An ultimate question that always arises: Are we truly of the same awareness of the environment threats? Scientists respond!
Actually, the global failure to save biodiversity and to resist to global warming does not really come from a lack of scientific understanding of natural causes, but rather it derives from a lack of spread and effective societal support and action.
Societal awareness and values partly determine the level of support and effectiveness of conservation initiatives, as the societies tend to protect only what they recognize as important.
For ecologists, the emerging field of conservation culturomics provides unprecedented opportunities for science and scientists to understand societal attention and tendency related to conservation concern.
To better understand the conservation culturomics, it is a way to analyze cultural dynamics associated with conservation, and comprises diverse sources and approaches, including WebPage retrieval analysis (Internet salience), assessment of web search activity, page views of digital archives such as Wikipedia, contents of social networks and online news, and images and videos posted online.
A number of studies have recently focused on this field and provided valuable insights regarding public recognition of the actual threats, and major attention gaps and biases. However, there have been no significant results so far to assess societal attention toward extinction threats related to biodiversity, to specific species and species groups.
In a study from Natural review, Ivan Jarić and his group have explored how much attention, in France, Germany and the United Kingdom, is directed at climate change and biological invasions in relation to different species groups, reptile, birds and mammal species. They focused on climate change and biological invasions as two key processes that affect biological diversity and are often interrelated and act synergistically.
Their results reported that climate change had a significantly higher relative Internet salience than biological invasions among studied countries and species groups.
Furthermore, both threats were better represented among species present in Germany, France, and United Kingdom than among those outside of each of the countries, and they were also more represented among species from Europe than among those distributed outside of Europe. Climate change had also a significantly higher prominence than biological invasions within amphibians, birds and mammals.
According to the study, humans have moved species across the world for hundreds of years, but the sharp changes in global climate in response to human activity have only been occurring over the past few decades.
Also, one of the reasons for a higher visibility of climate change is that it is experienced directly by the public, with easily perceived global effects and economic damages, while biological invasions and most of the other threats are perceived unfortunately as more local, context-dependent and indirect impacts.