As yet another climate distaster comes to an end, it might be time we all become a little more climate aware – or maybe even climate radicals – since a climate deal is still far away.

It is incredible what the neologism factory has come up with over the last years in the field of climate. We are very used by now to the terms of climate change and climate talks, but climate fascism and climate war still sound new in our ears. Nevertheless, it is quite probable that these terms will stick around since we are not getting closer to a solution to the climate problem. Let us have a look at the new and climate notions:

From climate change – a term which is preferred by the political right, whereas the political left talks more about global warming –  we have moved to climate chaos. Since Copenhagen, we also know the climate pirates, which by the way are not the same as climate heroes or climate champions (what Avaaz was hoping European countries and Australia would be in Durban).

Greenpeace recently wrote about climate courage which is obviously a political behaviour which South African children are wishing for: “The ‘grown ups’ in these negotatiations are responsible for delivering a safe, sustainable, and more equitable world. Instead, they are engaing in playground tactics to save face, rather than saving the climate.”

Given the location of this years climate debate, the notion of climate apartheid seems not so far off. It describes how climate change is not treating all people equally on this planet, and therefore neither our politicians, who don’t take the necessary means to stop it. Think Progress quotes Mercia Andrews, the director of the South African Trust for Community Outreach and Education: “We have a responsibility, we have to begin to mobilize and we have the power. We have shaken this country before, we brought down apartheid, now is another turn. This is a bigger struggle, a more important struggle and this is a struggle that we must unite around. We must say, ‘No, to climate apartheid, no.’ ”

I’m sure the people who speak up against climate apartheid would also possibly use the term climate justice. It “is a vision to dissolve and alleviate the unequal burdens created by climate change. As a form of environmental justice, climate justice is the fair treatment of all people and freedom from discrimination with the creation of policies and projects that address climate change and the systems that create climate change and perpetuate discrimination.” If you are interested in the concept have also a look at climate debt.

We also have climate fraud – which is linked to carbon colonialism – and describes how the proposed solutions like cap and trade are not really solutions at all. The earlier mentioned climate fascism goes into a similar direction, by the way. Even climate thieves exist already.

It is definitely not a coincidence that all these words come to being – words which mainly have a negative, power-related connotation – and some of which take us back to the darkest area of human history. Climate history and history of human kind has reached another middle age, as it seems.


3 thoughts on “Neologisms

  1. Excellent post. People have had many reasons for abusing and taking advantage of one another, which means our efforts to address these reasons are ongoing. Assault, battery, racism, bullying, and other crimes continue even as our awareness of them grows.

    Unfortunately, making such things illegal has not prevented them from happening. It simply means they are done out of the public eye. The motivation continues to exist even when something is made illegal.

    Our efforts to ensure that Earth’s environment remains suitable for human life face a similar battle. People have had many reasons for abusing and taking advantage of the Earth, and these problems continue even as our awareness of them grows.

    Unfortunately, international conferences that attempt to make such things illegal will not prevent them from happening. It simply means they will be done out of the public eye. The motivation to pollute and abuse the environment will continue to exist even if such acts are made illegal.

    The motivation in this case is wealth. In a highly competitive world there are no easy ways to remove this motivation. It could be changed though if we redefined wealth. Rather than define progress in measurable terms of monetary accumulation, we could define wealth in measurable terms of health and happiness. In such terms our GDPs might be rather poor right now, but after a few years of chasing targets related to health and happiness (rather than corporate profits) our newly defined GDP would likely rise significantly. As healthier and happier people though we might not be competitively driven to measure something such as a GDP at all.

    • Yes!! Very true. That is probably why I like the idea of us being in a middle age right now, where (whilst we believe we have all that progress) human kind is actually not taking any leap forward, contrarily. Eventually the new age will come and I’m positive that happiness and balance will win over GDP and growth.

  2. Pingback: What do You Want from Rio? | Kosmos 9

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