tech2 News StaffNov 25, 2019 12:47:00 IST
Oxford Dictionary has declared ‘climate emergency’ as the word of the year for 2019 because it believes that the word ‘reflects the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year’.
According to the dictionary, climate emergency is defined as ‘a situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it.’ It was selected from a list of 10 words which included, climate action, climate crisis, climate denial, eco-anxiety, ecocide, extinction, flight shame, global heating, net-zero and plant-based.
In 2018, the word 'emergency' was usually written after other words like health, hospital and family. However, over the course of this year, the word climate emergency came out from sudden obscurity into the spotlight. It has gone on to become the most “prominent – and prominently debated – terms of 2019.” By September 2019, it was 100 times more common than it had been the last year.
Awareness about climate change and related emergency was felt all throughout the year. There have been multiple movements and protests about the inaction of governments with regard to climate change, globally. The protests were led predominantly by 16- year old climate activist Greta Thunberg and other children who have been walking out of their schools to take part in global strikes on Fridays which are popularly known as Fridays For Future strikes.
That's not all. A group of 16 climate activists, ages 8 to 17 even filed a lawsuit against five countries as they have not kept to their obligations to tackle climate change and have failed to solve the crisis which they believe constitutes the violation of children’s rights.
The 2015 Paris Agreement was signed by 196 states plus the European Union and will be reviewed at the COP25 that will be held in Madrid, Spain. Many countries, from the United Kingdom and Scotland to Canada and New Zealand, have also declared a climate emergency.
According to the press release by Oxford dictionary, the word received a further impetus when The Guardian, in May, said that they will use the term climate emergency instead of climate change to indicate the severity of the situation. This move also encouraged other newspapers to make the shift. The editor in chief Katharine Viner said, "We want to ensure that we are being scientifically precise, while also communicating clearly with readers on this very important issue. The phrase “climate change”, for example, sounds rather passive and gentle when what scientists are talking about is a catastrophe for humanity.’
Previous choices for the word of the year included “toxic” in 2018 and “youthquake” in 2017.
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