Googling a Better & More Sustainable World
I have seen business and economic statistics used in meaningful, senseless, suggestive, misleading and just plain silly ways.
Not sure where the stats in this blog fit in. They are the result of a tangent I went on during some research on agglomeration economies yesterday where I was trying to see if there was a budding Silicon Valley for Sustainability (say a Sustainability Valley or Sustainability Street or something like that).
Rarely do I get led astray on the internet but for fun last Sunday I started Google searching a few sustainability terms to see which were the most popular results-wise.
My first big result was for Climate Change: almost a billion results. Not bad! Then I thought lets benchmark these results by Googlgooglnumbersing the exact opposite of climate change? So I typed “Oil is Good” and presto 1.4 billion results, wow that was sad. But then Solar Energy got 277M so I felt a bit heartened. Electric cars at 232M were ahead of SUVs and Hummers by a fair margin but their continued popularity in the face of looming ecological disaster is still alarming.
Turning to social and economic issues, I found quite happily social change (which admittedly is a broad and not always socially progressive category) to have 2.4B results with Helping Someone Out not far behind at 1.9 billion. Nice!
Not surprisingly, making money came out ahead of social concern by long shot at 3.2B (for comparative purposes: making easy money 1.3 B, making money illegally 39M and making money unethically 2.8 million respectively).
Sustainability did not fare as well the money side of life. Best I could get on things sustainable was Sustainable Business at 252M, with Sustainable Corporate Strategy at 105M (business strategy was 714M), and Sustainable Brands at 27M.
Several not-so-sustainable symbolic themes and/or banal topics depressingly outpaced sustainable terms: e.g., latest fashions 1.8B, Fox News 1.02B, How to Tie a Tie 418M. Even more depressingly “How to Kill” got 1.6B results.
Sad but True
These numbers made my Sunday afternoon a little heavy to say the least that is until my wife and business partner (and MIT Sloan Fellow Business School Graduate I might add) recognized a neat pattern.
She said “Look at the results, it tells you if you focus your message on people in the USA and China, on social change, and on helping people out while increasing their income will net you lots of sustainability interest!”
Now I am not sure that this is true or how one might accomplish this, but it did lighten my spirits and made me think there was hope after all for all the work we do to make the world a better, more sustainable place!