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How TikTok Could Help To Save The Planet

by Holly Kay | 17.03.2021

Climate-related content is taking TikTok by storm 

When you think of TikTok, you might think of skateboarders drinking Ocean Spray, a twerking dog, or a cat singing 50 Cent Candy Shop. Whilst it’s true that TikTok is light-hearted, fun, and top banter, there are also much more serious conversations happening. Climate change and environmental awareness are some of the issues taking the platform by storm (pun intended).

#ForClimate has resulted in 533 million views 

Climate change is a rapidly growing topic of conversation amongst TikTok audiences, who are using the platform to try and change the world. The hashtag #ForClimate has received over 533 million views. Climate activists using #GlobalWarning received more than 24 million views and #ClimateChange has received over 602 million views. Is it any wonder climate-related issues are gaining this level of engagement? Not really. Generation Z is the leading age demographic using the platform, with 36% of users aged between 13-17. Research by Deloitte found that environmental concern comes above health care, unemployment, and personal safety for Generation Z. However, they also found that 49% of Gen Z feel we’ve reached a point of no return and it’s too late to save the planet.

Can TikTok inspire hope that it isn’t too late to change the climate crisis? 

Absolutely. Accounts like eco_tok are made up of over 20 different contributors, all of who use the platform to educate and raise awareness of environmental issues. Eco Tok shares new technologies that could reduce eco-fatalities. Captions include text like “positive news for eagles and wind energy.” Their videos are uplifting and inspire hope while also communicating the realities of climate change.

Is the climate conversation always positive on TikTok? 

The answer is no. It’s hard to communicate a crisis with positivity, but scientists warn of the negative impact doom scrolling can have.

Creators and scientists have noted that a significant number of climate conversations on TikTok are negative. Creator and climate activist Louis Levanti said he feels distressed when reading the comments on his videos. Discussions and commentary are often limited to “doom and gloom.” Cameron Brick, a professor of social psychology at the University of Amsterdam, says this commentary is dangerous as audiences begin to lose hope and become disengaged, which can lead to fatalism and inaction.

Now is the time to change the narrative around environmental issues and inspire hope 

There is a huge opportunity for brands, NGOs and creators to drive content trends that inspire people to hope. There is a need to educate and communicate the realities of the climate crisis but there is also a need to create content that tells people it is not too late. Now is the time, as we build back from an unprecedented health crisis.

The TikTok Opportunity

Is there a more creative social media platform out there? No. The features, filters, technology, community, and virality of TikTok make the platform unique. Additionally, 88% of TikTok users have posted a video on the platform, making engagement unrivaled. There is a huge opportunity to drive content trends and challenges which focus on what we can do to help our planet.

TikTok also provides an opportunity to reach a wider audience. The TikTok algorithm serves content based on video views and interests, not only the people you follow. This differs from platforms like Facebook and Instagram, which serve you content from the people directly in your community.

If we can reach a wider audience, set challenges and communicate the message that there is still time to take climate action, then we can drive meaningful engagement. It’s not too late.