As formerly green forests turn into charred remains and glaciers melt away to reveal bare mountainsides, the effects of climate change on the landscape are hard to miss. But there are less obvious results, too, as our conversations adapt to a rapidly changing climate, ushering in new words.
In a special update this month, the Oxford English Dictionary reviewed the scope of this “rapidly changing area of vocabulary” encompassing words and phrases like eco-anxiety, net-zero, and climate strikes. The dictionary’s editors updated old entries and added new ones ahead of the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland next week, where world leaders will meet to hash out their climate pledges. Among the new entrants: global heating, food insecurity, and climate crisis.
The update reflects the urgency and the often complicated emotions that people feel when confronted by rising seas, worsening floods, and hotter temperatures. The editors picked eco-anxiety — “apprehension about current and future harm to the environment” — to make its dictionary debut, a signal of climate change’s psychological toll. According to Google Trends, search interest for climate anxiety has g... Read more