Remember global warming? Then there was climate change. Then climate weirding. And now it’s “climate emergency”. Why, it’s even the OED’s “Word of the year”. Without being a word. And if it doesn’t work we can shriek even louder.
OK, so people are saying “climate emergency” a lot. ABC reports that “Oxford said its selected words or phrases ‘reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year,’ and this year, heightened awareness of climate science and its implications have generated tremendous debate. By September 2019, the phrase was 100 times as common as it had been the previous year, according to a language data analysis.” But as Lincoln said, if you call a cow’s tail a leg it still only has four legs.
As for the push to get even more rhetorically frantic, one PR guru suggests terms from “Climate collapse” or “Climate chaos” to “Global meltdown” “Global melting” or even “Scorched Earth”.
The problem is that people can still look out the window and, just as “global warming” became a hard sell because winter kept coming, they will see that the globe has not melted, the earth is not scorched and you’re yelling.
BTW according to ABC, “Previous Words of the Year include "toxic," "youthquake," "post-truth," and "vape," and in 2015, "Face with Tears of Joy" emoji.” Which range from the ephemeral to the never-were. So How about Face With Expression of Disgusted Disbelief emoji? It’s trending where we live.
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