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Education and inspiration for a more sustainable world

Here are YouTube's sustainability efforts in the lead up to COP26.

YouTube has always been a place where people come to learn, connect, and create. Over the last few years, we’ve seen an increasing number of people and creators turning to YouTube to convene and converse about climate science and sustainable living. We are proud to be a place where millions of people can learn and find inspiration about how to support a more sustainable world.

From exploring how to reduce individual waste, grow our own food, or even go thrifting, people all over the world are turning to YouTube to educate themselves about making more thoughtful decisions and adopting a sustainable lifestyle. For example, global views on videos about upcycling grew over 50% in 2020, while views of videos related to permaculture or zero waste were viewed over 50 million times in France alone.

Communities are coming together on YouTube to share knowledge covering a wide range of topics related to sustainability. Educators from all over the world help us to understand the science behind climate change, while farmers give us a detailed look into how farms work and where our food comes from. In fact, videos from FarmTubers had 3 billion views globally in 2020.

We’re also seeing how creators around the world are collaborating to make a difference on climate change. In Europe, creators are bringing together experts, celebrities, and policy-makers for YouTopia, a series of multi-day charity livestreams where creators live together and share their stories about sustainability from bubble domes across the continent. This year’s edition in Germany had 1 million viewers and raised more than $200,000 USD in donations. Starting November 4th, YouTopia will take place for the first time in France.

Experts from authoritative voices like UN Climate, UNICEF, World Wildlife Fund, and European Climate Foundation among others are also playing an important role in informing viewers about climate science and inspiring action on the platform. YouTube is working closely with the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) organizers, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the UK government, to ensure the activities at COP are available on YouTube. As COP26 kicks off in Glasgow, creators Jack Harries, Sejal Kumar, Brave Wilderness, Physics Girl, Alicia Joe, and Biologia Total will be onsite, helping to make this year’s climate conference accessible to everyone. These creators will participate in interviews, panels, and screenings, and engage their audiences to take action on the climate crisis. You can also follow along through the official COP26 livestream on YouTube.

Powerful storytelling to drive change

As a content platform, we believe we can contribute and drive change by doing what we know best: partnering with creators, organizations, and media companies to use the power of storytelling to continue to educate users on the sustainability challenges the world faces and inspire climate action.

That is why we’ve invested significantly in the development of new, original programming to drive awareness, conversation, and action around climate change and sustainable living. In the lead up to COP26, we’re rolling out several new YouTube Originals projects to educate, entertain, and inspire everyone to create a more sustainable planet.

Here are the shows that will be available for free, for everyone:

  • Dear Earth, a special event that inspires viewers to join the sustainability movement. Featuring an opening address from Kermit the Frog, keynote addresses from leaders like President Barack Obama, a keynote address and performance by KPOP supergroup BLACKPINK, and dramatic feats by pro cyclist Danny MacAskill and skier JT Holmes that bring to life the realities of climate change, as well as creators like Dream, ZHC, and Odd1sOut sharing practical ways to get involved and make a difference, and much more. Climate Change affects us all... even SpongeBob SquarePants who also joins "Dear Earth" to give a special performance.

  • Shut It Off ASAP takes AsapSCIENCE creators Mitchell Moffitt and Gregory Brown to a remote farm where they try their hand at turning off access to basic needs like food, power, and water to find sustainable alternatives. FarmTubers, First Nations guides, and experts will join them to help execute a vision of living completely off the grid and deliver takeaways that can be replicated back at home.

  • Seat at the Table follows Jack Harries throughout a 100-day trip across the UK to uncover the often overlooked voices of young people whose lives are being most affected by the climate crisis. The series also features appearances from key voices on the subject, including Sir David Attenborough, Jane Goodall, and Simon Amstell, alongside YouTube creators Jamal Edwards and Rachel Ama. Jack will present the film to world leaders at COP26 in Glasgow.

  • Brave Mission: Rewild the Planet is an edge-of-your seat global expedition led by Mark Vins of Brave Wilderness, featuring hands-on experiences with the planet’s most breathtaking endangered species and the local guardians who sacrifice everything in the battle to save them and the ecosystems they call home.

  • SiGNALS is the abridged story of our relationship with plastic—from the origins and lifecycle of a plastic bottle to the myths of recycling. It is a live-action and animation mashup, told through a series of chapters produced by artists and activists from around the world.

  • YouTube Originals Presents: TED Countdown is a free, empowering, global event laying out a credible and realistic pathway to a net-zero future. Join us on TED’s YouTube channel at 12pm ET on October 30 for TED Talks, music, short films, and animation focused on climate solutions and justice.

We take our responsibility for the planet seriously

Solving the challenge of climate misinformation is a shared responsibility that requires a “whole of society” approach, and there is more we still need to do.

At YouTube, we invest significantly to raise up authoritative information, amplify educational and scientific voices on our platform —like the ones from TED, Global Citizen, and several global NGOs, creators and educators— and reduce borderline content to prevent the spread of climate misinformation.

We are proud to be a place where millions of people can learn and be inspired about how to support a more sustainable world.”

We also recently announced a new ads and monetization policy that reduces incentives for climate change denial that apply to all Google ads, publisher content, and YouTube creators who monetize via our YouTube Partner Program. This is the first such commitment from an advertising platform, and we hope others will follow our lead.

In addition to the content on our platform, we are also committed to managing our own carbon footprint as a company. Google was the first major company to become carbon neutral in 2007 and for over a decade we have procured renewable energy or offset the emissions associated with our data centers that deliver billions of hours of YouTube videos.

We are proud to be a place where millions of people can learn and be inspired about how to support a more sustainable world. And we’ll continue to use the power of storytelling to help educate and inspire our 2 billion users to make environmentally friendly choices in their daily lives, in line with Google’s sustainability pledge.