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Word of the Year – 2019

The word is out!

As it does every year, Oxford Dictionaries has chosen climate emergency as its word, or rather expression, for 2019.

The definition of climate emergency is ‘a situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it.’

In its reasoning for the choice, Oxford Dictionaries provided information that shows the rapid increase of the usage of the term in discussions on climate change. It states that the specific term “climate emergency” has increased 10,796% over 2018.

Source: Oxford Dictionaries, 2019.

The report by Oxford Dictionaries also states how The Guardian has made a conscious decision to prefer terms such as ‘climate emergency, crisis, or breakdown’ instead of ‘climate change’, as climate change has a more passive and gentle interpretation.

Other words that made the shortlist for word of the year are also related to climate. Such as ‘climate action’, defined as ‘actions taken by an individual, organization, or government  to reduce or counteract the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse  gases, in order to limit the effect of global warming on the earth’s climate’; ‘climate crisis’, defined as ‘a situation  characterized by the threat of highly dangerous, irreversible changes to the  global climate’; and ‘climate denial’, which is defined as ‘the rejection of the proposition that climate change caused by human activity is occurring or that it constitutes a significant threat to human welfare and civilization’

With activists such as Greta Thunberg and Jane Fonda bringing more visibility to the issue and great environmental disasters making us rethink our relationship with nature, it is clear how discussions on climate are affecting language. New words such as ‘eco-anxiety’ and ‘ecocide’ are created to more specifically define issues that were not as strongly debated in previous years.

Consumers are demanding action from companies and choosing more sustainable companies; it is fashionable to be ‘green’. But being green should not be just about being trendy, it is the responsibility of all human beings as part of a larger community.

Aliança Traduções is consciously striving to reduce our own carbon footprint. In the last few years, we have changed hardcopies for digital copies whenever possible. And we avoid single-use plastic in our daily life by providing cutlery, glasses and coffee cups for the use of employees and clients in our kitchen.

If everyone does their share, we can reduce and revert the damage to our planet.

Source: https://languages.oup.com/word-of-the-year/2019/

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