Dear Umbra,

I am having a problem with the word anti-environmentalists. It seems to me to make these people out to be the good guys for opposing environmentalists. Don’t we need a term that better describes people who trash the environment for profit? Say, enviro-rapist? Maybe something a little more civil?

Jim
Deerwood, Minn.

Dearest Jim,

Congratulations! Your question has been chosen for the First Annual and Perhaps Only “Cheer Us Up the Weather Is Godawful and We’re at War” Grist Slang Invention Contest.

Fill in the blank.

Put your thinking caps on, readers. Your task is to coin a new phrase (or word), something clever, catchy, and meaningful that will spread like wildfire through the modern lexicon. Said word will describe, with heavily negative connotations, a person who intentionally harms the natural environment. Intentional harm includes willfully passive disregard, active destruction, and shirking of a stewardship responsibility conferred via positions of authority. We want a phrase that covers Dick Cheney, strip mall developers, and General Motors.

Remember, you can make a new word or phrase through hyphenation, word association, by using non-English words, or by cobbling together root words. Examples of modern word invention abound, from hip-hop (mad brick), New Age (journaling), politics (compassionate conservatism), and electronic media (blog).

The entries will be assessed by discerning Grist etymologists and hapless visitors to floor 4B. However, we will not consider inventions that include any of the following words: fascist, rapist, killer, murderer, or Gaia.

Send your idea(s) to askumbra@grist.org with “CUUWIGWW Contest” in the subject line of your email. [Editor's note: This contest is now over. Entries are no longer being accepted.] We will announce the winner on Earth Day, April 22, 2003. Will the winner get a prize? No! What kind of environmental contest passes out consumer goods? (Montrail shoes and hybrid vehicles excepted, of course.) The winner will get the extreme pleasure of hearing his or her word on the lips of strangers and seeing it in major national publications. You’ll be like Sting, that time he was in the hospital and someone walked by singing “Roxanne.” Or maybe you’ll be like the SubPop employee who invented the term grunge to amuse herself at the expense of a New York Times reporter.

Turn off the red light,
Umbra