these issues is a testament to the growing public engagement on Earth Day and beyond.